[[quoteright:339:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/barney-miller-cast_3441.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:339:From left to right: [[TheBigGuy Wojciehowicz]], [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Miller]], [[TheDandy Harris]], [[GrumpyOldMan Fish]], and [[TheStoic Yemana]].]]

->'''Yemana:''' No, I don't watch (cop) shows like that. I can't enjoy them because, being a cop myself, I spot the mistakes and inaccuracies and the fantastic things that in real life never happen.
->'''Victim:''' On the show they caught (the criminal)!
->'''Yemana:''' Good example!

A police-themed sitcom airing on Creator/{{ABC}} from 1975–82, '''''Barney Miller''''' was considered quite realistic by actual cops, especially in comparison to police dramas at the time. The episodes tended to take place entirely within the bleak, ancient squadroom as the detectives booked and processed various suspects. Action sequences usually took place off-camera and were described by the detectives as they returned from the scene. What made the show worth watching was [[http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2011/10/barney-miller-inside-look.html the razor-sharp writing]] and the eccentric personalities of the detectives, including:

* The eponymous Captain Miller (Hal Linden), whose underlings exasperate him and whose superiors ignore him; an OnlySaneMan who often feels ineffectual and underappreciated. Best known for leaving suspects and victims together for a while in hopes that they will work things out without pressing charges (and therefore without the associated paperwork).
* Lieutenant Nick Yemana (Jack Soo), Captain Miller's second in command who is in charge of "the files" and is generally the HypercompetentSidekick of the squadroom. He takes a laissez-faire attitude to most things and often makes inappropriate jokes. His [[BadToTheLastDrop bad coffee]] is legendary. Yemana was the first regular adult character on U.S. prime-time television written specifically for an American of Japanese descent.[[note]]In StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Sulu was played by Japanese American George Takei, but the character's nationality was deliberately left unspecified.[[/note]]
* Sergeant Philip K. Fish (Abe Vigoda), an elderly and dyspeptic complainer who alternately wisecracks about today's batch of criminals or his wife. Despite his endless moaning, he can't stand the thought of his impending retirement. The character began appearing in a spin-off series, ''Fish'', midway through the third season but didn't leave until the end of it (getting a proper send-off in the fourth season premiere). The spin-off didn't last two years, and Fish continued to return for occasional appearances on the parent show.
* Detective Stanley Taddeus "Wojo" Wojciehowicz ("You say it like it's spelled!" or "Spelled just like it sounds!") (Max Gail), who tended to act entirely on his impulses, causing Barney endless headaches. His original uncouth and dense character gradually became more enlightened as the series went on.
* Sergeant Ron Nathan Harris (Ron Glass), whose police work frequently took second place to his novel-writing. He had a diva-esque attitude, best exemplified by his reluctance to wear anything he considered unstylish, even during undercover work. He also considered himself the squadroom intellectual, at least until the arrival of...
* Detective Arthur Dietrich (Steve Landesberg), a DeadpanSnarker and card-carrying intellectual, whose long-winded speculations about criminal psychology, science, and just about anything else that happened to come up in conversation drove the other detectives crazy. He particularly annoyed Harris, who didn't appreciate having a rival for being "[[TheSmartGuy the Smart One]]".
* During the first two seasons, Sergeant Chano Amenguale (Gregory Sierra); an amiable, talkative guy, but basically deficient in outstanding personality quirks. He [[BrotherChuck disappeared]] when Sierra got a lead role on another sitcom, which promptly crashed and burned, beating ''Fish'' to the punch by a season.

Also around are abrasive, uniformed Officer Carl Levitt (Ron Carey), who longs to be a detective but can never seem to snag a promotion (he finally got one in the very last episode); and Barney's immediate superior Inspector Franklin D. Luger (James Gregory), who does nothing but chew Barney's ear all day and long for the halcyon days of acceptable police brutality. In the first season or two, which had episodes alternating between the squadroom and Barney's home life, Barbara Barrie was a regular as Barney's wife Elizabeth; the character was eventually moved offscreen, save for a couple of guest appearances.

Throughout the run, the show tried adding new characters to the cast; most of them would be given a "test run" of about three episodes to make an impression. More than half a dozen cops were "auditioned" this way. Save for Dietrich, none of them really worked, resulting in many a BrotherChuck. (Linda Lavin probably would have stayed on too, if she hadn't been offered the lead role in ''[[Series/{{Alice1976}} Alice]]''; she appeared prominently in flashbacks despite being in only five episodes). Midway through the fifth season, actor Jack Soo (Yemana) died. The cast did a memorial episode out-of-character for Soo, but Yemana was never [[TheCharacterDiedWithHim killed off]] in so many words. Once in a while, he would be mentioned in the past tense, sometimes with an air of wistfulness. When Levitt worked in the detective squad room, he took over Yemana's desk.

This show is also remembered for its super-catchy InstrumentalThemeTune, which has quite possibly the most famous bass line in TV history. If you've seen the show, you're probably [[EarWorm humming it to yourself now]].

Characters and references to the show still turn up. In a novel spinoff of ''TheBlairWitchProject'', ''Confessions of Rustin Parr'', the investigations were headed by Detective Nicholas Yemana. In William P. Young's supernatural murder mystery ''The Shack'', a Polish police detective says his name is "spelled just like it sounds". In ''{{Frasier}}'', one of Martin's police friends was Stan Wojciedubakowski, and when he died, Martin briefly dated his widow. The PoliceProcedural [[RomanticComedy Romantic Dramedy]] ''Series/{{Castle}}'' is, like this show, set in the Twelfth Precinct of the NYPD.

Police detectives often cite this as the best cop show ever seen on television. Dennis Farina, who really worked as a policeman before [[NYPDBlue becoming an actor]], says it's the most realistic. In 2014, it was called [[http://www.ibtimes.com/barney-miller-forty-years-later-most-intelligent-literate-us-sitcom-ever-1556406 the most intelligent and literate U.S. sitcom ever made.]] The detectives were made honorary members of the NYPD. The chalkboard roster and Jack Soo's coffee cup now reside in the Smithsonian.

Now has a [[Characters/BarneyMiller character page]] for the main cast and recurring characters.
----
!!This show provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: The romance between Wojo and Wentworth is forgotten about after Linda Lavin left the show to be the star of ''Series/{{Alice}}''.
* AccidentalMisnaming: Inspector Luger always called Sgt. Levitt 'Levine', right up to the final episode. He once, bizarrely, referred to him as Goldstein.
* AccidentalPervert: A man who was arrested for being a public nuisance by making lewd comments in a park was actually doing research for a detailed dictionary and history of obscenities.
-->'''Suspect''': She called me a pervert. I'm a scholar.
-->'''Dietrich''': There's no reason you can't be both. ("The Baby Broker")
* AffablyEvil: Arthur Duncan likes to rob the disabled, charities, and in general people who are particularly defenseless, but he always has a reasonable attitude about getting arrested.
* TheAlcoholic: A robber who tries to rip off a store using his finger as a gun (he forgot to put his hand in his pocket first because he was drunk). ("Copy Cat")
** Ray [[MeaningfulName Brewer]] was this as well, until he had an epiphany upon hitting rock bottom (see WhatDidIDoLastNight below) and subsequently joined the Salvation Army.
* AllGaysLoveTheater: Luger thinks that every Hollywood actor, past or present, is gay--except Creator/JohnWayne. (episode "The RAND Report")
* AmbulanceChaser: Arnold Ripner, a recurring character. At one point he sues Harris for putting a thinly-veiled version of him in his novel and uses all the unflattering adjectives Harris used to describe the character's sleaziness as proof.
* AndStarring: "And Gregory Sierra as Chano", for the first two seasons. For a little while in Seasons 4 and 5, "And James Gregory as Inspector Luger".
* ArentYouGoingToRavishMe: In episode "Heat Wave", Detective Wentworth is highly offended when a would-be rapist elbows her aside in order to get at Wojo, who is wearing drag for an anti-mugger sting.
