Trivia / Barney Miller

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Fish, Abe Vigoda's zodiac sign is Pisces whose symbol is the fish.
    • Deputy Inspector Luger is forced to take some vacation time and doesn't know what to do with himself so he asks Yemana if Flower Drum Song is still playing on Broadway. Jack Soo, Yemana's actor, was in the original Broadway run and The Movie.
    • When the squadroom gets a flier for a police department variety show, one of them says "Barney, didn't you sing in college?" and he says no. Hal Linden is a song-and-dance man who's been in many musicals.
  • Advertising Campaigns: ABC ordered the 1982 series The New Odd Couple starring Ron Glass as Felix as a last minute attempt to have a new show during an upcoming writer's strike, remaking scripts from the Tony Randall/Jack Klugman version. As a result, no footage of the new show was available for Fall Preview Specials, so ABC used footage of Glass as Harris suffering from a cold from an episode of Barney Miller to approximate Felix, as well as footage of Demond Wilson from a One Season Wonder show called Baby, I'm Back to approximate Oscar.
  • Board Game: In 1977 Parker Brothers released a card/ board game featuring the gang at the Ol' One Two.
  • The Cast Show Off: Steve Landesberg (Dietrich) occasionally used his talent for doing impressions, most notably in his character's debut appearance when he imitates Gregory Peck after being asked to answer the phone in a "strong, manly voice."
  • The Character Died with Him: On January 11, 1979, midway through the show's run, Jack Soo, who portrayed Yemana, passed away. In response, a special memorial episode was aired in which the actors appeared as themselves, out of character, and recalled their favorite Yemana scenes. The episode ended with entire cast raising their coffee cups in tribute. Although there was never an in-continuity explanation for Yemana's death, the wistful way in which characters referred to him for the rest of the series made it clear that he had died rather than Put on a Bus.
  • The Danza: Ron Glass as Sgt. Ron Harris.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Inverted with Abe Vigoda as Fish. Vigoda was in his early fifties when the series began, but Fish was implied to be well into his sixties; Vigoda was cast in the role because the producer thought he looked tired during his audition (he had been jogging that morning), which fit the world-weary personality they had in mind for Fish. (Specifically, Danny Arnold looked at Vigoda and said "You look like you have hemorrhoids!")
    • Yemana claims in one episode that he will be 46 on his next birthday; however, Jack Soo, who played Yemana, was over 60 when the series premiered.
    • Unwittingly played straight with Steve Landesberg as Dietrich; in his first appearance, Dietrich claims to be 28, and for many years, Landesberg was believed to have been born in 1945, which would have made him 30 years old at the time. However, he was actually born in 1936, making him over a decade older than Dietrich; self-consciousness about starting acting relatively late in life prompted him to lie about his age. (Even at his death in 2010, Landesberg's IMDB page listed his birth year as 1945.)
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Hal Linden directed the fourth season episode "Corporation".
    • Somewhat fittingly Max Gail directed the fourth season episode "Wojo's Problem".
  • Prop Recycling: The familiar boxing poster regularly seen on the hallway wall opposite the squad room's door first appeared in Chano's apartment in the first season's "The Hero".
  • Retroactive Recognition: Officer Renko was the Wojo type character in the Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller pilot.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Abby Dalton played Barney's wife Liz in the pilot, while Barbara Barrie took over the role for the series.
    • Florence Stanley played Bernice Gruber Fish in seasons 1 and 3. In Bernice's only appearance in season 2, she was played by Doris Belack.
  • Science Marches On: In "Bones", a Native American activist says that Earth is the only planet to have liquid water. Thirty-three years later, liquid water was discovered on Mars.
  • Values Dissonance: In "Blizzard" a man is brought in warning that the blizzard is a sign of a coming new ice age (in the 70s proponents of climate change talked more of the world cooling rather than warming). If remade today it seems unlikely he would have been treated as much as a nut as he is here.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • 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 previously), while Binder is in the squad room 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.
    • John Dullaghan appeared as four different suspects before settling into recurring character Ray Brewer.

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