Hal Linden tries to distinguish his TV role from his real self for Pops

Detective Dietrich on Barney Miller releasing a prisoner who confuses Newton Minnow with Kermit the Frog.

Barney Miller was a long-running sitcom set in a New York City police station, focusing on the detective squad and their patient captain, Barney Miller (played by Hal Linden). The 12th Precinct played host to a parade of eccentric criminals, victims, officers, and average citizenry driven to the brink by life's petty frustrations. The series aired on ABC from 1975 through 1982 and spawned a spin-off, Fish (starring Abe Vigoda as broken-down Detective Fish). The character of Barney Miller was named number 58 in Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters.


  • When Hal Linden guest starred on The Muppet Show episode 517, Pops asks him if he's a cop. Linden clarifies that he merely plays a cop on TV, Barney Miller. Pops says that as soon as he said the name, it hit him like a ton of bricks. "What name?" "Barney Miller!" (cue ton of bricks landing on Pops).

Muppet Mentions

  • In the episode "Vandal" (1979), the detectives arrest Mr. Adelson, a man who attacked a TV programming executive. The man insists that TV will always be trash. Detective Dietrich quotes Newton Minnow, famous for referring to television as a "vast wasteland." Adelson's confused response: "He one of those little puppets on Sesame Street?" Dietrich, deadpan, replies that yeah, he's the green one.


In addition to Hal Linden, other Barney Miller actors and crew worked on Muppet/Henson productions.

  • Luis Avalos played Antonio Mione in "Chase" (1977) and Jorge Sanchez in "Bones" (1982)
  • Bruce Bilson directed several episodes of the series.
  • Roscoe Lee Browne played Charlie Jeffers in "Escape Artist" (1975)
  • Mark Brull wrote the story for "Fog" (1980)
  • Rosalind Cash played Carolyn Slade in "Dog Days" (1978)
  • James Cromwell played Sgt. Wilkinson in "Group Home" (1977), Neil Spencer in "Strip Joint" (1979), Jason Parrish in "Liquidation," and Dr. Edmund Danworth in "Stress Analyzer" (both 1981)
  • Jack Dodson played Mr. Franklin in "Horse Thief" (1975), Mr. Vogel in "Guns" (1980) and Henry St. Martin in the two-part "Homicide" (1980)
  • Jack Elliott composed the theme song
  • Charles Fleischer played a junkie in "Hair" (1975)
  • Panchito Gómez played Gilbert Pedroso in "Bones" (1982)
  • Bruce Kirby played Lt. Rossmore in "Eviction, Part Two" (1978), Claymore in "The Search" (1978), and Frank Rossman in "Vacation" (1979)
  • Steve Landesberg played Detective Arthur Dietrich (1976-1982) and Father Paul in "Doomsday" (1975)
  • Stan Lathan directed "The Kid" (1976)
  • Linda Lavin played Detective Janice Wentworth (1975-1976)
  • Christopher Lloyd played Arnold Scully in "The Vandal" and Vincent Carew in "Open House" (both 1979)
  • Jenny O'Hara played Teresa Schnabel in "The Search" (1978) and Sgt. Holly Scofield in "The Dentist" (1979)
  • Stuart Pankin played Anthony Morola in "The Radical" (1978) and Alex Fleischer in "Uniform Day" (1981)
  • Charlotte Rae played Mrs. Sobel in "The Sniper" (1976)
  • Doris Roberts played Louise Kaufmann in "Sex Surrogate" (1977) and Harriet Brower in "The Sighting" (1978), "Wojo's Girl" (1979), and "Agent Orange" (1980)
  • Jerry Ross wrote the episodes "Hair" (1975), "Bus Stop" (1976) and "Sex Surrogate" (1977)
  • Richard Schaal played Mr. Dunnagan in the Fish episode "Fish's Job" (1975)
  • Marilyn Sokol played Dr. Lorraine Dooley in "Sex Surrogate" (1977)
  • Florence Stanley played Bernice Fish (1975-1977) and in the spin-off Fish
  • Jeffrey Tambor played William Klein in "Field Associate" (1981)

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