** Another female detective who is detailed to catch a dentist in the act of groping anesthetized female patients has a similar reaction when she is not groped.
* AsideComment: Fish does it a lot, stopping just short of addressing the audience.
* AttractiveBentGender: Usually related to mugging detail, when a squad member crossdresses to attract muggers.
** Fish arrests another old man for asking him out. The guy still wants to take him on a date even after learning he's a man.
** When Harris goes on mugging detail in "The Search", everyone in the squad is astonished. Even [[DeadpanSnarker Nick]] is too flabbergasted to say anything but "You look lovely!"
--> '''Harris:''' I want to look good, Barney... but not ''better''.
** Totally inverted with Wojo, and even more with Dietrich--Barney won't even let Dietrich go out because he just does not look female at all.
* BadToTheLastDrop: Yemana's terrible, terrible coffee was a RunningGag.
** In "Rain", when rain is dripping through the leaky roof into the office of the 12th Precinct, Yemana gets rainwater from a pan ''and uses it to make coffee''.
** In "Fear of Flying", when a woman takes an overdose of pills in the office and Poison Control tells the detectives they need to make her vomit the pills up, they use Yemana's coffee as an emetic. It works.
** In "Quarantine" part 2, Yemana is utterly mystified when a civilian in the station cleans the mold from the coffee cups.
--> '''Yemana''' I thought it was a pattern.
** In "Loan Shark", Jack Soo's next-to-last episode, Wojo makes coffee when Yemana is out of the office. It is terrible.
--> '''Yemana''': All this time I thought it was just me.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: In "The Tunnel", Nick discovers a horse named "Pick-Me-Nick" in the paper and decides that it's more than a sign, it's an ''order.'' Just before the end credits--after a philosophical discussion about fate and the afterlife that took place for unrelated reasons--Nick learns that Pick-Me-Nick won.
--> "I guess that settles ''that!''"
* BeleagueredBureaucrat: Most government officials who visit the squadroom. (Usually because of [[WideEyedIdealist Wojo]] giving someone political asylum or similar.)
* TheBet: In "Community Relations", between Yemana (to stop gambling) and Harris (to stop smoking) on who could last the longest. Here's how it ends, after Barney has paired up a blind man who keeps getting robbed with a homeless man who needs a place to stay.
--> '''Barney''': I bet they make it.\\
'''Harris''': I bet they don't.\\
'''Yemana''': You're on!\\
'''Harris''': ''You lose''. [lights up smoke]
* BigBlackout: The episode "Power Failure." The power cuts while Barney is in his office with a psychiatrist who is apparently trying to seduce him on behalf of her arrested patient.
* TheBigRottenApple: Set as it is in the 70's and early 80's, the bureaucracy, high crime, and perpetual budget crisis make for great comedy and occasional drama.
** In the first episode, "Ramon", Liz is listening to the radio tell all about the crimes and disasters in New York. The Miller apartment has bars on the window and multiple locks on the door. Liz begs Barney to quit the police force and leave New York City. Then, at work, Barney and the detectives are held at gunpoint by a crazed heroin junkie.
** The opening title sequence begins with a shot of the Lower Manhattan skyline--as a garbage scow crosses in front of it.
* BirthDeathJuxtaposition: See TalkingDownTheSuicidal below.
* BlackComedyRape: Season 4, Episode 15, titled "Rape." A woman charges her husband with rape. Presented as a comedy story line. See MaritalRapeLicense below.
* BlatantLies: In "Voice Analyzer", Dietrich informs a prototype lie detector that he was born "[[Franchise/StarWars a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away]]" after an honest but excitable Wojo flunks the test.
** The technician operating the machine doesn't really believe Dietrich is an alien, but he ''also'' doesn't believe the machine isn't working perfectly. Eventually his faith in the machine wins out, though fortunately for Wojo, his supervisors conclude the reverse.
* BlowingSmokeRings: Harris puts his feet on the desk and starts doing this in "Eviction (Part 1)". Barney, who is having a particularly stressful day, gets annoyed.
* TheBore: Luger and his endless stories about Brownie, Foster, and Kleiner. A supposed clairvoyant announces his arrival by saying that he feels "a gloomy presence" approaching.
* BottleEpisode: All but a few of them. If the Internet Movie Database's trivia page is to be believed, only thirteen episodes over the whole course of the series showed scenes outside the station: "Ramon", "Graft", "The Stakeout", "Hair", "The Hero", "Film/GrandHotel", "Fish", "Wojo's Girl" part 2 (itself a Bottle Episode as the whole episode takes place in Wojo's apartment), "Contempt" parts 1 & 2, "Chinatown" parts 1 & 2, and "Eviction" part 2. And most of those were early in the show's run. The first five episodes in that list were all in Season 1. Two of those thirteen episodes were [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot Poorly Disguised Pilots]] (see below).
* BrickJoke:
** Yemana takes a call, says "Wait, let me get a pencil" and starts to eat his lunch with the pencil as a makeshift chopstick as he tells the caller to go ahead with their story. Switch to other characters doing things, then back to Yemana as he hangs up with the caller. He takes one look at the pencil and says "Oh my God, I ate my eraser!"
** After getting an announcement that there will be tryouts for a department variety show, everyone present declines interest and Barney drops it in the wastebasket. The episode ends with Wojo, not present at the start, fishing it out and indignant that nobody told him about it.
* BuildingOfAdventure: The precinct house, as dilapidated as it is. Over the course of the series it sees hostage crises, quarantine, fire, suicide attempts, Jesus (maybe), and guys that [[LooksLikeJesus look like Jesus]].
* BulletproofVest: A seventh season episode revolved around bulletproof vests being issued to the members of the squad, and their reluctance to wear them. Wojo said "It makes me feel like I'm some kind of supercop: like I ought to have a big W across here."
* CallBack:
** References to detectives Amenguale and Wentworth working elsewhere in the police department continued after their actors left the show. When Yemana's actor died, the character was occasionally remembered fondly with wistful glances at his old desk, without specifying what had happened to him. In fact, an entire ''episode'' revolved around Yemana's desk. Levitt protested its removal because without it he had less chance of getting his occasional assignments to work with the detectives, proving himself worthy of promotion. Barney came to regret having had it removed, and decided it wasn't enough just to get another desk; he demanded ''that'' desk back, and [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming got it]].
** Nick says that they can't use the towel for something because all the terry wore down. Also, it "cracked." In a later episode, Barney threatens an unruly perpetrator by saying he would stuff their towel in his mouth. When the guy isn't cowed, Barney retorts with "You haven't seen our towel!"
** In "Fear of Flying", a citizen turns in $3500 in cash that he found, only to get very interested when he's told he can get the money back in 30 days if no one claims it. Four episodes later, in "The Kid", that same citizen shows up and collects his $3500.
* CatchPhrase: Barney's "Gentlemen, I think we all have work to do..." Often lampshaded by the other characters in later seasons.
* CelebrityParadox: In "Eviction" part 1, Luger asks Yemana if ''Flower Drum Song'' is still playing. Jack Soo starred in both the stage and screen versions of ''Flower Drum Song''.
* CharacterDevelopment: All of the squad went through this as the show went on--Wojo becoming less naive, for example--and some recurring characters did as well. Ray Brewer, a recurring bum, shows up one day in a Salvation Army uniform.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Wojo is extremely immature, almost to the point of being a JerkAss, and has an obnoxious "dumb guy" laugh in the first season. He tones down a lot in Season 2 and continues to do so more subtly for the remainer of the series. And Harris is more of a streetwise hipster than a pompous intellectual until sometime in the third season.
* CharacterOutlivesActor: Nick Yemana did not exactly Die On a Bus, even though the actor Jack Soo, who played him, died in real life on January 11, 1979. Nick disappeared from the series and was definitely gone for good; there was an episode where a lot of drama was attached to the removal of his desk from the office, and characters would sometimes mention "back when Nick was here". However, it was never made clear whether he died or just went away somewhere. The final episode cleared this up. Looking around the squadroom one last time, Barney remembers (via flashback clips) the cops who'd left the squad in years past. When he remembers Chano, Wentworth and Fish, Barney is smiling in fond remembrance. When he remembers Nick, though, his expression is very sad. Clearly, Nick had passed on.
