|Created by||Danny Arnold
Theodore J. Flicker
Barbara Barrie (1975–1976)
Abe Vigoda (1975–1977)
Jack Soo (1975–1979)
Gregory Sierra (1975–1976)
Steve Landesberg (1976–1982)
Ron Carey (1976–1982)
|Theme music composer||Jack Elliott
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||168|
|Executive producer(s)||Danny Arnold
New York City, New York
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||Approx. 25 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original run||January 23, 1975 – May 20, 1982|
Barney Miller is an American situation comedy television series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village. The series originally was broadcast from January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982 on ABC. It was created by Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker. Noam Pitlik directed the majority of the episodes.
The series takes 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, located in Greenwich Village. A typical episode would feature the detectives of the 12th bringing in several complainants and/or suspects to the squadroom. Usually there are two or three separate subplots in a given episode, with different officers dealing with different crimes. About once a year, there would be an episode which featured one or more of the detectives outside of the walls of the 12th Precinct, either on a stakeout or at one of their homes.
Primary characters featured on the series:
- Captain (later Deputy Inspector) Barney Miller (Hal Linden): The sensible captain of the "One-Two" who tries to retain his sanity while dealing with the foibles of his staff and the unending stream of budget problems and paperwork that make up his job. He's also Deputy Inspector Luger's second-in-command.
- Sgt. Philip K. Fish (Abe Vigoda): The senior detective on the 12th Detective Squad. A crotchety, world-weary, and nearing-retirement Jewish-American cop, who always seems to be suffering through some physical ailment, but whose years of experience "on the Job" makes him a very good detective and mentor to other members of his squad. Frequently on the phone dealing with a minor marital crisis with his wife Bernice.
- Det. Stanley Thaddeus "Wojo" Wojciehowicz (Max Gail): Naive, gung-ho but goodhearted Polish-American, who gradually transforms from a macho former Marine into a sensitive character who tries to see things from his decidedly humanitarian point of view while performing his duties as a detective.
- Sgt. Ron Nathan Harris (Ron Glass): Ambitious, intellectual African-American, who lives well beyond his means, and who frequently seems more preoccupied with his attire and his career as a writer than with his police work. In Season 6, following Jack Soo's death, he takes Yemana's place as Barney's second-in-command.
- Sgt. Nick Yemana (Jack Soo); Surreally philosophical, wisecracking Japanese-American detective. Noted for his "off the wall" sense of humor and wry observations about life, as well as for his gambling habits, extraordinarily poor paperwork filing "skills" and for making extremely bad coffee for the other members of the squad.
- Sgt. Miguel "Chano" Amangual (Gregory Sierra): A dauntless, beleaguered Puerto Rican detective, who is very brave and very emotionally attached to his job.
- Det. Arthur Dietrich (Steve Landesberg): An intellectual detective with a calm, unflappable nature and a seemingly endless supply of knowledge on a wide array of subjects.
- Deputy Inspector (later Inspector) Frank Luger (James Gregory): Miller's rambling, out-of-touch and unapologetic old-school superior who frequently drops by the precinct to "chat with" (i.e., prevail upon) Barney.
- Officer (later Sergeant) Carl Levitt (Ron Carey): A diminutive and obsequious (but competent and hard-working) uniformed officer who constantly, passive-aggressively badgers Miller about being promoted to detective. In later episodes, Levitt is often seen in plainclothes working as an "acting detective", but he is still not officially promoted to the position partly due to budget restraints, and partly due to his height.
- Elizabeth Miller (Barbara Barrie): Barney's wife, a dedicated social worker. Intended to be a regular character, and listed in the opening credits during Seasons 1 and 2, Liz was seen fairly infrequently on the show. She was, however, often referred to, and Barney would often be seen (and heard) on the phone with Liz.
The show's focus was split between the detectives' interactions with each other and with the suspects and witnesses they detained, processed, and interviewed. Some typical conflicts and long running plotlines included Miller's frustration with red tape and paperwork, his constant efforts to maintain peace, order, and discipline, and his numerous failed attempts to get a promotion; Harris's preoccupation with outside interests, such as his living arrangements but mainly his novel (Blood On The Badge), and his inability to remain focused on his police work; Fish's age-related health issues, marital problems, and reluctance to retire; Wojciehowicz's impulsive behavior and love life; Luger's nostalgia for the old days with partners Foster, Kleiner and "Brownie" Brown; Levitt's quest to become a detective (which was eventually successful); the rivalry between the precinct's resident intellectuals, Harris and Dietrich and continually — but reliably — bad coffee (usually made by Yemana).
