Joe Bash

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Joe Bash
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Danny Arnold
Starring Peter Boyle
Andrew Rubin
DeLane Matthews
Michael Cavanaugh
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Tetragram
Original network ABC
Original release March 28 (1986-03-28) –
May 10, 1986 (1986-05-10)

Joe Bash is an American comedy-drama television series that aired on ABC from March 28 to May 10, 1986.[1][2] Starring Peter Boyle as a weary and embittered New York City Police Department beat cop, it was created by veteran TV producer Danny Arnold following his successful New York City police detective sitcom Barney Miller. The production company was Tetagram Ltd., with Arnold and Chris Hayward serving as the show's executive producers. All six episodes were written by the team of Arnold, Hayward and Philip Jayson Lasker, with Arnold directing all but the fifth episode, which was directed by John Florea.


A darkly urban comedy-drama shot without a studio audience or laugh track,[3] the series starred Peter Boyle as the veteran, semi-corrupt cop marking time until retirement, and Andrew Rubin as his naive rookie partner, Officer Willie Smith.[4] Series creator Danny Arnold described the lead character as "a beat patrolman with thirty years on the force. He's become so completely disillusioned and such a terrible cynic that he's written off the world."[5] In recurring roles were DeLane Matthews as streetwalker Lorna, the only person with whom the misanthropic Bash could be even somewhat close;[6] Val Bisoglio as Sgt. Carmine DiSalvo; Michael Cavanaugh as Lt. Pendleton; and Larry Hankin as diner-owner Stu. It was set in the 33rd Precinct in Manhattan,[2] represented via a deliberately theatrical set reminiscent of a stage play.[7]

As Arnold described it, "The show came out to be sort of strange. ... ABC said, 'What kind of show is this? We don't know how to sell it.' ... 'Joe Bash' is not a situation comedy and it's not a drama. It's a behavioral comedy, a comedy whose roots are in drama."[8] He chose the name "Bash" because it "sounded like an aggressive hitter, a victim who is striking back and totally cynical because he's accomplished nothing in his life."[8]


Joe Bash won positive notices from critics. Time placed the series on the magazine's 1986 best-of list, calling it "a moody tragicomedy on loneliness. Peter Boyle was outstanding as a grumpy cop in this undeservedly short-lived series".[9] In an earlier review, the magazine remarked on how the two lead characters would "traverse the desolate city streets and cope with the unglamorous trivia of everyday police life. ... In Boyle's sharp and unsentimental portrayal, crustiness never becomes cute, and there are echoes of authentic urban despair in the patter".[10] The New York Times wrote favorably that, "There is no laugh track to signal the viewer as to whether Joe's misanthropy is really supposed to be funny. Joe Bash moves to its own special beat, apparently bent on demolishing every well-established cliché in sitcom territory".[7] Lee Margulies of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the show is "not entertaining in the usual TV sense, but the intriguing premise and the captivating performance by Boyle nevertheless leave one interested in tuning in again".[11]


# Title Original airdate Guest stars
1"Pilot"March 28, 1986 (1986-03-28)DeLane Matthews, Val Bisoglio, Michael Cavanaugh, Robert Trebor, Hubert B. Kelly, Lisa Dunsheath
2"Feinbaum"April 4, 1986 (1986-04-04)Val Bisoglio, Michael Cavanaugh, Dino Natali (Angelo), Larry Jenkins (Mugger), LaWanda Page, Robert Trebor, Jack Bernardi, Darrow Igus, Vincent Guastaferro, Ruth Jaroslow
3"Cash"April 11, 1986 (1986-04-11)Larry Hankin, Sam Scarber (Sam), Jack Gilford (Feinbaum)
4 (originally shot as Ep. 5)"Janowitz"April 25, 1986 (1986-04-25)DeLane Matthews, Larry Hankin, Pat Corley (Integrity Control officer), Sully Boyar, Sy Kramer
5 (originally shot as Ep. 4)"Joe's First Partner"May 2, 1986 (1986-05-02)Joseph Mascolo (Capt. Charles Taylor), Pierrino Mascarino (Irv), Marilyn Sokol (Betty), Dean Dittman, Tom Rosqui
6"Romance"May 10, 1986 (1986-05-10)DeLane Matthews, Reni Santoni (Carlos), Rosanna DeSoto (as Rosana DeSoto) (Maria)

Other crew[edit]

  • Associate producer: Martin J. Gold
  • Director of photography: Mike Berlin
  • Editor: Paul Bonat
  • Production designer: Ed LaPorta
  • Music: Jack Elliott
  • Lighting director: Mark Palius
  • Casting: Eleanor Ross (Los Angeles), David Tochterman (New York City)
  • Makeup: Holly Bane
  • Wardrobe: Barbara Murphy


  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House. p. 706. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (1997). illustrated, ed. Experimental Television, Test Films, Pilots, and Trial Series, 1925 through 1995. McFarland & Company. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-7864-0178-9.
  3. ^ Weiskind, Ron (March 27, 1986). "Fine Joe Bash deserves a shot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 17.
  4. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1989). Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows. New York: Prentice Hall Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-13-933250-0.
  5. ^ Emmy, Volume 8. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 1986. p. 9.
  6. ^ Lichter, S. Robert; Lichter, Linda S.; Rothman, Stanley (1994). Prime Time: How TV Portrays American Culture. Regency. p. 98.
  7. ^ a b O'Connor, John J. (April 17, 1986). "TV Review; 2 Sitcoms, Mr. Sunshine and Joe Bash, on ABC". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 25, 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  8. ^ a b Rosenberg, Howard (April 25, 1986). "Offbeat Humor Of 'Joe Bash'". Los Angeles Times via Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  9. ^ "Best of '86: Video". Time. January 5, 1987. Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  10. ^ Zoglin, Richard (April 21, 1986). "Video: Lonely Beat Joe Bash". Time. Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  11. ^ Margulies, Lee (March 28, 1986). "TV Reviews : ABC Counters With Bash, Sunshine". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 25, 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.

External links[edit]