** Jack Soo had esophageal cancer. Linden visited Soo in the hospital just before he was to have surgery. He said "It must have been the coffee." Legend ascribes this line to Jack just as he was being wheeled into the operating room.
* ChristmasEpisode:
** "Christmas Story", in Season 3, in which a mugger is targeting Santas.
** "Toys", in Season 5, in which rival toy manufacturers pose a problem for the precinct, and Barney has to face his first Christmas after separation from Liz.
** "Homeless", in Season 8, in which the precinct is overrun by vagrants with nowhere else to go.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Fish's departure was dealt with in the two-part episode that opened Season 4, and the departure/death of Nick Yemana was dealt with somewhat obliquely (see CharacterOutlivesActor above). Chano's departure was mentioned in a throwaway gag two seasons after the fact. Other detectives were victims of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Linda Lavin's Detective Wentworth wasn't mentioned again after Lavin left for ''Series/{{Alice}}''. Detective Maria Battista, played by June Gable, appeared in two Season 3 episodes and was never seen again. Early in season 7, the writers introduced Det. Eric Dorsey (Paul Lieber), a new detective with a blond afro and an [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold abrasive attitude]]. After four episodes, he disappears.
* ChurchgoingVillain:
** One perp makes a big deal about how devout a Catholic he is in the hopes that Wojo's Catholic guilt will get him let go. (It doesn't work, but it does make Wojo pretty uncomfortable.)
** An Episcopal priest is arrested for fencing stolen goods to raise money for charity. He expresses an incredible amount of jealousy of the attention and funding that big-time Roman Catholic churches like St. Patrick's Cathedral get.
** A rabbi is busted when he uses the synagogue's license for a "casino night" to ''continuously'' operate a small-time casino in the basement. ("The Accusation")
** A lunatic preaching that TheEnd is near and citing endless Scripture verses is arrested for disorderly conduct. As Bernice Fish comes in, he lets loose with a passage from the Old Testament. Bernice quietly asks her husband: "Who arrested the rabbi?"
** Averted when a young man comes in and announces "I want to make a confession!" Wojo tells him "Oh, St. Vincent's, right down the street. Ask for Father Paul." Turns out he wants to confess a crime and go to jail.
* CigaretteOfAnxiety: One time when Barney is passed over for promotion (again), he finds an old cigarette in his desk and smokes it. He had quit 3 years previously, and that cigarette was left over from before he quit.
-->'''Harris:''' You smoked a 3 year old cigarette?
-->'''Barney:''' Just wanted to make sure I didn't get hooked again.
-->'''Harris:''' That'll do it.
* ClipShow: "Jack Soo, a Retrospective", last episode of Season 5 (May 17, 1979). This was an out-of-character tribute to Soo, who played Yemana, and who had died of esophageal cancer in January of that year. This doubles as a case of TheCharacterDiedWithHim as Yemana is indicated to have died in subsequent in-character episodes.
* ClumsyCopyrightCensorship: In an episode where a perpetrator beat up an elevator-music machine, the word Muzak (a trademark of Muzak Holdings LLC) is slienced-out.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: In "Hash", after IntoxicationEnsues from the hash brownies, Barney is worried about Yemana, who is very high. He asks Harris, who is slightly less high.
-->'''Barney:''' How's Nick?
-->'''Harris:''' I like him!
* TheComicallySerious: Dietrich. His stonefaced delivery while annoying his colleagues to death was a hallmark of the character.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Jeffery Tambor plays a man who's obsessed with the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateral_Commission Trilateral Commission]].
* TheCouch: In Barney's office. {{Lampshaded}} when Harris thanks Barney for the use of it because a ''real'' psychiatrist would be too expensive.
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: After a flasher tries to kill himself in the bathroom in "Snow Job", Barney manages to get his heart started again by ''hitting his chest''.
* CreateYourOwnVillain: In "The Vandal", Creator/ChristopherLloyd plays a man who blames Barney for his life of crime and drug abuse when years earlier Patrolman Miller caused him to miss an important job interview by detaining him with a ticket for littering.
* CrimeAndPunishmentSeries
* CuffsOffRubWrists: In "The Psychiatrist", a suspect hauled in to the 12th complains that his wrists are ''broken'' after he's uncuffed.
* CunningLinguist: There's a funny bit in "Hash" where Wojciehowicz briefly interprets for two elderly Polish men, caught dueling with swords in the park, until they're able to pull themselves together. Naturally, Wojo's a beat behind and continues translating even after they begin speaking English.
* TheDandy: Harris, who always wore expensive, tailored suits, even when he really couldn't afford them on an NYPD detective's salary. He always got agitated when events at work caused his suits to get messy.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** The two season 7 episodes when the NYPD is reorganized into specialty squads and the 12th is assigned homicide.
** A late-series episode involves an ex-Nazi in hiding.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Yemana was rarely the subject of the A plot, usually serving as a DeadspanSnarker and one-liner machine. One rare exception was Season 5 episode "Loan Shark". One day after his 20th anniversary with the NYPD, and feeling unappreciated by his co-workers, Yemana angrily stalks out of the squad room. After he finally comes back, the episode ends with Barney and the other detectives reassuring Yemana about how much they respect him and how important his work (filing, making coffee) is. This was the next-to-last episode for Jack Soo, who was dying of cancer, and in that light it seems very much like a case of LeaningOnTheFourthWall and an in-character goodbye to Soo.
* DeadpanSnarker: Numerous among both the squad and the people they dealt with, but Yemana, Fish and Dietrich all deserve special mention.
** When Air Force Master Sergeant Reville (George Murdock, before he was cast in a recurring role as Lt. Scanlon) arrives at the precinct in "Group Home" to report a bomb threat to an Air Force base, he is clearly uncomfortable with the idea of a Japanese-American police officer. Yemana deals with his discomfort with deadpan humor:
--->'''Reville:''' It just isn't right. Why would someone threaten to destroy a US military installation?\\
'''Yemana:''' Nostalgia?
** One of Fish's favourite targets for snarkery is his wife, Bernice (who gives as good as she gets when we see her).
--->'''Wojo:''' Hey Fish, who's Esther Williams?\\
'''Fish:''' She covered herself with grease and swam the English Channel. ''(to himself)'' It's a shame Bernice can't swim, she'd be all set.
** Dietrich is usually TheStoic, but beneath his calm surface is an often acerbic sense of humor. In "Uniform Days", he is looking into a seven-year-old armed robbery case, the statute of limitations on which expires at midnight.
--->'''Barney:''' 1973!? Nixon was still President!\\
'''Dietrich:''' No, he's got an airtight alibi for this one.
* DemonicPossession: Season 7, "Possession". Mr. Kopechne, whom we first saw as a victim of lycanthropy in "Werewolf", returns claiming to be possessed by a demon, and he convinces the squad he's right with his unnatural growls, acrobatics, and VoiceOfTheLegion.
* DesignerBabies: Referenced by a geneticist whose lab was robbed. He's excited about the possibility of "creating a whole new superior race of... ''really nice people!''"
* DiplomaticImpunity:
** An official from the Russian embassy is seen forcing a Russian musician into a car, prompting Wojo to arrest him for kidnapping. The Russian official insists he has diplomatic immunity. ("Asylum")
** The Burmese ambassador who is keeping a debt-bonded slave as a bodyman. However, he's ''not'' immune to an uninsured car, much to the squad's delight.
* DiscriminateAndSwitch: Harris is turned down for a lease... because he's a cop and the landlord "won't rent to anyone who doesn't have a steady job." ("Copycat")
* DisguisedInDrag: See AttractiveBentGender above.