|Hal Linden||Captain Barney Miller||
||Main star and regular character throughout the series' run.|
|Max Gail (second season billed as Maxwell Gail)||Detective Stan "Wojo" Wojciehowicz||
||Regular character throughout the series' run.|
|Ron Glass||Detective Ron Harris||
||Regular character throughout the series' run.|
|James Gregory||Deputy Inspector Franklin D. Luger||
||A regular character throughout the series, usually seen in about a third to a half of any given season's episodes. Gregory was only listed in the opening credits during Season 4; in other seasons, he was listed as a "Special Guest" in the closing credits.|
|Abe Vigoda||Sergeant Philip K. Fish||
||Vigoda was a regular for the first three seasons. Though still in the opening credits, he appeared in only about half of the episodes in the last half of Season 3. (The character was simultaneously seen on the spin-off show Fish at this same time.) Fish "retired" as of Season 4, Episode 2, though he returned for two guest appearances, one later in Season 4 and one in Season 7.|
|Jack Soo||Sergeant Nick Yemana||
||A regular in Seasons 1 to 5, Soo died on January 11, 1979 (midway through Season 5). A special memorial episode was aired, with the actors breaking character and recalling their favorite Yemana scenes. The episode ended with entire cast raising their coffee cups in tribute.|
|Barbara Barrie||Elizabeth "Liz" Miller||
||Though appearing in only a handful of episodes after the pilot, Barrie received billing in the opening credits of every episode in Seasons 1 and 2. Often mentioned, her character returned for a one episode as a guest appearance in Season 4 and a two-part guest appearance in Season 5.|
|Gregory Sierra||Sergeant Chano Amangual||
||Regular character for seasons 1 and 2, then left the show. No explanation is given for his character's absence at the start of season 3.|
|Steve Landesberg||Detective Arthur Dietrich||
||Landesberg was first seen as a one-shot character, a priest (Father Paul), in Season 2 Episode 1 - "Doomsday". Later that year, he appeared in one episode as Dietrich, a transfer from the 33rd when budget cuts closed that precinct. He became a semi-regular in Season 3 and a full-time cast member from Season 4 onwards (essentially replacing the retired Det. Fish)|
|Ron Carey||Officer Carl Levitt||
||Carey first appeared as a perp, Angelo "The Mole" Molinari, in the last episode of Season 2. He began his role as a recurring character, Officer Levitt, in Season 3, becoming a full-time cast member by Season 4 (his character would finally make Detective in the series' final episode).|
Recurring characters 
Other officers and staff 
|Milt Kogan||Officer Kogan||
||Though not seen after Season 2, Kogan (the downstairs desk sergeant) was frequently referred to throughout the series run.|
|Paul Lichtman||Mr. Beckman, the building repairman||
|George Murdock ‡||Lt. Ben Scanlon, Internal Affairs||
||A member of the Internal Affairs Department, the eternally suspicious Scanlon was not attached to the 12th Precinct. His visits from headquarters involved trying to find corruption inside the 12th Precinct.|
|Linda Lavin||Detective Janice Wentworth||
||After a short run as a regular guest on Barney Miller (beginning with Episode 8 of the first season, "Ms. Cop"), Lavin left the series to star in Alice. Wentworth's name can still be seen on the staff duty roster through most of Season 3.|
|June Gable||Detective Maria Battista||
||Short-lived addition to the 12th Precinct's detective room, lasting only 2 episodes|
|Mari Gorman ‡||Officer Roslyn Licori||
||Gorman made a guest appearance (Season 4, Episode 3) as an amateur prostitute housewife, and then, after a three episode run as Licori, in Season 4, she played another recurring role on the show during Season 8, that of Mrs. Binder, wife of frequent precinct visitor Bruno Binder.|
|Dino Natali||Officer Zatelli||
||A gay officer. Particularly loathed by the homophobic Lt. Scanlon, who desperately wants to find a reason to fire him.|
|Paul Lieber ‡||Detective Eric Dorsey||
||Another short-run detective (3 episodes).|
‡ Murdock, Gorman, Dullaghan, and Leiber all made guest appearances in other roles in addition to their regularly recurring series roles.
The series had a stock company of character actors who made frequent appearances in different roles, among them Kay Medford, Bruce Kirby, Kenneth Tigar, Don Calfa, Walter Janowitz, Peggy Pope, Nehemiah Persoff, Rosana Soto (Rosanna DeSoto), Todd Susman, Leonard Stone, Philip Sterling, Sal Viscuso, Rod Colbin, Martin Garner, and Jack Kruschen. Some of these players later appeared as similarly quirky characters in writer-producer Reinhold Weege's situation comedy Night Court.
