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Recap / Barney Miller S 1 E 08

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Episode: Season 1, Episode 8
Title: Ms. Cop
Directed by: Noam Pitlik
Written by: Chris Hayward and Danny Arnold
Air Date: March 13, 1975
Previous: Bureaucrat
Next: The Vigilante
Guest Starring: Linda Lavin, Howard Platt

"Ms. Cop" is the eighth episode of the first season of Barney Miller.

Janice Wentworth (Linda Lavin) is a detective newly assigned to the 12th Precinct. Capt. Miller, who is usually an enlightened, forward-thinking type, clearly isn't comfortable with a woman detective. He keeps finding excuses to send out other detectives on cases while keeping Wentworth in the squad room to do paperwork, much to Wentworth's fury. Finally, Wentworth insists on coming along with Fish when the 12th gets a tip about a sighting of an armed robber.

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Meanwhile, Chano nabs the obscene phone caller that the 12th has been looking for, a fellow named Hackman. And Liz Miller drops by the station to see Barney after going to a chat group for policemen's wives.

First of five guest appearances by Linda Lavin as Wentworth; she probably would have become a regular if she hadn't been hired to star on Alice (1976).


Tropes:

  • Brick Joke: 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!"
  • Call-Back: Barney put his foot in his mouth early in the episode by saying "Everyone thinks you're a lovely cop" when Wentworth was calling him sexist. He says "you're a lovely cop" again at the end, as a token of his esteem after Wentworth has proved herself by apprehending a fugitive armed robber.
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  • Continuity Nod: Chano catches the obscene phone caller who was previously mentioned in "Graft"
  • Harassing Phone Call: Chano arrest a pervert who's been placing harassing phone calls to women in the area.
  • Newhart Phone Call: A frequent gag throughout the series. In this episode Chano is taking a report about the obscene phone calls from a Miss Busch, who clearly is more interested in chatting up Chano than she is about reporting the crime.
  • Oddball in the Series: This is the only episode of the entire series where Max Gail does not appear (Wojo is said to be assigned to Narcotics, along with Harris, who also doesn't appear.)
  • Oh, Crap!: Wentworth is calling out Barney on his refusal to send her out on cases. Barney, lamely denying the obvious truth as he leave on an armed robbery call, says "Everyone thinks you're a lovely cop." Then his face blanches with panic as he realizes what he said.
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  • One Phone Call: Hackman the obscene phone caller is allowed his One Phone Call. He uses it to place an obscene phone call to Wentworth, two desks away.
  • Russian Reversal: Yemana tells a joke. Why was the Japanese thermometer factory forced to close? "They found some swordfish in the mercury."
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