I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
1978-79: THE FIFTH SEASON
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.
A department-store magnate is held for ransom by a political extremist;
and Wojo arrests a prostitute and her john--an Arkansas traveler.
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.
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
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.
A lonely woman accuses Dietrich of making indecent advances; and Yemena
arrests a rabbi for running a gambling operation in his synagogue.
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.
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.
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.
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
Inspector Luger locks horns with a radical fugitive from the 1960s
underground; and Harris collars a rotund and very defensive burglar.
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
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."
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
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.
Suspicious Lieutenant Scanlon tries to root out corruption with the
aid of a voice-activated lie detector; and a furrier files a fraudulent
A mime is charged with disorderly conduct; and an unemployed--and extremely
paranoid--spy holds the squad room hostage.
A man threatens to leave his wife to become a soldier of fortune; and
Wojo moves in with his new girlfriend, a reformed prostitute.
Barney worries about his encroaching middle age; a Hassidic diamond
trader is robbed; and a decathlon hopeful is arrested for disorderly
Harris is delighted by the story potential of a colorful old counterfeiter;
and a man assaults the plastic surgeon who operated on his wife.
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
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
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."
Dietrich apprehends a white-collar embezzler; and Harris is flabbergasted
by a black doctor who claims to be cursed by voodoo.
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.
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."