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Gimme a Break! (1981–1987)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,455 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, ... See full summary »


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1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 12 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
 Nellie Ruth 'Nell' Harper (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
 Samantha 'Sam' Kanisky / ... (119 episodes, 1981-1987)
 Julie Kanisky / ... (114 episodes, 1981-1986)
Kari Michaelsen ...
 Katie Kanisky (111 episodes, 1981-1986)
Dolph Sweet ...
 Chief Carl Kanisky / ... (88 episodes, 1981-1985)
 Grandpa Stanley Kanisky / ... (82 episodes, 1982-1987)
 Joey Donovan (77 episodes, 1983-1987)
 Addy Wilson (68 episodes, 1983-1987)
Howard Morton ...
 Officer Ralph Simpson / ... (49 episodes, 1981-1986)


Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, Katie, Julie, and Samantha, in short, be like a mother to them. Later, Carl's father, Stanley, moves in. Around the same time, Nell takes in young Joey Donovan as her foster son. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

29 October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Allo Nelly Bobo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(137 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Tracey Gold was originally tapped to play Samantha, but at the last moment was replaced by Lara Jill Miller. See more »


The front door of the set has a brass mail slot, but exterior shots are of a door with no slot. See more »


Samantha: What's a cliché?
Nell: [serving breakfast] A black woman serving pancakes to a white kid.
See more »


Referenced in Our Idiot Brother (2011) See more »


Merry Christmas Stranger
Performed by Nell Carter and Telma Hopkins
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User Reviews

Above average sitcom
21 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Very good show that was one of many throughout TV sitcom history that revolved around a housekeeper/butler. Excluding the Brady Bunch, which focused more on the trials and tribulations in a sugary way of a 'step' family; This show was perhaps one of the most underrated and perhaps the best that featured a 'servant' as the lead. Hazel,The Nanny, Mr. Belvedere, Benson,and Family Affair. Nell Carter portraying Nell Harper was awesome. She can do it all sing, dance and act. She was basically the whole show , which dealt with many cast changes, perhaps the most shocking being Chief Carl Kaminskys death- Dolph Sweet. Mr. Kaminsky was a widower with 3 daughters, in the initial seasons and Nell was the surrogate mom/housekeeper. Wonderful show with many risqué , over the top episodes. Future seasons adding 'child' Joey Lawrence,Jonathon Silverman and Telma Hopkins as a fine tandem to Nell, especially proving more so important after Dolph Sweets sudden death with 2 seasons left. Ditzy friend Angie, senile Grandpa and many credible guest stars , including Tom Poston,Helen Hunt, Don Rickles, Rue McClanahan and Danny Glover. Not a brilliant show by any means, but certainly a show that highlights the great talents of Nell Carter, in basically her only venture in TV. Enjoy all of Ms. Carters' talents and cherish them for all time. Unfortunately she passed way too early.

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