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Barney Miller - Television Series

Updated on September 21, 2014

Barney Miller

In the 70's and into the early 80's one would have been hard pressed to find a sitcom of higher quality than that of Barney Miller. Many folks considered the show ahead of its time, and the series remains popular in syndication today, mainly due to the shows overall high level of skillful writing and acting.

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo courtesy Vintagenewscast

Barney Miller Cast

Captain Barney Miller (Hal Linden)

Det. Philip K. Fish (Abe Vigoda)

Det. Stanley "Wojo" Wojciehowicz (Max Gail)

Det. Ronald "Ron" Nathan Harris (Ron Glass)

Det. Nick Yemana (Jack Soo)

Det. Chano Amanguale (Gregory Sierra)

Deputy Inspector Frank Luger (James Gregory)

Officer Carl Levitt (Ron Carey)

Det. Arthur Dietrich (Steve Landesberg)

Elizabeth "Liz" Miller (Barbara Berrie)

Hal linden, abe vigoda
Hal linden, abe vigoda

Premise and Background

The Barney Miller show's main focus was split between the detectives' interactions with each other and with the suspects and witnesses they arrested, processed, and interviewed. Some typical conflicts and long running plotlines included Captain Barney Miller's frustration with red tape and paperwork, his never-ending efforts to maintain peace, order, and discipline, and his countless failed attempts to get a promotion; Harris's preoccupation with outside interests, such as his living arrangements but mainly his novel ("Blood on the Badge"), and his inability to remain focused on his police work; Fish's age-related health issues (incontinence), marital problems, and reluctance to retire; Wojciehowicz's impulsive behavior and love life; Luger's nostalgia for the old days with partners Foster, Kleiner and Brown; Levitt's ongoing attempt to become a detective; the rivalry between the precinct's resident intellectuals, Harris and Dietrich and continually - but reliably - bad coffee (usually made by Yemana).

Even decades after its cancellation, Barney Miller retains a devoted following among real-life police officers, who appreciate the show's emphasis on dialogue and believably quirky characters, and its low-key portrayal of cops going about their jobs. During his appearance on Jon Favreau's Independent Film Channel talk show Dinner for Five Dennis Farina, who worked as a Chicago policeman before turning to acting, called Barney Miller the most realistic cop show ever seen on television. Hal Linden has told interviewers that he is still occasionally called "Captain" by working police officers.

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Miller Poll

How often do you watch the show?

See results

Jack Soo's Final Scene

Soo died in January 1979, during the show's fifth season.

Legacy and Awards

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. 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 captured 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 also won the Peabody Award in 1979.

More "Miller" Clips

hal linden
hal linden

Hal Linden Biography

Hal Linden (born March 20, 1931) is an American stage and television actor and television director, best known for his role in the television comedy series Barney Miller, and as presenter on the ABC educational series Animals, Animals, Animals.

Linden was born Harold Lipshitz in New York City, the son of Frances (née Rosen) and Charles Lipshitz, a printer. Linden graduated from Manhattan's School of Performing Arts. He began his career as a clarinetist and dance band singer. He and his violinist brother Bernie chose their stage names after spotting a gas storage tank in Linden, New Jersey written in huge letters.

His break-through on the New York stage came in 1962 when he was cast as Billy Crocker in the revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes. He went on to a highly successful stage career, winning a Tony Award for his performance in the musical The Rothschilds. In 1984 Hal carried the Olympic Torch and ran a portion of the Los Angeles segment. A close friend of the late Alan Jay Lerner, Linden performed....(read more)

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Barney Miller Intro and Theme

Are You a Barney Miller Fan? - Feel free post a comment here. Thanks for the visit!

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    • TurtleDog70 profile image

      TurtleDog70 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great post on such a great show. I just watched and old episode of Barney Miller tonight and didn't realize how much I remembered about this show that I watched as a kid. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Barney Miller was one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. Great writing and great acting!

    • profile image

      msgplacide 6 years ago

      I'm a big fan of old tv shows. Barney Miller is one of my favorite.

      Internet TV

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 6 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      I love Barney Miller. Thanks for this lens.

    • Steve Martaindale profile image

      Steve Martaindale 6 years ago

      Absolutely loved the show, but I've never found it in reruns (perhaps attributable in large part to the fact we always get the lowest tier to cable or satellite). Its greatest strength, in my opinion, was the wonderful melding of characters and the way they all shared the limelight. Thanks for the lens!

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      I never watched the show until one time there was a marathon on. I started with one episode and ended up watching several. They were very funny, very well written.

    • profile image

      yhabe30 7 years ago

      Yes I am a fan!

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