Continuing in the theme of TV shows, I’m highlighting another classic TV sitcom, “Barney Miller.”
“Barney Miller” was an American sitcom television series set in a New York City Police Department police station on East 6th St in Greenwich Village. Created by Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker, the show focused on the detectives’ interactions with each other and with the suspects and witnesses they detained, processed, and interviewed. The series was broadcast on the ABC Network from January 23, 1975, to May 20, 1982.
Unlike other cop shows of the time, there were no car chases, no dramatic arrests, and no shootouts. Virtually all of the action revolved inside the rundown offices of the 12th Precinct. Each episode usually involving two or three cases in each episode. It took place almost entirely within the confines of the detectives’ squad room and Captain Barney Miller’s adjoining office of New York City’s fictional 12th Precinct. A typical episode featured the detectives of the 12th bringing in several complainants and/or suspects to the squad room. Usually, two or three separate subplots were in a given episode, with different officers dealing with different crimes. Rarely an episode would feature one or more of the detectives outside of the walls of the precinct, either on a stakeout or at their homes.
Hal Linden played the title character, Barney Miller, the only stable person in an police precinct filled with off-the-wall characters. Also in the ensemble cast were Abe Vigoda as the crotchety Sgt. Fish, Max Gail, playing Detective Wohciehowicz, Ron Glass as Detective Harris, Jack Soo as Sgt. Yemana, Steve Landesberg as Sgt. Dietrich, Gregory Sierra as Sgt. “Chano” Amengal, Ron Carey as Officer Carl Levitt, and Barbara Barrie as Barney Miller’s wife, Liz.
I thought the show was a hoot and I rarely missed an episode.The only thing comparable to “Barney Miller” today might be a similar show, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which also starts with a B (coincidence?). It’s an American police procedural created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Like “Barney Miller,” it’s set in the fictional 99th Precinct in Brooklyn, NY. Also like “Barney Miller,” the ensemble sitcom follows a team of quirky detectives.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” premiered on September 17, 2013 and the eighth and final season is set to to run in the 2021–22 television season.
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