I love my cop shows – but although Barney Miller wasn’t the conventional cop show, it still became a big fave of mine in the late 1970s.
Debuting in 1975, Barney Miller was a traditional sit-com, staged like a play. The characters, led by Hal Linden as Captain Barney Miller were generally always in the 12th precinct squad room, dealing with paperwork, booking the criminals and revealing more about their unique personalities above and beyond their call of duty as police officers.
Linden was joined by Fish, the crotchety older detective close to retirement played by Abe Vigoda, up beat yet naive Det. Stanley Wojciechowitz, ambitious novel-writer Det. Ron Harris, gambler Det. Nick Yemana and beleagured Det. Chano Amanguale. The detectives were always handling Officer Carl Levitt, who desperately wanted to move up the ranks to become a detective. After two seasons, intellectual and laid-back Det. Arthur Dietrich replaced Det. Amanguale.
Each half hour had its share of crime and arrests, but with a lot of laughs and relvelations from each character’s life. I liked the interplay between the characters, as well as the fact of them representing my reality of having people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. Although it seems commonplace now, in the mid-1970s having a mini-United Nations on national television wasn’ the norm.
My love for the show caused my parents to buy me the Barney Miller board game – oh yes I was a devoted fan! Barney Miller had a successful run of seven years on ABC, and when it finished was honoured with a Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1982.
Although it wasn’t filled with the drama and action of many police shows, Barney Miller still receives praise from many police for its quirky characters and low-key portrayal of the reality of police work – paperwork and endless hours at a desk.
Since I’ve been travelling longer than expected in Asia – here’s a few photos from Mactan Island in The Phillipines to enjoy before I can post regularly again next week:
The marine sanctuary at Mactan Resort – guests & visitors are asked not to remove any marine life, shells, plants, etc… from this sanctuary. As soon as you step in the water you can see fish, and snorkeling is a must!
A fruit vendor at the Mactan Shrine in Lapu Lapu City, Mactan Island, The Phillipines.