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Barney Miller
Season Five: 1978-79


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

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"Barney Miller" on DVD


Year-End Rating: 22.8 (15th place)

Fifth-year producers are Tony Sheehan and Reinhold Weege, who also serve as the season's uncredited story editors. And once again, Danny Arnold is the series's executive producer and uncredited script consultant. Notable additions to the show's small stable of writers include Wally Dalton and Shelley Zellman, and Frank Dungan and Jeff Stein, two prolific teams who make their initial contributions in the fifth year.

81 Kidnapping (one hour)    First Aired: September 14, 1978
Writers: Reinhold Weege, Danny Arnold, Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Fred Sadoff, Beverly Sanders, Todd Susman, Barrie Youngfellow, Ralph Manza, John O'Connell

A department-store magnate is held for ransom by a political extremist; and Wojo arrests a prostitute and her john--an Arkansas traveler.

82 The Search    First Aired: September 21, 1978
Writers: Bob Colleary, Tony Sheehan
Story: Bob Colleary
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jenny O'Hara, Bruce Kirby, Arny Freeman

Television's Mr. Science is in the holding tank; Harris shaves his mustache for mugging detail; and the detectives help a woman find her father after twenty-eight years.

83 Dog Days    First Aired: September 28, 1978
Writer: Reinhold Weege
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Rosalind Cash, Joseph Perry

Wojo is bitten by a possibly rabid German shepherd when he attempts to bust an illegal dogfight ring; and Barney has the blues over his impending separation.

84 The Baby Broker    First Aired: October 5, 1978
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Frederic Cook, Phoebe Dorin, Michael Durrell, Ivor Francis, Martine Getty

A couple tries to prevent a pregnant German girl from leaving the country by claiming that she's carrying their baby.

The intriguing premise of an unscrupulous lawyer's attempts to sell an as-yet-unborn infant to a childless couple--only to have the young mother change her mind--yields an archetypal Barney Miller situation: A question of morality is confused by the poignancy of human desire. And, not surprisingly, the law is a woefully ill-equipped arbiter. The jokes--and as always, there are plenty--each reveal something new about the characters and situation as the story dictates its own tentative, if far from happy, conclusion. The childless couple, now likely to remain that way, find some consolation in the pain they share; the single mother is offered scant encouragement by Dietrich; and, ironically, the lawyer who engineered the whole mess is the only one to walk away scot-free. As in all the series's best scripts, the offbeat subject matter suggests no easy answers--and, refreshingly, the show's creators would never presume to impose any.

85 Accusation    First Aired: October 12, 1978
Writers: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman
Director:Max Gail
Guest Stars: George Murdock, Eugene Elman, Ruth Warshawsky, Michael Tucci, Miriam Byrd Netherly

A lonely woman accuses Dietrich of making indecent advances; and Yemena arrests a rabbi for running a gambling operation in his synagogue.

86 The Prisoner    First Aired: October 19, 1978
Writers: Reinhold Weege, Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jeff Corey, Peggy Pope, Bruce Glover, Henry Jones

A newly released parolee discovers that he was happier behind bars; and the detectives book a burglar's widow when she decides to carry on the family trade.

87 Loan Shark    First Aired: November 2, 1978
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Story: Judith Anne Nielsen, Richard William Beban, Mario Roccuzzo, Bob Colleary
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Boris Aplon, Lewis Charles, Larry B. Scott, Mario Roccuzzo

After twenty years on the force, Yemena unexpectedly rebels; a tattoo artist refuses to remove his handiwork from a timid client; and Harris counsels a savvy teenage loan shark.

88 The Vandal    First Aired: November 9, 1978
Writers: Dennis Koenig, Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jay Gerber, Howard Honig, Christopher Lloyd

A disgruntled TV fan assaults a network programmer in a coffee shop; and Levitt is the detectives' chief suspect when the squad room is vandalized.

The psychopathic vandal is played by Christopher Lloyd, soon to make his debut as Reverend Jim Ignatowski on Taxi.

89 The Harris Incident    First Aired: November 30, 1978
Writers: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman, Reinhold Weege
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Ed Peck, Michael Lombard, Marilyn Chris, Rick Waln

Harris is shot at by a pair of prejudiced patrolmen who assume that he's a felon because of his skin color; and a stockbroker is arrested for panhandling.

90 The Radical    First Aired: December 7, 1978
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Story: Lee H. Grant
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Corey Fischer, Stuart Pankin, Craig Richard Nelson

Inspector Luger locks horns with a radical fugitive from the 1960s underground; and Harris collars a rotund and very defensive burglar.

91 Toys    First Aired: December 14, 1978
Writers: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman, Tony Sheehan
Story: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Zachary Berger, Barbara Barrie, Walter Janowitz, Sidney Lassick

Barney has little cause to be jolly as he faces his first holiday since his separation from Liz with a claustrophobic thief and a pair of feuding toymakers.

