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Barney Miller

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Barney Miller

Category: Sitcom

Stars: Hal Linden, Barbara Barrie, Abe Vigoda (1975-1977), Max Gail, Jack Soo (1975-1978), Gregory Sierra (1975-1976), James Gregory, Steve Landesberg (1976-1982), Ron Carey (1976-1982), Ron Glass

Country of Origin: United States

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 168

Original Channel: ABC

Original Run: January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Season 1 13 January 20, 2004

Season 2 22 January 22, 2008

Barney Miller was an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedy television series set in a New York City police station that ran from January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982 on ABC. It was created by Danny Arnold (who also worked on Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch) and Theodore J. Flicker. The show was frequently directed by Noam Pitlik.


Captain Barney Miller is in charge of a mixed bunch cops.  These cops interesting quirks that if not understood could be scary but as a team they can solve almost any problem.  You want them on your side and not against you.  They care and they get things done.  Philip K. Fish a Jewish-American.  Stanley "Wojo" Wojciehowicz is Polish-American.  Ronald Nathan Harris is African-American.  Nick Yemana is Japanese-American.  By the way Yemana makes bad coffee and he makes it every day.  Carl Levitt is a small officer who wants to be a detective.  Chief Inspector Franklin Luger is the gangs superior.  He almost never stops talking.  Chano Amanguale is Puerto Rican.  He was later replaced by Arthur P. Dietrech from the third season on.  Dietrech is funny with a straight face.  I didn't get to know Amanguale that well.  I'll look him up on Ancestory.com  .   

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 Barney'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 the writing and publication of his novel, and his inability to remain focused on his police work; Fish's incontinence and reluctance to retire; Wojciehowicz's impulsive behavior and love life; Luger's morbid nostalgia for the old days with partners Foster, Kleiner and Brown; Levitt's (eventually successful) quest to be promoted to detective; and the rivalry between the precinct's resident intellectuals, Harris and Dietrich.


Hal Linden as Captain Barney Miller

Abe Vigoda as Detective Phil Fish (1975-1977). Fish's wife Bernice (Florence Stanley) made an appearance from time to time. In 1977, the couple was spun off into their own show, Fish. Max Gail as Detective Stan "Wojo" Wojciehowicz Ron Glass as Detective Ron Harris

Jack Soo as Detective Sergeant Nick Yemana (1975-1978). Soo died in 1979. A special memorial episode was aired, with the actors breaking character and recalling their favorite Yemana scenes.

Gregory Sierra as Detective Sergeant Chano Amenguale (1975-1976) Steve Landesberg as Detective Arthur Dietrich (1976-1982)

Ron Carey as Officer Carl Levitt (1976-1982)

Linda Lavin in a recurring role as Detective Janice Wentworth (1975-1976)

James Gregory as Chief Inspector Frank Luger, Barney's supervisor

Barbara Barrie as Elizabeth "Liz" Miller (1975-1978), Barney's wife

Recurring characters

Barney's family

In addition to Barney's wife Liz (played by Barbara Barrie), recurring characters included Barney's son David (Michael Tessier) and daughter Rachel (Anne Wyndham). After two seasons, Barney's family was largely written out of the show, although Ms. Barrie would continue to make very occasional guest appearances for the remainder of the series run. Ms. Wyndham also reprised her role in one later episode.

Other officers and staff

Seen in occasional recurring roles at the 12th Precinct were other officers and staff, including:

Officer Kogan, the desk sergeant (Milt Kogan)

Detective Eric Dorsey (Paul Lieber)

Detective Maria Battista (June Gable)

Officer Roslyn Licori (Mari Gorman)

Officer Zatelli (Dino Natali).

Stopping by from time to time from headquarters was aggressive Internal Affairs investigator Lt. Ben Scanlon (George Murdock).

12th Precinct regulars

Regular complaintants, habitues of the 12th Precinct's holding cell, or other people who regularly dropped by, included:

Unprincipled attorney Arnold Drake Ripner (Alex Henteloff) Gay couple Marty Morrison (Jack DeLeon) and Darryl Driscoll (Ray Stewert)

Liquor store owner Mr. Cotterman (Jack Somack)

Vigilante Bruno Binder and his wife (Stanley Brock and Mari Gorman)

Building superintendent Beckman (Paul Lichtman) Group home children Jilly (Denise Miller) and Victor (John Cassisi)

Delusional "werewolf" Mr. Kopeckne (Kenneth Tigar)

Blind man Leon Roth (Ralph Manza)

Sidney the bookie (Buddy Lester)

Married couple Phillip and Harriet Brauer (Peter Hobbs and Doris Roberts)

Rabbi Yacov Berger (Nehemiah Persoff)

Transient Ray Brewer (John Dullaghan)

Small-time crook Arthur Duncan (J.J. Barry)

Flasher Lyle W. Farber (Ron Feinberg)

Mr. Lukather (Judson Morgan).


Barney Miller won the DGA Award from the Directors Guild of America in 1981.

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.

It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Comedy or Musical Series in 1976 and 1977, and was nominated for various other Golden Globe Awards.

The show won the Peabody Award in 1979.


The series was based on an unsold television pilot, The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller (aired August 22, 1974).  Linden and Vigoda kept their original roles.  

Barney Miller Opening music

The distinctive opening notes of the theme song's bass line, performed by studio musician Jim Hughart, are played over a shot of the New York skyline (with a garbage barge being towed in the foreground, from season-two on) followed by shots of the characters. Several slightly different versions of the theme song featuring minor variations in the song's composition and performance were used during different seasons. The closing credits featured a different shot of the skyline.


As the show went on it looked like a stage play.  This was mostly because the show was mostly filmed using the precinct's squadroom.  Miller's office was also used.  Characters came in and went out and we almost never see outside of the squadroom or Miller's office.  

The show was filmed in long sessions.  It started out being taped in front of a studio audience.  When the audience left, the creator and executive producer Danny Arnold would rewrite and restage scenes.  Taping would go on into the early morning hours.  The series stopped using a studio audience after the first three seasons.

The debut of Barney Miller affected another series, The Six Million Dollar Man.  In November 1974, two months before Barney Miller became a weekly series, the science fiction show had aired an episode entitled "The Seven Million Dollar Man" that introduced a villain named Barney Miller. When this character made a return appearance in the fall of 1975 in an episode entitled "The Bionic Criminal", the character's name was changed to Barney Hiller. 







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