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Pat Harrington Jr.
Barney Miller is the kind of cop we'd all like to run into. He is always sensible. He maintains order over a squad room of detectives who gamble for a hobby, get hit on by anything in skirts, go to renaissance philosophy conventions for fun, and would really prefer to be writing. Nearly all of the action takes place in the squad room where the citizens and criminals are brought in to complicate the mix. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1979, an episode was done with the actors out of character as a tribute to actor Jack Soo, who played Det. Nick Yemana. Soo had died of cancer of the esophagus in 1979. The episode consisted of unscripted reminiscences of Soo by the cast members, interspersed with clips of him from the show. At the end of this episode, the cast raised their coffee cups as a salute to him, a reference to the running joke throughout the series that Yemana always (but unintentionally) made very foul-tasting coffee for the other members of the squad. See more »
This show was one of the reasons why the ABC would dethrone the CBS, as the number one network in prime time in the latter 1970's.
Barney Miller depicted the day to day workings of a typical New York City detectives unit. Void of overly melodramatic urban drama, and the now all too over played "tough guy" act, Barney Miller was touted as being a fair portrayal of the life of a detective (with much more levity of-course).
Even though it was first and foremost a comedy series, the writers gave us a much needed balance by injecting a bit of drama into the plot and characters themselves. This dramatic element was so well done, that it added to character development, and provided for more laughter. Their witty dialog rarely left the viewer disappointed, or without a laugh, and with entertainment being the key factor of any Television production, the cast of Barney Miller delivered in episode after episode.
However, the show was produced during a time when crime in NY City was being managed with a overly diplomatic approach. An experiment that would prove it self to be disastrous, effectuated lectures by some of the shows characters, demonstrating an endorsement of this new more "liberal" approach to fighting crime.
There is not much out there today that even comes close to what we had in Barney Miller. It seems that todays Television lacks respect for their audience, as cheap sexual gags, and one liners dominate the sitcom landscape, and leave us with vacuous and cloddish jocularity.
Barney Miller will however, be an example of what Television once was. A time when mature, plot driven humor was demanded, and the crude and immature was rejected.
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