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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Barney Miller
The Pilot Episode: 1974
Season One: 1975


SEASON TWO: 1975-76
SEASON FOUR: 1977-78
SEASON FIVE: 1978-79
SEASON SIX: 1979-80

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"Barney Miller" on DVD
1974: The Pilot Episode

Pilot The Life and Times of Barney Miller    First Aired: August 22, 1974
Writers:Danny Arnold, Theodore J. Flicker
Director: Theodore J. Flicker
Guest Stars: Abby Dalton, Anne Wyndham, Val Bisoglio, Henry Beckman

A day in the life of Captain Barney Miller, a compassionate family man and chief detective in a colorful Greenwich Village precinct--where today he comes face-to-face with a gun-wielding junkie.

The series's original filmed pilot, it aired only once--as an unsold pilot on Just for Laughs, an ABC summer anthology series. Abby Dalton is Barney's wife, Liz, the role played by Barbara Barrie when the script was rewritten--and reshot--for Barney Miller's debut five months later.


Year-End Rating: 14.7 (70th place)

The detectives of New York's Twelfth Precinct assemble for their first season under the exhaustive stewardship of executive producer Danny Arnold, who, along with producer Chris Hayward, would write the bulk of the stories during the first two seasons. Lila Garrett serves as executive script consultant during the first year, while associate producer duties are shared by Tim Steele and Mark Goode.

1 Ramon    First Aired: January 23, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Theodore J. Flicker
Director: Bill Davis
Guest Stars: Chu Chu Malave, Michael Moore, Buddy Lester, John Hawker

Barney tries to reason with a frightened young junkie who holds the Twelfth Precinct at bay with a small handgun.

Faced with a wild-eyed gunman, the first thing Barney does is introduce himself! He disarms the scared felon with a simple act of respect--standard procedure at the Twelfth Precinct, where for the next eight seasons, lawbreaker and victim alike would be treated with an empathy rarely seen on TV cop shows.

2 Experience    First Aired: January 30, 1975
Writer: Steve Gordon
Director: Danny Arnold
Guest Stars: Jack DeLeon, Rod Perry, Alex Henteloff, Jane Dulo, Ray Sharkey, Milt Kogan, Noam Pitlik

Fish worries that he's getting too old for his job; a mad bomber leaves a live charge in the squad room; and the detectives arrest a gay shoplifter.

Though Danny Arnold was credited as director of this episode, it was actually the second--and final--episode directed by John Rich. "We collaborated on that episode," explained Arnold. "And John's tough. He knew what he wanted, and I knew what I wanted--but they weren't always the same thing. In the end, John didn't think it represented his work, so he chose not to have his name on it."

Actually the issue of who got final credit for writing and directing various episodes would be a constant source of frustration for the producer. "Those credits were dictated by strict union rules," insists Arnold. "In many, many cases, the writing and directing credits that appear on Barney Miller have nothing to do with authorship or the actual work that was done on the show. They give a false impression that is very unfair to those who actually made substantial contributions to Barney Miller."

The episode marks the first appearance of Alex Henteloff as Arnold Ripner, the disreputable ambulance chaser who would plague the men of the Twelfth for the next eight years; Jack DeLeon plays Marty, the gay thief who would also make his share of return visits. Not so for Rod Perry's Detective Wilson, a black member of the squad who failed to make the precinct's permanent roster.

3 Snow Job    First Aired: February 6, 1975
Writers: Ron Friedman, Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Story: Dick Morgan
Director: Richard Kinon
Guest Stars: Ron Feinberg, Richard Stahl, Ted Noose, Paul Lichtman, Reid Cruickshanks

A department store entrusts their cash payroll to Wojo for safekeeping during a blizzard; and a despondent flasher attempts suicide in the precinct's bathroom.

4 Graft    First Aired: February 13, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Story: Lila Garrett, Sanford Krinski
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Dick O'Neill, Buddy Lester, Derrel Maury

Chano investigates a rash of obscene phone calls; and Inspector Kelly arrives, intent on snooping out corruption in the Twelfth.