* DisposableVagrant: Subverted when recurring character Ray Brewer reports that vagrants are vanishing from a shelter; Harris goes undercover to solve the case. (Turns out they're being shipped to North Carolina as slave labor.)
* DoingItForTheArt: In-universe when Harris is tasked with making a porno to be used in investigations. He goes far over budget, gives it an actual plot (with PurpleProse dialogue), and gives himself a cameo in the spirit of Creator/AlfredHitchcock. The actual pornographic content, when it happens, is implied to be... up to industry standards.
* DomesticAbuser: In "Heat Wave", a woman with a black eye comes in and files a complaint against her husband, who has given her a black eye. Fish is getting ready to go pick him up when she asks what will happen, and he tells her that since the husband was already on parole for a previous complaint, he's going to get three years. The woman sits down, and starts to reminisce about their 15-year marriage, and how he once made love to her on a field of flowers. She leaves without signing the complaint. Then, just when the story looks like it's going to end on that AmbiguousEnding, she darts back in and signs it.
* DonutMessWithACop: In the episode "Accusation'', a victim calls Barney out on his coffee and donut breakfast.
--->'''Victim''': Oh my....and him a Captain!
--->'''Dietrich''': Nutritionally, he's still a child.
** In an earlier episode Dietrich relates statistics about cholesterol and fat as Yamana and Fish defiantly bite into donuts and crullers.
* DoubleStandardRapeMaleOnMale: Wojo, who is wearing drag in order to catch muggers, is almost raped. Everyone finds it hilarious that the rapist ''passed over'' the attractive and actually female Wentworth (Linda Lavin) to go after Wojo in a dress.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the first season, Barney's wife is a regular billed in the opening credits, although she does not appear in all the episodes. In fact, aside from Barney, most of the top-billed characters sit out for an episode or more of the first season. At the same time, characters who seem to have been intended as regulars disappear after being in one or two episodes. The characters' personalities are less distinctive, too, aside from Barney, Wojo, and Fish. Additionally, the show features scenes outside the squad room several times, something that would become very rare in subsequent seasons (see BottleEpisode above).
* EasyAmnesia: In two-parter "Eviction", Dietrich is smitten with an attractive young woman who's brought into the precinct. She has typical Hollywood amnesia, unable to recall anything of her past or even her name. She turns out to be a nun.
* ElectionDayEpisode: Episode 3-05, "The Election". An arrestee insists on using his right to vote so Wojo takes him to the polls, where he escapes. In a subplot Inveterate Gambler Nick is torn between who to bet on winning (Ford or Carter). Meanwhile, Inspector Luger goes around trying to get people to vote for a friend of his. The only thing that anyone remembers is that he was involved in a political scandal, and the best that Luger can come back with is "they never proved any of that."
* ElNinoIsSpanishForTheNino:
** A recurring Latina character calls Officer Levitt (who is quite short) "poquito". He finally asks her what it means and she says, "It means macho," and leaves.
-->'''Levitt''': "I thought "macho" meant macho!"
** In "The Vigilante" Inspector Lugar asks Chano "What is the Spanish word for 'vigilante'?".
* EloquentInMyNativeTongue: The woman in "Hunger Strike" who's been in a mental asylum for two decades because she speaks "hebephrenic gibberish". Turns out she's a native speaker of Macedonian and perfectly sane. (See RippedFromTheHeadlines, below.)
* ElSpanishO: In "Eviction", Wojo tells an old Hispanic man to "el seato"; Barney offers the man a chair and says "Señor, aquí." Later on Levitt offers to escort this man home, saying he speaks some Spanish, but he says "Vaminos homo." Barney tells him the word he wants is "casa", so he says "Vaminos casa, no homo."
* EverybodyDidIt: In "The RAND Report" Fish is dispatched to investigate a series of robberies at an old folks' home. He discovers that all the old folks have been stealing from each other in order to liven things up.
* EverybodyMustGetStoned: See MushroomSamba below.
* ExecutiveMeddling: In-universe with the first short story Harris sells to a magazine--a dirty magazine called "Sir Gent" that sleazes it up considerably. (episode "Abduction")
* {{Expy}}: Several.
** [[Characters/DoctorWhoClassicSeriesDoctors The time traveler with the long striped scarf and bug-eyed, toothy grin]]
** [[Film/{{Serpico}} The narco agent whose face was almost completely obscured by his long hair and beard]] ("Hair").
** [[Film/MidnightCowboy The tall guy in cowboy hat and buckskin jacket]] working as a male prostitute in a massage parlor ("Massage Parlor")
** In the second episode, a different African American actor played an officer named Wilson and sat at Harris's desk. Possibly used because the character needed to go out in drag at one point, and they needed to avoid Ron Glass's mustache. (A later episode had a subplot about Harris having to shave so he could do this detail. Barney makes a point of having Harris go last so he could keep it as long as possible.)
* EyeObscuringHat:
** Wojo reports a UFO and a Captain from the Air Force shows up to take his statement; he wears his officer's cap in such a way that it obscures his eyes. Barney tries to peek around the brim.
** Jilly Pappalardo is wearing one of these when we first see her, in "Evacuation".
* TheFaceless: Save one onscreen appearence in the early episode "The Guest", Desk Sergeant Koogan qualifys, as he gets a mention every three episodes or so afterward.
* FingertipDrugAnalysis: Hilariously parodied in the hash brownies episode.
--> '''Barney:''' Harris, have these analyzed, and fast!
--> '''Harris:''' [takes another brownie and is about to bite into it]
--> '''Barney:''' ''NOT THAT WAY!''
* FiveManBand: Barney was TheHero; Yemana was TheLancer; Wojo was TheBigGuy; Dietrich was TheSmartGuy. Harris was initially TheSmartGuy until Dietrich came on board, and then became more of a male TheChick; after Jack Soo died, he replaced him as TheLancer.
* {{Foil}}: The very laid-back and good-humored Zatelli to tightly-wound and sycophantic Levitt.
* {{Foreshadowing}}/LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In the tag of the second season episode "Horse Thief" Fish makes small talk to Barney "They say we may be in for some rain next week". In the very next episode called "Rain" an extreme rain storm threatens to bring down the squad room roof.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** Chano occasionally lost his temper and let loose in Spanish, including "pendejo" (literally meaning "pubic hair", but is as strong as "asshole" to a Spanish speaker) at least once.
** In an early episode, a man talking about his wife joining a cult that hoped to travel to Saturn pointed upward with his middle finger as he said "Up there, Saturn." Fish's response: "Hold that thought."
** In another episode, a suspect stoned out of his mind on pot insists on referring to Bernice Fish as "mother." When she leaves the room, he shouts, "That mother left me!"
* TheGhost: Barney's family - wife Liz, son David, and daughter Rachel - turned into offscreen characters after the first season. Both Liz and Rachel did eventually return for guest appearances in later episodes, however.
* GoodGriefAnotherPeanutsShoutOut: In "Copycat" Yemana researches a copycat's next crime by studying a TVGuide. When Barney asks if he's found anything, Yemana replies [[Series/ILoveLucy "Lucy just found out she's pregnant, and doesn't know how to tell Ricky"]]. Later Dietrich asks Barney if Yemana came up with anything.
-->'''Barney''': Just that Lucy's pregnant.
-->'''Dietrich''': That Charlie Brown's a devil, isn't he?
* GoshDangItToHeck: Sometimes. Usually a character about to swear would simply be interrupted, e.g. "Oh, who gives a flying f—" "WOJO!" However, when Ron Harris spoke about his belief that a civil action filed against him and subsequent judgment for the plaintiff were racially motivated, he was allowed to say "You are looking at one mad nigger!" but "They won't suck another nickel out of this bad ''motor scooter''."[[note]]emphasis added[[/note]]
* GrammarNazi: An English professor who tears down an advertisement for using words like tongue-tastingest and crun-crun-crunchiest and corrects Barney's use of the word hopefully ("do you mean ''with hope?'' No!"). Dietrich tweaks him by using the word irregardless.