The long-running storyline that ended in Barney's trial separation from Liz didn't sit well with a sizable portion of the show's loyal audience, and they made their opinions known. Producer Tony Sheehan recalls, "We got letters telling us, 'Don't do this! They have the best marriage on television.' But the funny thing is, she wasn't even on the show anymore! We came up with the separation storyline to bring Barbara back--because we liked her and loved using her character--but before that, they hadn't seen Liz in years! And still we got all these letters about what a wonderful marriage they had."

92 The Indian    First Aired: January 4, 1979
Writer: Reinhold Weege
Story: Richard William Beban, Judith Anne Nielsen, Reinhold Weege
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Charles White Eagle, Phil Leeds, Richard Stahl, Dino Natali

A foot fetishist steals a woman's shoes right off her feet; and Wojo befriends an aged Indian who wants to be allowed to die quietly in Central Park.

Wojo, easily the most openly compassionate of all the detectives, refuses to abandon the old man at Bellevue. Instead, he returns to the park, where he sits with the Indian in silent vigil, until, at last, the brave dies--as he wished, in peace. When the detective later explains how he defied procedure, Barney can't help but forgive him. Wojo broke the rules but respected a higher order, and, as the Captain realizes, there are some things that just aren't covered in the police manual.

93 Voice Analyzer    First Aired: January 11, 1979
Writers: James Bonnet, Reinhold Weege
Story: James Bonnet
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: George Murdock, Phil Roth, Allan Rich, Barry Pearl

Suspicious Lieutenant Scanlon tries to root out corruption with the aid of a voice-activated lie detector; and a furrier files a fraudulent burglary report.

94 The Spy    First Aired: January 18, 1979
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Philip Sterling, Estelle Omens, Stanley Brock, Flip Reade

A mime is charged with disorderly conduct; and an unemployed--and extremely paranoid--spy holds the squad room hostage.

95 Wojo's Girl (one hour)    First Aired: January 25, 1979
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Danny Arnold
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Darlene Parks, Michael Conrad, Philip Bruns, Lewis Arquette, Peter Hobbs, Doris Roberts

A man threatens to leave his wife to become a soldier of fortune; and Wojo moves in with his new girlfriend, a reformed prostitute.

96 Middle Age    First Aired: February 1, 1979
Writers: Reinhold Weege, Danny Arnold
Story: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Nehemiah Persoff, Richard Libertini, Raleigh Bond, Kres Mersky

Barney worries about his encroaching middle age; a Hassidic diamond trader is robbed; and a decathlon hopeful is arrested for disorderly conduct.

97 The Counterfeiter    First Aired: February 8, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Reinhold Weege
Director: Max Gail
Guest Stars: Jack Riley, J. Pat O'Malley, George Pentecost, Susan Davis

Harris is delighted by the story potential of a colorful old counterfeiter; and a man assaults the plastic surgeon who operated on his wife.

98 Open House    First Aired: February 15, 1979
Writers: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman, Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Allan Miller, Christopher Lloyd, David Fresco, Carmen Filipi

A psychiatrist refuses to divulge the name of a known arsonist in his care; and the Twelfth Precinct holds an open house that attracts only vagrants.

99 Identity    First Aired: March 1, 1979
Writer: Tom Reeder
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jack Somack, Don Calfa, David Clennon, Kip King

The Justice Department requests immunity for a thief who's been given a new identity in a witness-relocation program; and Dietrich saves Harris's life.

Harris, burdened by the enormity of his debt to Dietrich, blows off steam by admonishing a subway crazy with a terse outline of the precinct's minimum requirement for its guests: "I don't care if you're psychotic--just don't whine about it."

100 Computer Crime    First Aired: March 15, 1979
Writer: Calvin Kelly
Story: Calvin Kelly, Dennis Koenig
Director:Max Gail
Guest Stars: Mabel King, Barry Gordon, Rod Colbin, Roger Brown

Dietrich apprehends a white-collar embezzler; and Harris is flabbergasted by a black doctor who claims to be cursed by voodoo.

101 Graveyard Shift    First Aired: May 10, 1979
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Paul Lawrence Smith, Raymond Singer, Lee Kessler

Late-night visitors to the precinct include an irate tourist and an insomniac who's convinced that he'll be possessed by a succubus once he dozes off.

102 Jack Soo, a Retrospective    First Aired: May 17, 1979
Writers: Various
Director:Noam Pitlik

The cast offers an affectionate tribute to the late Jack Soo by reviewing Sergeant Nick Yemena's more memorable moments at the Twelfth Precinct.

Producer Danny Arnold had known Korean-American actor Jack Soo since they'd both performed stand-up on the same Midwestern nightclub circuit in the late forties--before Soo made his Broadway splash in Flower Drum Song in the fifties. The producer's loyalty to the actor was so great that he refused to authorize a new photo to commemorate the show's fifth anniversary once Soo had gone into the hospital. "Nothing goes out without Jack," the producer insisted. "Use the old shots."

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