The episode contains one of a handful of scenes that took place in Barney's kitchen. Though the show had been designed to place equal emphasis on the policeman's home and work life, it quickly became apparent that the domestic scenes diluted the central focus of the squad room. In the early years, the writers made a few strained attempts to bring Liz down to the precinct. But, as producer Tony Sheehan observed, "There were only so many times we could have Liz drop in to have lunch or bring Barney a flower." With few exceptions, Barney's wife finally evolved into an offscreen presence throughout most of the series.

5 The Courtesans    First Aired: February 20, 1975
Writers: Jerry Davis, Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward, Sybil Adelman
Story: Sanford Krinski, Jerry Davis
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Nancy Dussault, Naomi Stevens, Audrey Christie, Rosana Soto, Shannon Christie, Lavell Roby

Barney's daughter wants to move out on her own; and a call girl rejects Wojo's tender efforts to reform her.

6 Stakeout    First Aired: February 27, 1975
Writer: Danny Arnold
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Lou Jacobi, Ed Barth, Brett Sommers, Vic Tayback, Marjorie Bennett, Florence Stanley, Lucille Meredith, Jo Jo Malone, Peter Carew

Fish, Barney, and Wojo are visited by a parade of curious neighbors when they attempt a stakeout in an abandoned apartment.

Though broadcast as the seventh episode, this script, directed by John Rich, was actually the first regular Barney Miller episode shot.

7 Bureaucrat    First Aired: March 6, 1975
Writers: Richard Baer, Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Director: Bob Finkel
Guest Stars: David Wayne, Elliot Reid, Milt Kogan, Milton Selzer, Claudio Martinez

A drunken bureaucrat finds himself behind bars; Wojo has the local deli closed for minor health-code infractions; and Chano nabs the twelve-year-old burglar who robbed his apartment.

8 Ms. Cop    First Aired: March 13, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Linda Lavin, Howard Platt, Wynn Irwin

The detectives are put off by the determined lady cop who arrives on temporary transfer to the Twelfth; and Chano gets the goods on an obscene caller.

Linda Lavin's Detective Janice Wentworth would be reassigned to the Twelfth for a stay of duty that lasted throughout the show's second year.

9 Vigilante    First Aired: March 20, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Story: Howard Albrecht, Sol Weinstein
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Titos Vandis, Gabe Dell, Marla Gibbs, Lee de Broux, Milt Kogan, Nick Holt

An elderly vigilante defends his neighborhood against muggers; Luger complains that Barney's squad isn't despised enough by the citizenry; and Wojo arrests a transvestite teamster.

James Gregory's gruff but avuncular Inspector Luger was inspired by Danny Arnold's friend Barney Ruditsky, a roaring-twenties racket-buster whose life was immortalized on The Lawless Years, an NBC cop show that ran from 1959 to 1961. Oddly enough, Jim Gregory played Ruditsky in that series as well.

10 The Guest    First Aired: March 27, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward, William Taub
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Herb Edelman, Jack DeLeon, Ed McCready, Milt Kogan

Wojo eats a poisoned sandwich that was intended for their prisoner, a nervous mob accountant; and Chano sets up a narcotics buy--with the detectives' own cash.

11 Escape Artist    First Aired: April 10, 1975
Writers: Howard Leeds, Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Roscoe Lee Browne, Leonard Frey, Danny Dayton, Judson Pratt, Reid Cruickshanks

The Twelfth plays host to a philosophical escape artist; Harris begins work on a police novel; and a crazy inventor attempts to fly.

Harris's literary leanings provide one of the show's most durable storylines--the eventual publication of Blood on the Badge in the sixth year would provide the author with both joy and anguish throughout the show's last three seasons.

12 Hair    First Aired: April 17, 1975
Writers: Ron Pearlman, Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Story: Jerry Ross
Director: Allen Baron
Guest Stars: Michael Lembeck, Henry Beckman, Florence Stanley, Charles Fleischer

A long-haired loner from narcotics is transferred to the Twelfth Precinct; and Bernice is alarmed when Fish spends an afternoon investigating a massage parlor.

13 The Hero    First Aired: May 1, 1975
Writers: Danny Arnold, Chris Hayward
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Todd Bridges, Cal Gibson

Chano is involved in a shoot-out with a pair of armed robbers; and Liz brings in an eight-year-old who tried to rob her with a stick.

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