* HalloweenEpisode: "Werewolf." First appearance of Mr. Kopechne (Kenneth Tigar), here playing a man with lycanthropy who had at least Yemana convinced he was "changing."
--> '''Yemana:''' Look at that. Hair is growing out of his face.
--> '''Barney:''' That's called a beard! Haven't you ever seen one?
--> '''Yemana:''' Not in my family.
** Mr. Kopechne later got rid of the lycanthropy, but became possessed by a demon as a side effect.
** Tigar had previously appeared as Fletcher, a man who was [[BadassGrandpa mugged and badly beaten by an elderly woman who knew martial arts]]; Porter, who was harrasssed by a poltergeist; and in a '79 episode, Jesus Christ.
* HappyEndingMassage: Occasionally the squad busts one of these. In "Massage Parlor", Wentworth investigates one that employs male prostitutes and arrests a good-natured cowboy who sees his occupation as a "God-given talent." In another episode, Fish goes to a parlor that had been busted, to Bernice's chagrin, but he really did just go for a massage. (And fell asleep on the table.)
* HeroicBSOD: In "The Hero", Chano is deeply rattled after a bank robbery led to him shooting and killing the two robbers.
* HiddenDepths: "Wojo's Girl" reveals that Wojo the resident meathead likes to play the flute in the park on his days off.
* HypocriticalHumor: Quite often from numerous individuals. During one opening, Desk Sergeant [[TheFaceless Kogan]] informs Wojo that Harris and Nick have been shot at and starts relaying the circumstances before saying that they're all right--Wojo yells at him that he should have said that right from the start. Then Barney comes in and Wojo tells him, phone still in hand:
-->'''Barney:''' Are they all right?!\\
'''Wojo:''' They were checkin' out this disturbance--\\
'''Barney:''' ''Wojo!''\\
'''Wojo:''' Yeah, they're fine--Kogan? Kogan? Kogan'll fill you in on details. ''[holds out the phone in embarrassment]'' Soon's as he finishes laughin'.
* IceCreamKoan: Yemana with one of his typically bizarre one-liners in "The Search".
--> "Marriage is like a horse with a broken leg. You can shoot it, but that don't fix the leg."
* IdenticalLookingAsians: Inverted in "Christmas Story", when an Asian mugging victim and prostitute is looking through the mugbooks. When she remarks to Yemana that "everyone looks so much alike," he says "I know what you mean, I'm Japanese too."
* IdenticalStranger: A man with curly brown hair and glasses is arrested for making a scene when his specimen at a sperm bank is ruined. At the end of the episode, Dietrich suggests he and his wife could find a man with similar physical characteristics for artificial insemination... and the wife looks at Dietrich with great interest. ("The Bank")
* IgnoreTheFanservice: A HighClassCallGirl, who is the victim of a semi-related crime, throws herself at Dietrich to a ridiculous extent. As it happens he's trying to swear off sex, and does his best to ignore her. When she tries to test out her seductive new perfume on him he snaps, "Lady, will you get your stinking hand out of my face?"
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer:
** In "Discovery", a man claiming to be a detective from the 12th precinct is accosting men as they leave gay bars and demanding money or else he'll beat them. (He's collared by a patron who is himself an off-duty cop.)
** In a benign version, a retired man puts on a uniform and starts doing a variety of small administrative tasks because he doesn't have anything else to do and he wants to help out.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Plenty of 'em, often examples of lame office humor like the post office man who says he "[=ZIPped=] right over."
** Mr. Lun from the Water Department can't seem to shut it off:
--> ...you have to understand, captain, that this drought situation has put the entire water department under a great deal of pressure... I go home at night, and I am completely drained. [A rainmaker] was spouting off about how he could make it rain... if it ever leaks to the press that some drip from the water department hired a rainmaker at the taxpayers' expense...
* IndenturedServitude: In one episode a [[DiplomaticImpunity diplomat]] has a slave. The slave's grandfather borrowed money from the diplomat's grandfather and he's still working off the debt.
* InkblotTest: In "The Psychiatrist", said psychiatrist has the squad look at inkblots. Yemana sees an elephant wearing a hat. "Now turn the picture upside down and tell me what you see." "An elephant lying on his back. Wearing a hat."
* InsistentTerminology:
** Wojo on the pronunciation of his name. It's almost a CatchPhrase.
** And the District Attorney when he starts talking about himself--them--''the District Attorney's office!''
* InstrumentalThemeTune: Apparently one Hal Linden didn't care for, at least compared to some of his fellow actor's shows. Once on a talk show he appeared with some stars from other shows, all of who were introduced with a few note of their theme songs. When he was introduced Linden said "Man he has such a nice theme, and he has a great theme...me, I've got 'Bum...bumbumbum...bumbumbum...bababaddabadda bum'".
* InsultToRocks: In "Hash", a pair of Polish immigrants, one an actor and the other a theatre critic, have been arrested for fighting a saber duel. The actor fumes over a review in which the critic said he played his role "like a howling jackass". The irritated critic says, "I apologize to the jackasses!"[[note]] Which the unknowingly stoned Nick finds hysterical.[[/note]]
* InternalAffairs: As in every other cop show, IA is the enemy. In "Graft", the fourth episode, an IA detective comes sniffing around the 12th Precinct looking for cops on the take. He follows the corruption trail all the way to the commissioner's office, which winds up getting him busted back to beat cop. Later there would be a recurring character, Lt. Scanlon from Internal Affairs, who shows up from time to time to cause trouble for the detectives in the 12th. In "Chase", a heroin dealer who tries to bribe the men of the 12th turns out to be an agent provocateur sent by Scanlon.
* IntoxicationEnsues: See MushroomSamba below.
* InVinoVeritas: No alcohol or drugs are involved, but this is basically the effect of putting Wojo under hypnotism in one episode. Also occurs when the detectives are quarantined in the squad room, and Harris talks in his sleep.
* IOweYouMyLife: Dietrich saves Harris's life on a call, much to his annoyance at being in Dietrich's debt.
* IWasQuiteALooker: A poignant bit when an older woman insisted that a local art gallery had "smut in the window". The smut in question turned out to be a tasteful nude portrait of herself in younger days. She'd been lovers with the now-dead artist, and the picture was a private endearment, never meant for exhibition. (episode "Quo Vadis")
* {{Joisey}}: An AcceptableTarget, along with Detroit, Cleveland, and Wyoming.
* JuryAndWitnessTampering: A man about to testify in a mob investigation is ProperlyParanoid when some poisoned sandwiches are delivered to the squad-room. He refuses to eat, but BigEater Wojo is taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. Making the best of a bad situation, Barney has Harris check Wojo into the hospital under the witness's name, and Harris leaks to the press that he died. When Wojo is reported to be okay, Yemana opines: "He could eat a desk."
* LandslideElection: In "The Election", Inspector Luger is a strong proponent of a good friend of his who is running for office, even though the only thing that anybody else can remember about the candidate is that he was accused of being involved with bribery and corruption in the sanitation department (the Inspector's awkward attempts to defend the candidate on the grounds that "[[ImplausibleDeniability they couldn't prove any of that]]" only seem to confirm the truth of the accusations). Not surprisingly, the candidate loses by a margin of more than 5 to 1.
* LargeHam: The district attorney, complete with IncomingHam, pacing around the squadroom ranting about the sympathetic suspects who happen to be in. "You're ''killing'' me, Miller!"
* LastNameBasis: While Barney and the other detectives are on familiar terms with each other, Barney and Dietrich address each other as "Captain" and "Dietrich". In the two-parter "Eviction" they try out "Barney" and "Arthur" but Dietrich decides he doesn't want to get too familiar.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In the final season, the squad start to feel how repetitive the police work is and wonder if it's time to move on. The reason Danny Arnold ended the show was because he felt they'd hit the point where they were repeating themselves.
