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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Barney Miller
Season Six: 1979-80




THE PILOT EPISODE: 1974
SEASON ONE: 1975

SEASON TWO: 1975-76
SEASON THREE: 1976-77
SEASON FOUR: 1977-78
SEASON FIVE: 1978-79
SEASON SIX: 1979-80
SEASON SEVEN: 1980-81
SEASON EIGHT: 1981-82
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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1979-80: THE SIXTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 20.9 (21st place)

The show moves smoothly into a sixth year, despite major behind-the-scenes upheavals. After suffering a heart attack late in the fifth season, executive producer Danny Arnold would strictly curtail his active involvement for the duration of the sixth and seventh years. Director Noam Pitlik joins Tony Sheehan as producer, and associate producer Gary Shaw takes on the duties of co-producer for the remainder of the series's run. The team of Frank Dungan and Jeff Stein contributes most of the year's scripts--along with Tony Sheehan, when they sign as the new story editors.


103 Inquisition    First Aired: September 13, 1979
Writer: Tony Sheehan
Story: Jim Tisdale, Calvin Kelly
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: George Murdock, Dino Natali, Norman Bartold, Peter Jurasik, David Darlow

An angry citizen takes an ax to a department-store Muzak machine; and Scanlon starts a witch-hunt to root out an anonymous gay officer in the Twelfth Precinct.


104 The Photographer    First Aired: September 20, 1979
Writer: Bob Colleary
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Sal Viscuso, Kenneth Tigar, Phil Leeds, Anita Dangler

A charming mugger poses as a photographer to lure his victims; and a would-be messiah scolds the Eighth Avenue pimps for debasing the harlots.

The detectives calmly accept the arrival of a streetwise Christ with healthy skepticism--though none are prepared to dismiss the possibility that he might actually be what he claims. It's a tacit acknowledgment that not even miracles are outside the realm of possibilities in the Twelfth Precinct.


105 Vacation    First Aired: September 27, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Bruce Kirby, Jack Bernardi, Ben Slack

Nobody's very happy when Barney posts the annual vacation schedule; and two brothers feud when one refuses to donate a kidney to his ailing sibling.


106 The Brother    First Aired: October 4, 1979
Writers: Wally Dalton, Shelley Zellman
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Gary Imhoff, John Christy Ewing, Elise Caitlin

A monk suspects foul play when one of his novitiates vanishes during a weekend in New York; and it's Dietrich's turn to cross-dress for mugging detail.


107 The Slave    First Aired: October 18, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Manu Tupou, Sumant, Peg Shirley, Stanley Kamel

The detectives are shocked to discover that a chauffeur involved in a minor traffic accident is actually a slave indentured to a Burmese diplomat.


108 Strip Joint    First Aired: November 1, 1979
Writers: Jaie Brashar, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Todd Susman, Rosana Soto, Walter Janowitz, Diana Canova, James Cromwell

A man is convinced that he's overdue to explode in spontaneous combustion; and a bookseller complains that a new strip joint is ruining his business.


109 The Bird    First Aired: November 8, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Story: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Richard Beban, Judith Nielsen
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Michael Lombard, Martin Garner, Miriam Byrd Netherly

Harris's publisher insists that he obtain signed releases from the detectives; Wojo's new parrot dies; and a suicide hot-line operator decides to end it all.


110 The Desk    First Aired: November 22, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Don Calfa, Jeff Corey, Alex Henteloff, Fred Sadoff

A partial lobotomy turns a master thief into a mindless zombie; and an Amish man is unable to use the telephone to call for help after he's been mugged.


111 The Judge    First Aired: December 6, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Peggy Pope, Philip Sterling

A judge assaults an attorney with his gavel; and a confused daytime-drama devotee reports dastardly deeds from TV soap operas as if they really happened.


112 The DNA Story    First Aired: December 13, 1979
Writer: Rich Reinhart
Story: Rich Reinhart, Jaie Brasher
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Kay Medford, Jack Kruschen, A. Martinez, Stefan Gierasch, Raymond Singer

A dangerous disease culture is missing from a research lab; and a woman insists that her husband has been replaced by a clone.


113 The Dentist    First Aired: December 27, 1979
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Oliver Clark, Jenny O'Hara, Arthur Malet, Estelle Omens

A dentist is accused of taking advantage of his female patients; and Wojo books a man accused of disturbing the peace by making noises with his hands.