12th Precinct regulars 
The 12th Precinct had a number of regular complainants, habitués of the holding cell, or other people who often dropped by. Characters seen on three or more episodes included:
|Actor||Character||# of appearances||Seasons||Notes|
|Jack DeLeon||Marty Morrison||
||Marty, a gay man, is arrested for snatching purses in the series' second episode. Later he is occasionally brought in as a suspect, other times as a complainant.|
|Alex Henteloff ‡||Arnold Ripner||
||An ambulance-chasing attorney, Ripner visited the precinct whenever he had a client to defend. (He also sometimes visited just to drum up business amongst those in the holding cell.) Ripner later sued Harris for Harris' depiction of him in his novel Blood On The Badge.|
|Stanley Brock ‡||Bruno Binder||
||A vigilante frequently in trouble for his overzealous ways.|
|Ray Stewart||Darryl Driscoll||
||Marty's somewhat more sensible and grounded lover, who lent Marty moral support during his visits to the precinct.|
|Jack Somack||Mr. Cotterman||
||Owner of the frequently-robbed Cotterman's Liquor Store.|
|John Dullaghan ‡||Ray Brewer||
||A lonely transient, Ray stopped by the precinct during open houses to talk and sample the coffee. Later joined the Salvation Army.|
|J.J. Barry ‡||Arthur Duncan||
||A small-time crook and frequent arrestee.|
|Doris Roberts ‡||Harriet Brauer||
||Along with her husband Phillip, a frequent complainant.|
|Peter Hobbs||Phillip Brauer||
|Ralph Manza ‡||Leon Roth||
||A blind man who was first arrested for shoplifting, returned later as both arrestee and complainant.|
‡ The actor also was cast in at least one other role at some point during the series run.
Fish's family 
Fish's wife Bernice made an appearance from time to time in Seasons 1 to 3. In Seasons 1 and 3 she was played by Florence Stanley (in a total of six appearances); in Bernice's only Season 2 appearance she was portrayed by Doris Belack. In that episode, Fish also had a grown daughter named Beverly played by Emily Levine. Also seen as recurring characters in Season 3 were group home children Jilly (Denise Miller) and Victor (John Cassisi), who would eventually become Fish's foster children. In 1977, the Fishes were spun off into their own show, Fish.
Barney's family 
In addition to Barney's wife Liz, Barney's son David (Michael Tessier) and daughter Rachel (Anne Wyndham) appeared in the pilot. Barney's children were written out of the show after the first episode (though they were still often mentioned), while his wife made appearances through the second season. Wyndham also reprised her role in two later episodes.
The series sprang from an unsold television pilot, The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller, that aired on August 22, 1974 as part of an ABC summer anthology series, Just for Laughs. Linden and Vigoda were cast in their series roles; no other eventual cast members were present. Abby Dalton played Barney Miller's wife, Liz. The pilot script was later largely re-used in the debut episode "Ramon".
Opening theme 
The distinctive opening notes of the bass line of Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson's theme music, performed by studio musician Chuck Berghofer, are played over a shot of the New York skyline as seen from the water of Upper New York Bay — from Season 2 on, with a garbage barge being towed in the foreground of Lower Manhattan — followed by shots of the characters. Several slightly different versions of the theme featuring minor variations in composition and performance were used during different seasons. The closing credits featured a different shot of the skyline (with the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the United Nations Building in the foreground).
As the show progressed, and especially by the final seasons, the program became unusual for its increasing resemblance to a stage play, in that its scenes almost never strayed from the single set of the precinct station's squadroom, with its prominent open-barred holding cell, and Miller's adjoining office. Almost all of the action and dialog took place on this single set. Characters came and went, but they were virtually never shown outside or in other buildings. Moreover, each episode in the later seasons usually took place within the course of a single workday. Thus, Barney Miller tended to obey two of the three classical unities of drama, unity of place and unity of time. The third unity, unity of action, was not followed, since each episode had multiple subplots.
The show became notorious in the industry for its marathon taping sessions. In the beginning, it was taped in front of a studio audience. After the audience left, creator and executive producer Danny Arnold would begin to rewrite and restage scenes, sometimes heavily so; a taping session that began in the afternoon or early evening would then continue on into the early morning hours. Max Gail referred to this in the Jack Soo retrospective episode; he remarked that one of the clips shown was a scene that "we finished around 2:30 in the morning." In a 1977 blooper, a crew member mentions it being 3:15 a.m.
Writer Tom Reeder described working on the show:
Danny Arnold was the creator of the show, and especially in the early years, he was a marvel. When he was "on", he could spin out entire scenes, ad-libbing dialogue — and great jokes — for every character. By the time those scenes got to script form, though, he obsessively rewrote them.
That's true of a lot of showrunners, but Danny couldn't seem to stop himself. Sometime during season 2 (or maybe it was 3) the show was no longer taped in front of an audience, partly because the script was rarely done by show night. When one season began, six pages were in print. Not six scripts — six pages of one script.