* LethalChef:
** Yemana, at least when it comes to making coffee.
** Also Yemana when cooking ''shabu shabu'' in the squad room, in episode "Fire '77". After Wojo says it smells like garbage, Yemana indignantly lists the ingredients--fish heads, cabbage leaves, cucumber rinds-- then says "Come to think of it, that is garbage!" At the end, after Barney tastes the ''shabu shabu'' and likes it, Yemana realizes he cooked it wrong.
* LikeFatherLikeSon: In "Kidnapping," the kidnappers demand that Siegel's start giving away free merchandise, which the young Ms. Siegel protests vehemently because [[SkewedPriorities it's bad business]]. When Mr. Siegel is recovered through a ransom and learns how much it was, he yells at them for not haggling and starts listing the health problems they could have used to knock down his price.
* LittlePeopleAreSurreal: Lots of gags in "Sex Surrogate" after Harris investigates a report of a child burglar and finds out that it's not a child, it's an elderly little person (played by Billy Barty).
* {{Lobotomy}}: "The Desk" featured a former criminal who who was rendered mentally incompetent by his amygdalectomy. Arnold Ripner [[EvenEvilHasStandards threatens to sue the surgeon free of charge]] should he try it again.
* {{Lockdown}}: In "Quarantine", the 12th precinct is locked down and everyone is stuck there after they find out a guy Wojo arrested might have contracted [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece smallpox]] in Africa.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: "Wojo's Problem" deals with this. Wojo blames it on the tidal wave of women wanting to sleep with him.
* LotteryTicket: Two cases involved winning lottery tickets...in one a man who had the winning numbers attacks a store owner who forgot to register it before the drawing [[note]] this was before computers automatically did so [[/note]] ; and a man who started throwing his winnings out a window to the people below on the street after being drivin crazy with guilt from people asking for financial help.
* LongLostUncleAesop: Deliberately averted. According to their DVDCommentary, the writers made a rule that except for previously-established characters like Barney's wife, all the guest characters had to be people the cops were meeting for the first time.
* LooksLikeJesus: The owner of an Indian restaurant and Hindu temple in Season 3 episode "Abduction".
--> '''Bookie:''' [in a whisper to Fish] I'll give you seventy-five to one it ain't!
* MaritalRapeLicense: The plot of fourth-season episode "Rape", which almost certainly is the most dated of all ''Barney Miller'' episodes. A woman comes into the 12th Precinct and accuses her husband of raping her. This is the cause of much confusion and consternation in the squad room. Once the assistant DA and the husband's defense lawyer arrive, there is a long debate about things like "English common law" and "basic biological laws" giving a man the right to violate his wife, versus the wife's privacy and dignity. The debate is ended when the wife agrees to drop charges after the husband promises to be nicer to her and more affectionate. It might seem bizarre to a 21st-century viewer, but in TheSeventies there was much debate over whether marital rape was a thing. [[http://law.jrank.org/pages/24501/Oregon-v-Rideout-Significance.html 47 states]] actually had the MaritalRapeLicense written into law. The highly publicized ''Oregon v. Rideout'' case, in which John Rideout was acquitted of raping his wife Greta, happened in 1978, the year after this episode aired.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane:
** Although Mr. Kopechne's 'lycanthropy' is not taken seriously, his return as a victim of demonic possession is far more disturbing. There are several other incidents where you can't be ''totally'' sure the people aren't crazy. (And most are played by Kenneth Tigar.)
** The man who claims to be Jesus (also played by Tigar) returned gains the friendship (and discipleship) of a suspect named Paul with a "miracle" akin to changing water to wine: a bag of drugs turning out to be a BeatBag, freeing him of charges. Paul had asked him for a miracle "like when you made all those sandwiches."
** A man (Tigar again) plagued by a poltergeist named Julius, concurrent with a lot of small accidents and an attack of clumsiness.
** A [[Characters/DoctorWhoClassicSeriesDoctors time-traveler in a long striped scarf]], who identifies himself as such because he's sure nobody will believe him, convinces Harris to invest in zinc, apparently recognizes ''the'' Arthur Dietrich, and vanishes after leaving.
** A "clairvoyant" who attacks a man for a purse-snatching he hasn't committed, but it just so happens he picked a repeat offender... and he perceives the cloud of "resentment" that results from Luger turning up, subsequently broadcasting Barney's frustrations.
** A rainmaker hired by New York City's department of water during a drought appears to be successful after being arrested for lighting a ceremonial fire in Central Park. (He insists he was doing it scientifically by stuffing the raw chicken with cloud-seeding chemicals.)
** A man who claims to be "a combustible" (as in, spontaneous) insists that he is overheating in the cell and needs ice just before the wastebasket across the room catches fire. Barney's response? "Get him some ice."
** A man who believes he is plagued by a succubus falls asleep in the cell, where he dreams very loudly and... vividly.
** An ''obeah'' woman at one point seemed to prevent Harris from opening the cell door by looking at it. Toward the end of the episode, she presented Barney (who at the time was reconciling with his semi-estranged wife) with a talisman.
--->'''Obeah''': Just wave this talisman three times over your bed, and souls that were separated will soon be reunited.\\
''(Barney gives Wojo a DeathGlare)''\\
'''Wojo''': I didn't say anything, Barn!
* MeaningfulName: The aging inspector who looks back fondly on the life-threatening shootouts of the old days, waxes nostalgic about his old comrades getting shot down in their prime, and doesn't understand the modern force's need for things like proper procedures, suspects' rights, and paperwork is named "Luger".
* MidseasonReplacement: Season 1 premired January 23, 1975, and ran only 13 episodes.
* MinionWithAnFInEvil: A mobster trying to flee into the East River turns back to save Wojo from drowning. He complains bitterly to the squad that he just "can't help himself" from doing things like [[WhiteSheep volunteering as a Big Brother and working at a crisis hotline]].
* MistakenForGay: In "Stakeout", Barney and Fish are getting an apartment in order to stakeout a drug operation across the street. The landlord thinks they're a couple.
* MistakenForProstitute:
** The man who hits on Fish while he's on mugging detail offers "her" money. ("Group Home")
** Levitt assumes that Rachel, Barney's college-age daughter, is a prostitute when she visits the precinct. Barney, of course, is outraged at the assumption. (Rachel isn't wearing anything unusual, either.)
* MixAndMatch: PoliceProcedural + WorkCom (all other police procedurals were dramas before this.)
* MushroomSamba: In "Hash", one of the most famous episodes, Wojo's girlfriend-of-the-week gave him a box of homemade brownies laced with hashish. Everyone but Barney (who's watching his weight) become affected by them in different ways - Yemana thinking his legs had walked off, Harris getting giggly, and Fish jumping across a roof to chase down a suspect a third his age.
-->'''Fish''': The first time in twenty-five years I've felt really good... and it has to be illegal!
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone:
** Cotterman and a jeweler are horrified to realize that one of them--they don't know which--shot and killed a burglar. ("Good-Bye, Mr. Fish: Part 1")
** In "Possession," the police chaplain loses his temper at the "possessed" Kopechne's insults and tries to attack him. When he calms down, he's so ashamed of himself that he says he can't call himself a priest.
* NaziGrandpa:
** PlayedForLaughs in "Atomic Bomb." An elderly, German-accented FBI bomb agent is a little ''too'' enthusiastic about a physics student's mockup A-bomb.
--->'''Agent:''' [wistfully] Can you imagine how things would be if we had developed this first?\\
'''Student:''' We ''did''.\\
'''Agent:''' [remembering himself] Oh sure, sure. Now we did. But before... we didn't.
** PlayedForDrama with the seemingly-funny and whimsical Mr. Zelinka of the prank shop. The squad assumes that he's the victim of antisemitism when his shop is vandalized with swastikas until they arrest Mr. Baru, the SoleSurvivor of Zelinka's UsefulNotes/{{Romani}} "work detail" in the concentration camp Birkenau.
* NewYearHasCome: Season 2's "Happy New Year" takes place on New Year's Eve. See TalkingDownTheSuicidal below.
