I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
1980-81: THE SEVENTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 18.4 (33rd place)
The sixth-season creative team--producers Noam Pitlik and Tony Sheehan
and story editors Frank Dungan and Jeff Stein--reprise their roles in
the seventh year, with an able assist in the script department from
newcomers Jordan Moffett and Nat Mauldin.
The detectives book a man who admits that he killed his barber after
a bad haircut; and a woman decides to cancel the murder contract she
put out on her husband.
The detectives attempt to find the hapless husband before the hit man
does; and Harris makes a pass at the station's new crime photographer.
The Twelfth Precinct's temporary reassignment as a homicide-only squad
created a near-panic among the show's most vocal fans. "Boy, did we
get letters on that," writer Frank Dungan recalls. "People were so scared
it was going to be permanent."
The precinct discovers an impostor in their ranks; and a vagrant claims
he came to town as a delegate to the 1976 Democratic Convention and
The squad's new member insinuates that the detectives are all on the
take; and a refugee from a no-smoking clinic complains that their methods
are hazardous to his health.
Paul Lieber--previously seen as one of the gunmen in "The Architect"
episode--arrives as Dorsey, yet another short-lived addition to the
A woman complains when her apartment building goes nudist; and a confused
vet blames his condition on exposure to the residue of germ warfare
Dorsey plays big brother to a young prostitute; Harris solicits stock
tips from a well-heeled call girl; and Dietrich explores the new celibacy.
Dietrich is plagued by guilt after he's forced to use his gun to stop
a robbery; and a playwright assaults an incompetent actor.
Unlike most TV supercops, the very human detectives of the Twelfth
often came up short in their struggle against the unrelenting stress
of police work. And yet, law enforcement agencies everywhere applauded
the series as the most realistic cop show on television. The New York
Police Department even conferred honorary membership on Barney's squad,
prompting the unintended irony of Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates's
quip, "We view Barney Miller as a comedy, but my colleagues in
New York think of it as a documentary."
Someone in the precinct has been leaking incriminating information
to Internal Affairs; and a burglar celebrates his fiftieth year in crime.
A veteran radio journalist roughs up an insipid TV news anchor; and
Harris scripts a porno-movie spectacular as part of an undercover vice
Harris proudly screens his overbudget hard-core spectacular; a blind
man is mugged; and a overzealous charity collector stages a holdup.
A linguist vandalizes a billboard to protest improper grammar in advertising;
and a psychic foils a purse snatcher--before the crime is committed.
Wojo plunges into the Hudson in pursuit of a looter; and Barney confronts
a deaf woman with an unusual occupation--she's a hooker.
A librarian employs artillery to enforce order in her reading room;
and a Gypsy is arrested for continually harassing the owner of a novelty
In one of the series's most chilling images, the kindly old man who
sells whoopee cushions and dribble glasses is identified as a Nazi war
criminal--even as a set of windup teeth chatter away on the desk. As
always, the bizarre juxtaposition is not without humor--but when Harris
finally reaches down to snap the toy teeth shut, there is no laugh track
to break the eerie pall of silence that blankets the squad room.
On Barney Miller, even canned laughter was used as a creative
element in the producers' palette. The series hadn't been taped before
a live studio audience since the third year, when the show's creators
decided that they could more carefully orchestrate their curious blend
of comedy and drama without the wild card of audience reaction--as this
particular episode certainly bears out.
The owner of a sports store rigs a lethal trap to catch a burglar;
shyster Arnold Ripner sues Harris for libel; and Wojo asks Barney's
daughter for a date.
Barney is charged with contempt of court when he refuses to name an
informant; and a man complains that he was refused service at a restaurant
because he's ugly.
Harris assumes command of the precinct after Barney is jailed for his
An expensive antique doll is kidnapped for ransom; a naive optician
buys a bogus ticket to ride the NASA space shuttle; and Luger puts Barney
in his will.
Sergeant Fish drops in for a visit; Arnold Ripner wins his libel suit
against Harris; and a woman threatens to blow up the precinct with a
A group of Hasidic Jews rally to protest the department's ineffectiveness;
and a pair of urban survivalists are found living in steam tunnels beneath
The detectives are issued bulletproof vests; and Luger collects background
information for the detectives' official obituaries.
An eccentric stages a rainmaking ceremony in Washington Square; and
Wojo, Harris, and Dietrich all eye an opening in the vice squad.
Harris liquidates everything he owns to pay off the $320,000 judgment Arnold Ripner was awarded in his libel suit against the detective.