This meant that on the day the show was taped, the actors would hang around on the stage, waiting for pages to be sent down. Then — sometimes at 2 a.m. — they would have to learn new scenes. Ron Carey (Officer Levitt) would get his fairly quickly: "Here's your mail, Captain." On the other hand, poor Steve Landesberg (Dietrich) might have to memorize long speeches explaining how nuclear fission works.
In the early years, Danny benefited from the heroic writing efforts of Chris Hayward, who was a veteran writer, and rookies Tony Sheehan and Reinhold Weege who, like me, didn't know any better. They were the Barney Miller writing staff. My agent wisely turned down Danny's annual offers of staff jobs, negotiating freelance assignments (so-called "multiple deals") for me instead. Even so, the pace was frantic — on one assignment I was given 3 hours to write the story outline. On another occasion, a friend came into my office at ABC-Vine Street and said, "Hey, Reeder, want to go get some lunch?" I pointed to the paper in my typewriter and said, "This script is on the stage — thanks anyway."
Marty and Darryl were among the earliest recurring gay characters on American television. Danny Arnold worked closely with the Gay Media Task Force, an activist group that worked on LGBT representation in media, in developing the characters. Initially both characters were presented in a stereotypically effeminate manner but in later appearances Darryl began dressing and speaking in a more mainstream fashion. Officer Zitelli's coming out was the first gay story arc on American television, occurring across the series' sixth and seventh seasons.
Reception by police officers 
Years after Danny Arnold ended production (because he could not see any way to continue without repeating storylines; the show was not cancelled by the network), Barney Miller retains a devoted following among real-life police officers, who appreciate the show's emphasis on dialog and believably quirky characters, and its low-key portrayal of cops going about their jobs. In an 2005 op-ed for the New York Times, real-life New York police detective Lucas Miller wrote:
- Real cops are not usually fans of cop shows. [...] Many police officers maintain that the most realistic police show in the history of television was the sitcom "Barney Miller," [...]
- The action was mostly off screen, the squad room the only set, and the guys were a motley bunch of character actors who were in no danger of being picked for the N.Y.P.D. pin-up calendar. But they worked hard, made jokes, got hurt and answered to their straight-man commander.
- For real detectives, most of the action does happen off screen, and we spend a lot of time back in the squad room writing reports about it. Like Barney Miller's squad, we crack jokes at one another, at the cases that come in, and at the crazy suspect locked in the holding cell six feet from the new guy's desk. Life really is more like "Barney Miller" than "NYPD Blue," but our jokes aren't nearly as funny.
Similarly, during his appearance on Jon Favreau's Independent Film Channel talk show Dinner for Five, Dennis Farina, who worked as a Chicago policeman before turning to acting, called Barney Miller the most realistic cop show ever seen on television.
Hal Linden has told interviewers that he is still occasionally called "Captain" by working police officers.
Awards and honors 
The series won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1982, after it was concluded. It also won Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 1980 and Outstanding Directing in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series in 1979, and was nominated for numerous others.
The show won the Peabody Award in 1979.
DVD releases 
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first 3 seasons of Barney Miller on DVD in Region 1. Season 1 was released on January 20, 2004, to slow sales, and Sony decided not to release any more seasons. However, the decision was later reversed and Season 2 was released in 2008 (four years after the release of Season 1), followed by Season 3 in 2009.
On July 11, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory has acquired the rights to the series and they released a complete series set on October 25, 2011. The 25-disc set features all 168 episodes of the series as well as many bonus features, including the first season of the spin-off, Fish.
Season 1 was released on DVD in Region 4 on December 20, 2006.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The First Season||13||January 20, 2004|
|The Complete Second Season||22||January 22, 2008|
|The Complete Third Season||22||March 17, 2009|
|The Complete Series||168||October 25, 2011|
- Garson, Bob (June 7, 1975). "The Law Takes Time Out to Be Human on ABC's Barney Miller". St. Joseph News-Press. p. S2. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- Template:Jim Hughart
- Barney Miller entry, Old TV Tickets blog
- BARNEY MILLER: An Inside Look, By Ken Levine blog guest entry
- Capsuto, p. 122
- Capsuto, pp. 148—49
- Miller, Lucas (2005). Watching the Detectives 01 March 2005, accessed 31 October 2012
- Capsuto, Steven (2000). Alternate Channels: The Uncensored Story of Gay and Lesbian Images on Radio and Television. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41243-5.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Barney Miller|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Barney Miller|
- Barney Miller at the Internet Movie Database
- The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller at the Internet Movie Database
- TV.com: Barney Miller
- The Barney Miller homepage
- Sitcoms Online: Barney Miller