* NoExceptYes: In "The Harris Incident," Barney tries to explain to Wojo that Harris' race gives him a particular set of problems to deal with, after being shot at by fellow cops has (understandably) made Harris angry at the world in general--although here it's not a matter of InsistentTerminology, but Barney grappling with words.[[note]]What he was trying to say is that it's wrong to judge someone by race, but they should be aware of the fact that Harris still has to face racism.[[/note]]
--> '''Wojo:''' I thought those differences weren't important anymore!\\
'''Barney:''' They're not! ''[{{beat}}]'' But they are.\\
'''Wojo:''' [[SarcasmMode Thanks for clearing that up]].
* NonSequiturDistraction: A riot breaks out in front of the precinct station. Barney gives an impassioned speech to a representative, saying among other things "Maybe we are all going to hell in a handbasket." When things quiet down, Dietrich says to Barney "Hell in a handbasket?"
* NoodleIncident:
** One one episode, a man is brought into the station for writing on the walls of a women's restroom, where he left his phone number and an offer to engage in an unspeakably disgusting sex act. The act itself is never named out loud, but characters read a transcription of the message and crack jokes about it throughout.
** The same thing sort of happens with the graffiti in the station house hallway, back by the bathroom. All you can see is CAPTAIN MILLER IS A DIRTY M, but it obviously goes on to elaborate, and we get to see the reactions of everyone who reads it. (Barney's is: "Heh... marvelous.")
* ObstructiveBureaucrat:
** Scanlon of Internal Affairs. He takes malicious glee in targeting Barney's squad, frustrated by the fact that they are thoroughly not corrupt.
** Numerous bit characters appeared from governmental departments who either didn't do much to help, weren't sure what their job was, or were an active hindrance. One example was the man from Immigration who was ''supposed'' to have been in the Department of Agriculture. ("Asylum")
* OddCouple: At one point during a season long arc in which Harris tries to desperately find a new place to live, he reluctantly accepts Dietrich's invitation to stay at his place. Interestingly Ron Glass would go on to play half of the most famous Odd Couple directly after ''Barney Miller''' went off the air in 1982's ''[[Theatre/TheOddCouple The New Odd Couple]]''.
* OfficeRomance: Between Wojo and Wentworth before Linda Lavin left the show.
* OnePhoneCall: Played straight many, many times, when suspects brought into the 12th get their one phone call.
* OrphanageOfFear: Children's Center, according to young Jilly Pappalardo and her friend Victor Kreutzer in "Evacuation".
--> '''Jilly''' I hate it, I don't want to live there, you get pushed around and the food stinks!
--> '''Fish''' If I can take it, you can take it.
* PayingForTheActionScene: One or more of the perpetrators of the week have had a fight in an establishment which is pressing charges, then are informed that the establishment will drop the charges if they'll pay for damages.
* {{Pilot}}: "The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller". After ABC rejected the pilot, it was burned off as an installment of an ABC summer anthology series called ''Just for Laughs'' (this was a common network practice for failed pilots back in TheSeventies). However, favorable reaction to the pilot and interest by an ABC director named John Rich led the network to revive the show.
* PoliceProcedural: With a heavy emphasis on the paperwork.
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot:
** Season 2 episode "Fish" (Dec. 4, 1975), besides being the first appearance of Steve Landesberg as Dietrich, also takes place mostly at Fish's house and introduces his daughter Beverly. It was in fact a back-door pilot for a Fish spinoff series. ''Fish'' the series didn't debut until 1977, and when it did, it was with [[TheOtherDarrin a different actress]] as Bernice, and the character of Beverly was [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome never seen or mentioned]].
** "Wojo's Girl" part 2 (which originally aired together with part 1 as a one-hour episode) takes place entirely in Wojo's apartment, and the only characters who appear in the episode are Wojo and his new girlfriend Nancy. This was a backdoor pilot for a proposed spinoff series called "Off Duty" which would follow the detectives' lives away from work. Nothing further came of it.
* PrematureEncapsulation: "The Desk" is the title of an episode involving a lobotomized criminal and an Amish mugging victim; the following episode, "The Judge", has the subplot revolving around removing Nick Yemana's old desk from the squadroom.
* TheProblemWithPenIsland: The broad white, all capital, rounded-corners UsefulNotes/{{font|s}} of the show's credits wasn't exactly complimentary to series co-creator Theodore J. Flicker.
* {{Profiling}}: In "The Harris Incident" two white cops come upon Detective Harris with his gun trained on a suspect. The cops shoot at Harris.
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: Ron Glass and Jack Soo in the second season; Ron Carey and Steve Landesberg in the fourth. James Gregory also got a promotion in season four, complete with an AndStarring credit, but it didn't take, and he was back to guest star billing the following season (though he remained a regular throughout the show's run).
* PulledFromYourDayOff: In Season 3 finale "Strike" the detectives walk off the job as a part of a citywide police protest, but a call comes in and Barney is suddenly overworked because it's just him, Inspector Luger and Officer Levitt holding down the fort. So Wojo goes out on the call, telling the other guys he'd just do this one. After getting back now Wojo has to process the perpetrator. Another call comes in about a grocery store holdup in progress. They all decide they all need some groceries right now, and if they "happen" across any crime they can make a citizen's arrest.
* PutOnABus: Fish at the beginning of Season 4, although he would [[TheBusCameBack return as a guest]] in a couple later episodes.
* RealityHasNoSubtitles:
** In "Hunger Strike" they bring in a woman who everyone thinks is crazy (she escaped from a mental asylum where she's been held ever since she first arrived in the country 20ish years previously) and speaking her own made-up language. It turns out she is perfectly sane; she's just speaking a rare Macedonian dialect. Dietrich tracks down someone who speaks Macedonian to communicate with her. None of the Macedonian is subtitled.
** A young German woman is in the precinct and nobody can understand her until Dietrich shows up. ("The Baby Broker")
** Chano's frequent lapses into Spanish when annoyed or upset aren't subtitled.
** Wojo has conversations in Polish with several characters over the course of the series; though he occasionally translates parts of them into English for Barney (and the audience)'s benefit, others are not subtitled.
* RecurringCharacter: Lt. Scanlon from Internal Affairs, Officer Zatelli, gay couple Marty and Darryl, Arnold Ripner, Bruno Binder, Ray Brewer, Arthur Duncan, Mr. Cotterman...
* ReportsOfMyDeathWereGreatlyExaggerated:
** In "Discovery", Fish's paycheck hasn't arrived. It's because the NYPD thinks he's dead.
** A man whose obituary is mistakenly run in the paper is arrested when he hits the editor for refusing to correct it.
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: Dietrich turns up in a ''Fish'' episode.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: Most of the cases were loosely based on RealLife stories.
** The characters would frequently cite the actual articles or court cases that inspired the episode.
** In "The Layoff" (1975), Barney has to lay off Chano, Harris, and Wojo because New York City is broke and can't pay its bills. In RealLife NYC was in [[http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/28/nyregion/28veto.html?_r=0 desperate financial straits]] at the time.
** In "Protection" the detectives listen to the actual speech by President Ford (The one that inspired the famous Daily News headline 'Ford to City: Drop Dead'), and celebrate when he says that even though he intends to veto any measure to bail out NYC, he intends to keep funds going to essential services such as Fire and Police.
** In "Hunger Strike", a Macedonian lady has been institutionalized for twenty years as a schizophrenic speaking meaningless gibberish because no one understands her language. This is based on the story of [[http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-david-tom-mental-illness-illinois-edit-0830-jm-20140829-story.html David Tom]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYSy-QT_RE0 A film of his story is in the works.]]
* RoofHopping: The hash brownies consumed in "Hash" allow Fish to jump a 12-foot gap between buildings to run down a burglary suspect.
* RuleThirtyFour: In the episode "The Indian", the detectives catch a shoe fetishist. Wojo says "You can point to any object in the Sears catalog, and there's someone out there who wants to sleep with it."
