Ron Harris (detective)

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Sgt. Ron Harris (Ronald Nathan Harris) was a fictional police detective from the television show Barney Miller. He was played by actor Ron Glass.

At the beginning of the series, Harris seemed to enjoy his job as a police officer and life in general. In later years, though, it was clear that Harris, ever more glib and cynical (though also much more dapper), was losing interest in the police force. When the detectives were required to wear uniforms, as was the case once a year, it was revealed that Harris didn't even have his any more and was forced to buy one before the end of business that day.

In addition to his police work, Harris was also a writer, a calling which seemed to occupy much of his time and attention. The ongoing plotline of Harris being an aspiring writer began in the eleventh episode of the first season, "Escape Artist". He eventually published a book called Blood On The Badge, a somewhat lurid account of the experiences of a New York police officer. He was successfully sued, however, by a lawyer, Arnold Ripner, who felt he specifically had been depicted in the work, and in what he believed was a demeaning way. The lawsuit was especially damaging to Harris, as he had long since cultivated an expensive lifestyle, one which included fine clothes, an apartment in Manhattan with hardwood floors,and works of art.

Harris also memorably participated in a NYPD-funded plan to make a pornographic film, designed as a sting operation to ferret out porn distributors. Harris wrote and directed the film (which went tens of thousands of dollars over budget), and even gave himself a brief cameo as "Black Stallion". Ultimately, the film was not used by the NYPD.

After the Blood On The Badge lawsuit fiasco, Harris suffered an extended bout of writers' block which lasted for a few years. However, as the series was winding down, he was able to sell a second (unnamed) book to a publisher for an advance of $10,000.

Harris's relationship with his co-workers changed over time. In later seasons, Harris considered himself to be intellectual and well-read, which made it difficult to constantly be in the company of über-intellectual Det. Arthur Dietrich. Perhaps as a reaction to this, Harris occasionally became more condescending toward his superior, Capt. Barney Miller, though he still discussed his personal problems and, in the final episode, revealed his respect for Barney and the others (impressed by Wojo's own heartfelt speech, he says, "God, he is so much improved.")

In the final episode, when the precinct was disbanded, Harris announced his intention to leave the force and become a full-time writer -- no doubt discouraged by the fact he was being transferred to Flushing Meadows precinct. However, this announcement was made in anger, and it was left unclear as to whether Harris would actually follow through.