Barney Miller: Wojo’s Girl

Wojo’s Girl

Airdate: January 25, 1979

As a fan of Barney Miller since 2003, and someone who has owned the complete series box set for a few years, I’ve hopped around to episodes that piqued my interest. This was one of them. At the time, I didn’t realize it was an hour-long episode, and I think that affected my reading of the episode. So it was interesting to give it another look. Continue reading

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Barney Miller: The Indian/Voice Analyzer/The Spy

The Indian

Airdate: January 4, 1979

There’s a philosophical element in the air in this particular episode which runs through the various plots here. First, a Maggie DuBois, played by a squeaky-voiced Alix Elias, previously Louise Helton in “Hostage,” reports a shoe thief that has stolen them right from her feet as she sat at a bus stop. She’s unaware of the fetishistic motive of such a crime. Harris eventually brings in Horace Chandler, played by Phil Leeds, seen previously on several episodes, such as “Rain,” “Group Home,” and “Atomic Bomb.”

Then there’s Levitt, who has apparently given up any hope of becoming a permanent detective, even if he’s on duty in the squad room as a substitute, in decidedly unplain plainclothes, presumably for Yemana. He laments his existential ennui to anyone who asks. Continue reading

Barney Miller: The Harris Incident/The Radical/Toys

The Harris Incident

November 30, 1978

First off, though the previous episode was Jack Soo’s final appearance, Dietrich says that Nick is in court, and makes coffee in his stead. So, there’s an acknowledgement that he’s gone, but hope is held out that he might return.

Wojo brings in a beggar, Stanford Whittney, with $186 in his pocket. Barney questions the decision because it’s legally no worse than any other beggar, even if Mr. Whittney really lays it on thick, hamming up his performance for every new customer. Wojo thinks Whittney is taking business away from those truly in need. But that’s the relative comic relief, as the title implies. Eventually his wife, Ruth, bails him out revealing that he’s an embarrassed Wall Street analyst out of a job for three years and too ashamed to let his family know. To contrast, before the opening titles, Harris is shot…by a couple of cops. Continue reading

Barney Miller: The Prisoner/Loan Shark/The Vandal

The Prisoner

Airdate: October 19, 1978

Barney’s relationship with Liz is still on the rocks. Luger brings the bad news that someone from personnel will be down to talk to Barney about it because the department has an image to keep up. Luger defends Barney to the department, saying nothing dirty, smutty, or juicy about the situation. It makes one sigh and lament that it was a different time, when divorce had very different connotations, especially when the officer brought in to talk to Barney is also a priest. Continue reading

Barney Miller: Dog Days/The Baby Broker/The Accusation

Dog Days

September 28, 1978

Barney usually gets on Wojo or Harris’ case for being late, but he arrives at the one-two just before Harris, undermining his moral high ground. But Barney’s under a lot of stress, surprising the other detectives, who usually find him quite unflappable. Wojo happens to mention that Liz called for Barney, sparking an urgency in Barney as he’s upset Wojo didn’t tell him right away. Since the events of “Quo Vadis?” in March of the previous season, Liz and Barney have separated. Continue reading

Barney Miller: Evaluation/The Sighting/Inauguration/Season Four Ruminations

Evaluation

Airdate: May 4, 1978

This is an episode where everyone evaluates everyone else in a way, whether they want to or not. Wojo walks in on Roz, as there’s only a men’s room in the one-two. As embarrassed as she is, Wojo is predictably mortified for the rest of the episode.

An older couple files a complaint against possible vandal(s) who threw a brick through the window of their mom and pop adult bookstore called “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” They’re lifelong merchants who have had to abandon groceries for pornography, as the market has changed. It is after all, Manhattan in the 1970s.

Harris brings in a Mr. 1223, no “surnumber,” a numerology fanatic who shuns labels and has instead given himself a number as a name. He has a paranoid insight into the patterns that numbers reveal, so he’s decided to play the numbers game his way. Unfortunately the bank tellers weren’t as open as Dietrich to 1223’s attempt to open an account in that name. It’s Harris’ job to ID the collar.

And finally, per new protocols from headquarters, Barney has to fill out evaluations of the squad, making most everyone nervous, like the newbie Roz, except for Harris, who has a lunch meeting with a literary agent. Continue reading