Season 6, Episode 22
First aired May 8, 1980
Directed by Noam Pitlik
Story by Mark Brull, Teleplay by Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein, Tony Sheehan
Captain Miller: "A helluva night for brooding."
Fog envelopes NYC and completely oppresses the 12th Precinct, the site of the award-winning ensemble comedy series Barney Miller, 1975-1982.
Captain Barney Miller (Hal Linden) is in a contemplative mood as he has, for the third time, been passed over for a promotion to Detective Inspector. The squad is concerned as Barney sits alone in the dark ruminating on life and careers and choices.
Officer Carl Levitt (Ron Carey) brings in the first arrest of the evening. Edward Jennings (Bill Dillard) is a trumpet player who had a run-in with a Julliard string quartet who was playing at his corner on Washington Square. The second violin is pressing charges and Jennings has no access to bail.
Dietrich and Harris bring in Victor Carse (Sydney Lassick), who has indelicately used a sledgehammer on the satellite dish atop the telephone company offices. The phone company executive Howard Kimbro (Robert Levine) has a tick and a problem with the persistent Mr. Carse. Carse's warning of the dangers of the microwaves used by the phone company falls on deaf or at least pragmatic ears due to his unhinged rants.
Concern regarding the dark place to which Barney has literally and metaphorically retreated leads to an impromptu therapy session. Each sergeant finds they have a reason to take responsibility for "downtown" skipping their Captain for promotion. Harris's book, Wojo's acting without thinking, and Dietrich getting arrested. For Barney, it is the time that has passed.
Barney Miller: "You know, the first years were really the best. I mean, we really thought we would make a difference. We were out there every day, busting our tails, me, Baxter, Crusen. My God, I'm starting to sound like Luger." (James Gregory).
Harris: "Don't worry. We caught it early."
Wojo and Harris's last collar of the evening is Fred W. Bauer (J.J. Barry). Bauer's goal was to rob a jewellery store on Houston, but the confusing fog sent him into a Christian Science Reading Room, tripping their alarm. Bauer sees great humour in how he ended up at the 12th, but he's dealing with a tough crowd. His off-the-cuff lines which would normally fit in with the staff's sense of humor are falling flat because of the spirit of the evening.
Levitt gives Mr. Jennings his trumpet and from the cage, he serenades the 12th Precinct with a melancholy version of I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke/Ira Gershwin).
Fred Bauer: "What year is this?"
Bonus: Bunny Berigan's 1937 recording of I Can't Get Started