- This classic moment of Nick taking a call from a man whose car was stolen.Nick: What kind of car, Mr. Ravelli? "Studebaker". Could you describe the car, please? "Black fenders", "silver doors", "green hood", "polka dot seat covers", "monkey fur dashboard". [Beat] Maybe it wasn't stolen. Maybe it ran away. [Beat] Mr. Ravelli? Will you hold a minute? I gotta find a pencil. [uses the pencil as a replacement chopstick for his lunch] Okay go ahead.
[later, after Nick has hung up]
Nick: [looks at his pencil] Oh my god, I ate my eraser.
- After learning she's nabbed "Lenny the Confessor" rather than the actual thief, Wentworth angrily grills him about what he stole (which he naturally can't answer).Wentworth: You know what you are?! You're a—
Wentworth: [opens her purse and screams unintelligibly into it]
- The episode "Horse Thief", where a hansom cab driver named Fuzzo "borrows" a horse from the police stables when his own is stolen. Soon enough mounted officer Shriker comes in, looking to beat the crap out of Fuzzo, but Barney talks him down by telling him to see how well Fuzzo has cared for it. Shriker responds by thoughtfully going "pbbbbbbh" the way a horse does. It's better to watch than to try and write it out.
- The brownies episode. Unbeknownst to Wojo, the brownies his girlfriend has baked are laced with hashish, and he shares them with Fish, Harris, and Yemana. By the middle of the episode, all four are stoned out of their gourds - Yemana keeps breaking into song, Harris is grinning like a loon, and Fish jumps across rooftops to collar a suspect a third of his age and actually stands up to defend Bernice's honour. The next day, Barney, the only one not to sample the brownies, suggests the other detectives forget the whole incident. Luckily for him, they don't need to pretend - they actually have forgotten it.Barney: (handing the box of brownies to Harris) Harris, have these analysed, and fast! (Harris takes a brownie and eats it) NOT THAT WAY!
- In one episode, an army recruiting sergeant visits to report calls he received from someone threatening to blow up his facility. It is implied that he fought in World War II, and can barely contain his prejudice when he sees Lt. Yemana, a Japanese-American cop. Yemana has fun needling him over it;Sergeant Reville: It just isn't right. Why would someone threaten to blow up a U.S. military installation?Yemana: Nostalgia?
- The bombastic District Attorney arguing and berating stage-shy Wojo about his need to be credible in front of the jury:Wojo: I GOTTA GO TO THE CAN! [slams door in the DA's face]
District Attorney: Good! I believe you!
- Fish Trolls a Jerkass landlord who started by saying "hey you, old guy!" and ranting about what a rush he was in to evict an elderly tenant. Fish starts to type out the complaint form really slowly, making the guy fume even more. His riposte is classic:Fish: Sorry, but I'm old.
- The reaction when the owner of a Hindu restaurant walks in, looking less like a Bodhisattva than a certain other religious figure known for his long brown hair and beard and flowing white clothes...Bookie: I'll give you seventy-five to one it ain't!
[later, when Bodhisattva talks to the detectives]
Bodhisattva: I was sent here.
Fish: [apprehensively] ...For anyone in particular?
- This exchange in "The Counterfeiter," after the man who turned in the money learns that he's out $35 for being honest and not fobbing it off on someone else.Harris: "There is no justice, in or out of court." Clarence Darrow.
Dietrich: "Upholding the law is everybody's business." Dick Tracy, Crime Stopper's Textbook.
- A man arguing with the man who did plastic surgery on his wife.Doctor: Are you implying I'm perverted?
Husband: [suggestive look] God knows what you've done to yourself.
- Many of the jokes about Yemana's horrible coffee:Yemana: Coffee?Coffee-drinker: Oh, no, thank you, I can't drink coffee. Do you have any more of this?
- In another episode Yemana reveals that he uses rain-water that leaks down from the roof, on the basis that this process "filters out the impurities". Someone complains that it tastes like a roof.
- A man involved in dog fights is brought in, but his dog, suspected of being rabid, escapes. While the man is in holding, the detectives get a call to go out and leave Yemana behind to watch the office. Then, the dog shows up and growls at him. Yemana gets up slowly and makes his way to the cell while talking down the dog. When he gets to the cell, he unlocks it and opens the door, then jumps inside and locks it.
- Trying to get a witness to admit that he was a witness to a gang-related multiple killing in his restaurant, Harris and Dietrich have to spend weeks shut up in a hotel with him, getting progressively more unkempt and aggravated. Harris yells Screw This, I'm Outta Here! and walks out... but not for long.Dietrich: Dressed like that?
[Harris turns around and comes back in.]
- In "Atomic Bomb", Nick and Wojo bring in a physics graduate student who claims that the project he is building for his master's degree thesis is a functional atomic bomb that simply lacks a power source. Sgt. Kavanaugh, a 22-year veteran of the bomb squad, is convinced it is actually a stereo or ham radio, and starts to convince Barney of this as well. Then Dietrich walks in...Dietrich: Captain, I got a make on Swanson, he's got an office over at... [sees the contraption on the desk] Where the hell'd you get the atomic bomb?
- After Wojo learns he's sterile, he goes completely berserk on the next call. Dietrich reports this by laconically saying "...then the Wojo Express rolls in."
- Barney calls Wojo to his office and reads him the riot act for recklessly endangering himself and a fellow officer. Wojo just wails "I ain't ever gonna have a kid to yell at!"
- In "The Rainmaker," an official from the Water Department is called in to answer for the rainmaker he hired and proceeds to unleash a Hurricane of Puns that he seems completely unaware of."...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... This is coming out of my own pocket. After this, I am tapped out."
- When pressuring Barney to out the gay cop, Scanlon tries to make himself seem less sinister by waxing poetic about how after spending the whole day dealing with women who are thieves, prostitutes, or violent, a "good clean cop" in a nice blue uniform might not seem too bad... and gets rather a longing look on his face.
- A man claiming to be Jesus gives Wojo a statement that takes up twelve pages. Wojo shows it to Barney and calls it "Wojo's Epistle to the Manhattanites."
- A number of Chasidic Jews, protesting the police's sluggish response to a rash of muggings targeting them, start rioting downstairs after Luger offends them while trying to calm the situation. Moments later, a brick crashes through the squadroom window, but the young men who apparently threw it approach the door in a completely casual, almost benign fashion. (Which does not stop them from evidently sacking the room and roughing up Levitt.)
- As "Smog Alert" opens, Det. Battista (making her second and final appearance) transcribes a graffito from the ladies' bathroom in a subway station, calls the number of the perpetrator, and pretends to be the intended object of his proposition in order to arrest him. Barney, Harris, Yemana, and Wojo are thoroughly bewildered by the act described by the graffito, and as Battista leaves to make the arrest, the paper is tossed onto Fish's desk. Fish arrives a moment later, out of breath from the smog; Barney sends Yemana to get him a glass of water ("Anyone see the strainer?" he asks). Then Harris delivers a message...Harris: Oh, um, Fish, Bernice called.
Fish: What did she want?
Harris: Uh, I don't know, Nick took the message. It's probably on your desk.
[Harris leaves as Fish picks up the nearest piece of paper - Battista's graffito transcript. The studio audience roars with laughter as Nick returns, sees what Fish is reading, and starts drinking the glass of water himself; Abe Vigoda and Jack Soo both proceed to give masterful displays of Facial Dialogue]
Fish: [a smirk tugging at his lips] Are you sure this is from Bernice?
Funny / Barney Miller