114 People's Court    First Aired: January 3, 1980
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Michael Tucci, Howard Honig, Rod Colbin, Ralph Manza, Helen Verbit, Stanley Brock, Judson Morgan

A census taker breaks into an apartment to count the uncooperative residents; and a burglar is kept locked in a basement cell by a vigilante tenants' group.


115 Vanished (Part 1)    First Aired: January 10, 1980
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Elaine Giftos, John Dullaghan

Harris mysteriously vanishes during his undercover assignment as a vagrant; and a woman seeking a man to father her child considers candidates Dietrich and Wojo.


116 Vanished (Part 2)    First Aired: January 17, 1980
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Leonard Frey, David Fresco, Elaine Giftos, John Dullaghan, Ralph Olivia

Harris uncovers the secret of the shanghaied hobos; and Luger accepts a demotion in order to stay on the force past his official retirement date.


117 The Child Stealers    First Aired: January 24, 1980
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Joanna Miles, Ray Stewart, Jack DeLeon, Dino Natali, Richard Libertini

A divorced father reclaims custody of his son by kidnapping him; and the precinct is visited by a man who claims to be from the twenty-first century.


118 Guns    First Aired: January 31, 1980
Writers: Rich Reinhart, Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jack Dodson, Madison Arnold, Mario Roccuzzo, David Paymer

Luger is despondent with his new assignment in the Twelfth; a man robs a liquor store with a duelist's pistol; and a citizen steals a TV from the police vault.


119 Uniform Day    First Aired: February 7, 1980
Writers: Richard Beban, Judith Nielsen
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Leonard Stone, Michael Alaimo, Stuart Pankin

Natty Sergeant Harris refuses to buckle under to a department edict that requires all detectives to dress in full uniform one day a year.


120 Dietrich's Arrest (Part 1)    First Aired: February 28, 1980
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: George Murdock, Candice Azzara, Peter Hobbs

A lottery winner causes a riot by tossing money from a window; and Dietrich is arrested for participating in an antinuclear protest rally.


121 Dietrich's Arrest (Part 2)    First Aired: March 6, 1980
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: George Murdock, Kay Medford, Allan Miller

Harris books Dietrich for his participation in the illegal protest; and a nuclear engineer is arrested for splashing atomic water on the demonstrators.

"With Dietrich, you're never quite sure just who he is or why he does things," Tony Sheehan told TV Guide. Despite his unflappable wit and carefully guarded irreverence, Dietrich surprised no one when he willingly faced a jail sentence in support of his principles. The writers merely cultivated the enigmatic quality that deadpan Steve Landesberg brought to the role, and as a result, the precinct's resident intellectual remained something of a paradox right to the end of the series. "We kind of like it that way," confessed Sheehan.


122 The Architect    First Aired: March 27, 1980
Writers: Tony Sheehan, Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein
Story: Calvin Kelly, Jim Tisdale
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Paul Lieber, Chu Chu Malave, Norman Bartold, Jesse Aragon, David Clennon

An architect, unhappy with the changes carried out on a building he designed, threatens to bomb the structure.

As the clock ticks away on the time bomb, the squad room is a pressure cooker. And, as the producers had long since discovered, tension in a life-or-death situation creates the perfect climate for black humor. When a pair of hapless gunmen storm into the precinct at the height of the bomb scare, Barney patiently explains that he's busy, and that they'll just have to sit down and wait their turn.


123 The Inventor    First Aired: May 1, 1980
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Tony Sheehan
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Ben Piazza, Arny Freeman, Dan Frazer

Wojo tries to recall the details of a forgotten case while under hypnosis; and an inventor is accused of stealing the plans for his own invention.


124 Fog    First Aired: May 8, 1980
Writers: Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Tony Sheehan
Story: Mark Brull
Director:Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: J.J. Barry, Sidney Lassick, Robert Levine, William Dillard

A street musician assaults a string quartet that tried to move in on his corner; and once again, Barney is turned down for deputy inspector.

A thick fog enshrouds the station for one of the most downbeat episodes of the entire series. His optimism spent after another rejection for the deputy inspector's rank, Barney finally faces the grim futility of his job. "It's getting harder and harder to keep a sense of purpose around here," he grieves. "We bring people in, we ship 'em out. Nothing changes." After the other detectives fail to raise his bitter spirits, it's finally the mournful melody of the street musician's slow blues that draws the detective away from his gloom. As the sublime melancholy of the lonely horn fills the corners of Barney's own private dread, he rises to join his fellow detectives in the squad room. While outside his window, the fog only grows thicker.

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