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Recap / Barney Miller S 2 E 09

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Episode: Season 2, Episode 9
Title: You Dirty Rat
Directed by: Noam Pitlik
Written by: Arne Sultan (story) Arne Sultan, Danny Arnold, and Chris Hayward (teleplay)
Air Date: November 13, 1975
Previous: Discovery
Next: The Horse Thief
Guest Starring: Ned Glass, J. Pat O'Malley, Franklin Ajaye, Val Bisoglio

"You Dirty Rat" was the ninth episode of the second season of Barney Miller.

Three different criminal storylines are intertwined. One involves a Mr. Holliman, a genial old bum who is charged with breaking and entering into Siegel's department store. Mr. Holliman claims that he merely fell asleep in the department store during operating hours and found himself locked in when he woke up. A second story has Wojo dealing with one Wendell Frazier (Franklin Ajaye), who is charged with grand theft auto for stealing a police car. In the third story, Chano, Yemana, and Fish come back with 20 kilos of marijuana from a bust...or do they? Everyone is unpleasantly surprised when a check on the box of marijuana shows only 18 kilos.

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Meanwhile, the precinct is dealing with an infestation of rats (one bites Wojo), and Fish has a kidney stone.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Del Vecchio from Narcotics calls Wojo "Wanowski", much to Wojo's irritation.
  • The Black Death: Discussed. After he's bitten by a rat, Wojo starts stressing out over possibly getting rabies. Becker the exterminator says that no one in New York has gotten rat rabies in years and years, but bubonic plague is a possibility!
  • By-the-Book Cop: The Narcotics guy, Del Vecchio, assumes that the cops of the 12th stole the two kilos of grass, but makes it clear that he doesn't care. Barney, a very by-the-book cop, is highly agitated by this.
    Barney: We do everything by the book! According to regulations! Aboveboard!
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The (unseen) rat that bit Wojo is also the reason why two bags of marijuana are missing. Becker finds the giant rat, with the two kilos of grass, in the basement.
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  • Continuity Nod: The second reference to Siegel's department store, previously mentioned in Season 1's "Snow Job" when the 12th Precinct was temporarily guarding Siegel's cash intake.
  • Eccentric Exterminator: Becker of Becker and Son, the elderly exterminator who comes in to take care of the rat problem. He explains that he's the "Son", he claims that he can hear rats running through the walls, and he tells Wojo that Wojo might have bubonic plague.
  • The Informant: Parodied. Frazier comes back and demands some money in exchange for sensitive information. After Barney gives him $5, Frazier reports "Fish passed his stone."
  • Refuge in Audacity: Barney is startled to learn that Wendell Frazier stole a police car.
  • Running Gag: Another instance of the Running Gag where Det. Wojciehowicz is irritated at someone mispronouncing his Polish name and saying "It's spelled just like it sounds!" He even holds up the name plate on his desk.
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  • Shout-Out: The episode title is a Shout-Out to James Cagney and the catchphrase commonly associated with Cagney, "You dirty rat!". note 
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