* SeriesContinuityError: In Season 2 episode "Rain" (Nov. 27, 1975), the leaky roof of the 12th Precinct is blamed on the building being "forty years old", and a maintenance man says the building was built in 1932. In series finale "Landmark" the 12th Precinct is sold to developers when it is discovered to be a historical landmark--UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt had an office there during his time as New York City Police Commissioner (1895-97).
* ShaggyDogStory: In "The Inventor," the squad calls in a hypnotist so Wojo will remember the name a thief shouted to his partner during their escape; all Wojo can remember is "Hey--!" What was it? "Behind you!"
* ShapedLikeItself: "Mr. Thompson's device is still being examined and tested by our trained examiners and testers."
* ShutIn: In "The Recluse" the 12th arrests a man who ignored a summons to jury duty. It turns out that the man hasn't left his apartment in thirty years. Being outside in New York City promptly [[DownerEnding kills him]].
* SomebodyElsesProblem: In "Noninvolvement", Wojo arrests a man who could have intervened in a purse-snatching but didn't, causing another headache for Barney.
* SpicyLatina: Detective Battista, one of the several attempts to add another detective to the squad. Appeared twice in Season 3.
** Miss Elezondo in "Eviction" is another one as is Teresa Tasco in "Strip Joint" and Miss Del Fuego in "The Courtesans" -- all played by [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry Rosanna [=DeSoto=].]]
* SpinOff: ''Fish''. Lasted two seasons.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Series/NightCourt'', created by former ''Barney Miller'' writer Reinhold Weege.
* SplitPersonality: The guy arrested for assault in "Power Failure" says he didn't commit the assault, his split personality did. The split personality later emerges, cheerfully admits the deed, and demands to be let go. Later on a third, unknown and very polite personality comes out.
* SpringtimeForHitler: In "The Inventor", Harris needs places to put all the profits from ''Blood on the Badge'', and he offers to bankroll an inventor's forever life battery. The inventor sees through this, correctly noting that Harris is looking for the battery to fail so he can claim a write off. The inventor says, "I'll take your money, Sargent, and my battery will be such a success, I'll push you into the 7% tax bracket!"
* SpotlightStealingSquad: The show was originally intended to focus on Barney's home life as well as the activities of the precinct, but the writers soon came to realize that the latter were funnier and more interesting than the former, so Barney's wife and kids were shifted OutOfFocus and then moved offscreen entirely by season 2 (see TheGhost, above).
* StockSitcomGrandFinale
* StopBeingStereotypical:
** Harris is very irritated at a Jamaican doctor who claims to be under a curse from a voodoo priestess.
** Marty's partner, Mr. Driscoll, exasperatedly asks him to "stop reinforcing the stereotype" on one visit to the squadroom.
* StudioAudience: Used for the first three seasons, before being discarded in favor of a (very sparsely employed) LaughTrack.
** At times during the three part final episode, the chuckles of the crew can be heard faintly in the background.
* StupidCrooks: ''Dozens'', and way too many to list. Among those that stand out: A flasher who is arrested in the middle of December when it's below zero (he later cleans up his act and becomes a councilor in a later season), a man in a wheelchair who shoplifts ''and'' tries to flee the station (twice), and a convict who is given unsupervised prison furloughs for work release, but uses them to commit armed robberies.
* TakingTheBullet: In "Hair", Det. Gardeno, a temporary transfer to the 12th Precinct, takes a bullet for Chano. Subverted when a shamefaced Gardeno admits to Barney that it was an accident; he knocked down Chano not to take the bullet for him, but because he was turning to run away.
* TalkingDownTheSuicidal: A semi-regular occurence; the squad will get a call about a jumper and then return with the would-be suicide. In "Happy New Year" Fish goes out to talk someone down while a woman is having a baby at the precinct. He fails, and the jumper jumps. After the woman delivers Fish shows up and is told about the delivery.
--> '''Fish''': You win some, you lose some.
* TensionCuttingLaughter: It's the audience rather than the characters, but the joke is still a tension-breaker. After the sobering account of the Birkenau concentration camp in which Mr. Baru was the only survivor from thousands of Roma, and the inability to jail Zelinka, the ex-Nazi, Baru has to make one confession to the squad:
--> "I have over ''three hundred'' parking tickets."
* ThanksgivingEpisode: "Thanksgiving Story", in which a man is brought into the precinct for stabbing his brother-in-law with a fork over Thanksgiving dinner.
* ThisIsReality: One criminal copycats heists from shows and TV movies. They catch him after he fails to pull off a subway heist. "Copycat"
* {{Tontine}}: A season 8 episode revolves around one of these. The remaining two shareholders, a pair of amicable elderly men, tried playing cards to determine who would "bow out," as it were.
* TurnInYourBadge: Barney has to do this in "Eviction (Part 1)". As is typical of this low-key cop show, it's because Barney was trying to avoid an ugly confrontation. He is relieved of duty after dragging his feet about enforcing a court order to eject some renters from their soon-to-be-demolished apartment building.
* {{Uncanceled}}: The pilot was originally not picked up, and just "burned off" in the summer. However the ratings of that one showing revived interest in the concept, and more episodes were ordered the next season.
* {{Uncoffee}}: Wojo tries to come up with a coffee substitute during a drought and uses Dietrich's idea of hot Dr. Pepper.
* TheUnpronounceable: Various people with foreign names, such as a Polish drama critic named Zbigniew Psczola. "You spell it like it sounds, pay ess chay zay oh ell ah." This was a running gag with Wojciehowicz.
* UnusualEuphemism: Harris' many creative names for the mental ward of Bellevue Hospital.
-->'''Dietrich:''' My favorite was "the Disoriented Express."
* VitriolicBestBuds: Harris and Dietrich again. They're even roomies at several points.
* WaitingForABreak: Dietrich isn't really waiting for one, but according to a character who claims to be a time traveler from the future (and who for the most part doesn't show any other obvious signs of being crazy, so that the detectives all wind up halfway believing him), he eventually gets one anyway. The character's reaction to learning who Dietrich is strongly implies he's a household name in the future.
--> '''Dietrich''' (as everyone else stares at him following this revelation): I couldn't have done it without you guys.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Bruno Binder, a neighborhood vigilante who turns up in several episodes.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: Ray Brewer relates an incident of this to Barney while explaining what prompted his joining the Salvation Army. He found an unlocked door, which turned out to be the service door of a liquor store that had closed for the night, and woke up driving a subway train.
* WillTalkForAPrice: The squad keeps a supply of petty cash on hand to pay off informants.
* WorkCom: With a little DomCom thrown in the first season.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: {{in-universe}} Gets Det. Harris in trouble when his thinly veiled portrait of sleazy attorney Arnold Ripner in his novel isn't veiled enough.
* YouLookFamiliar:
** Steve Landesberg appeared as accused fake priest "Father" Paul in the Series 2 episode "Doomsday" before being cast as Dietrich later in the season.
** Ron Carey played bank robber Angelo "the Mole" Molinari in the Series 2 episode "The Mole", and began appearing as Officer Levitt starting in Series 3.
** Before being cast as recurring character Lt. Scanlon, George Murdock appeared as an Air Force master sergeant reporting a bomb threat to an Air Force base in the Series 3 episode "Group Home".
** The show made frequent use of the same actors, so a mugging victim in one episode might reappear as an armed robbery suspect the next season.
** Recurring character Bruno Binder has a wife whom he beats. The same actress who played his wife shows up as a new detective sent to replace Chano (the request had been sent two years preveiously), while Binder is in the squadroom looking at mugshots to identify the man who robbed his store. They don't recognize each other.
** Character actor Kenneth Tigar appeared in six episodes, playing five different characters. Actor Arny Freeman did five characters in six episodes as well.
* YourTelevisionHatesYou: PlayedForDrama in the first-season episode "The Hero", where Chano has to shoot (and kill) two bank robbers who took hostages. He goes home and turns on the radio to find that every station is leading with that story. Even the [[BilingualBonus Spanish-language station]].
----