Naked City (1958–1963)
3 user 1 critic

Barefoot on a Bed of Coals 

A man who failed to qualify for the NYPD takes to impersonating a uniformed patrolman.His motives have to do with wanting to serve the public and also wanting to attract more desirable ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview:
Stanley Walenty
Clara Espuella
Ola Martini
Paul Tamarind (as Mitch Ryan)
John C. Becher ...


A man who failed to qualify for the NYPD takes to impersonating a uniformed patrolman.His motives have to do with wanting to serve the public and also wanting to attract more desirable women. When he becomes involved in stopping a robbery and uses his non-regulation firearm the real NYPD searches him out. Written by dubchi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller




Release Date:

29 May 1963 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last show of the series. See more »


Clara Espuella: You forgot your lunch - the final spoken words of the series, said to a wounded Steven Hill.
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User Reviews

Barefoot In The Dark
17 October 2011 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

As another reviewer has already noted, Barefoot On A Bed Of Coals was a fine farewell episode for the excellent Naked City TV series. and it's the best episode I've seen thus far. The story of a barber who so desperately wanted to become a cop (he failed to make the cut at the police academy) that he decides to dress up as one to do good deeds it has more than most entries in the series an emotional center rather than a purely crime focused one, though crimes certainly play a role in it. Besides, impersonating a police officer is itself a crime, thus barber and do-gooder Stanley Walenty is a criminal even as he sees himself as an upholder of the law.

From his hesitant, halting behavior one senses early on why Stanley wasn't able to become one of New York's Finest. There's something "off" about him. He appears to have some screws loose; not crazy exactly, he comes across a man out of touch with the everyday world. Yet he manages to keep his job as a barber, woos a young woman who believes him to be a cop by doing favors for her, and is attractive and at least outwardly normal seeming enough for a pretty young woman who lives downstairs from him to want him to become her boyfriend. Indeed, she's crazy about the guy, and one can see why: Stanley is a sensitive, good looking, well meaning guy.

As the tale comes to a head we see fantasy (Stanley's) coming to a headlong collision with reality as his predicament becomes desperate. As he'd shot an armed robber who was merely holding a toy pistol after he'd committed a hold-up, the police have put two and two together and are on the lookout for a bogus cop. Stanley finally levels with someone: the woman he's taken with, a sort of wannabe celebrity; and what transpires afterward is extremely painful for him (and excruciating for this viewer), as once more he's doing the right thing the wrong way. He should have saying these things to the woman downstairs who's smitten with him. Shortly thereafter he decides to intervene in a police standoff, determined to show himself the world that he has the Right Stuff.

In his way Stanley does have the Right Stuff, it's just not the stuff of a police officer. He has kindly qualities and wants to be a fine, upstanding citizen; but he also needs help. The final scenes of this highly dramatic, compelling episode were as moving and heartbreaking I've ever seen in a television series. The Beatles once sang "all you need is love", and I've always been skeptical about that. It sounds a little too simple. Yet in the closing moments of Barefoot On A Bed Of Coals my mind began changing, as we see that someone really does love this solitary lost soul being driven away in an ambulance, and that this may be his salvation. Based on those final moments my guess and hope was that Stanley really does have a chance to make it: as a human being.

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