The death of Jack Soo in 1979 marked the passing of both a fine comedy actor and one of TV's most memorable characters: Nick Yemana, the deadpan detective known for his dry wit and wretched coffee. ...
Barney Miller is the kind of cop we'd all like to run into. He is always sensible. He maintains order over a squad room of detectives who gamble for a hobby, get hit on by anything in skirts, go to renaissance philosophy conventions for fun, and would really prefer to be writing. Nearly all of the action takes place in the squad room where the citizens and criminals are brought in to complicate the mix.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the most impressive of the sitcoms ever done about law enforcement. It is understated, intellectual, comical, & entertaining while dealing with the beat of a group of New York City Dectectives. The show draws its characters well, & defines & redefines them throughout the show.
This show was a slow starter in the ratings, partly because of it's subtle humor, & partly because early on it would get distracted away from the police station with Barney's wife (played by Barbara Barrie). After the first couple of seasons, the show started concentrating more on it's knitting, the police station, & graduated into a more sophisticated comedy.
The recent death of the late Ron Carey reminded me of just how well he played Officier Carl Levitt. His character always behaved like all the Detectives looked down on him, an underling. Carey played that attitude brilliantly.
Hal Linden was always a consummate Captain Miller, always being put on the spot by his team & shooting from the hip at times. Steve Landesburg (Dietrich)was the most intellectual of the detectives always taking a simple conversation & making it complex.
James Gregory as Inspector Luger was alway bugging Barney with stories of the old days he'd have to listen to from a superior. In some ways this was the veteran movie actors best role. Max Gail as Wojo was always being played as stupid but often got the last word in.
Abe Vigoda was perfect as Fish, so good they spun him off from here to his own series. Jack Soo was brilliant as Yemana but sadly death cut his role short in this series, similar to Coach on CHEERS. Ron Glass as Detective Harris was very good as another mainstay on the show. This show had a diverse cast, even Linda Lavin who would go on to play ALICE got a good start on this show.
The writers were brilliant in that they constantly kept developing the characters to the point that when the last show came along, they ended the show with a script where everybody finally got what they wanted in promotions for years, and ended with Barney closing the door on the squad room for the last time.
As this show hits the DVD's, I bet it gets a slow start but once young folks get exposed to it, the sales will pick up speed. The shows are that good.
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