The men of the 12th Precinct are back for another season of big laughs and bad coffee! Fires, blackouts, smog ? elections. The third season gives a wild look at New York City during one of its most dynamic times, the late '70s, an era before the term "politically correct" existed. Join Hal Linden as wise police Captain Barney Miller along with Officers Fish (Abe Vigoda), Wojo (Max Gail), Harris (Ron Glass), Yemana (Jack Soo) and guest stars Dietrich (Steve Landesberg), Officer Levitt (Ron Carey) and Inspector Luger (James Gregory) in this hilarious Emmy®-winning comedy. With a station of wacky misfits and wild New Yorkers, the third season is full of guest stars including Billy Barty (UHF), James Cromwell (TV's "24"), Doris Roberts (TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond"), Brett Somers (TV's "Match Game"), and Michael Tucci (Grease). So funny it's criminal, BARNEY MILLER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON is a must-have for any DVD collection!
The saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same" applies in full to the third season of the Emmy-winning comedy Barney Miller
, which underwent considerable shakeups in its cast and creative ranks in its third season while retaining its sharp writing and performances. Gone from the 12th Precinct at the beginning of Season 3 (1976-1977) are Gregory Sierra’s Chano and Linda Lavin’s Wentworth, and in their place Steve Landesburg as the phlegmatic Dietrich and Ron Carey as over-eager Carl Levitt in their first full season as cast members, and briefly, June Gable as Detective Maria Battista (Abe Vigoda’s Fish would join the ranks of the departed in the following season, and his spin-off series, Fish
, was introduced here). Producer Chris Hayward had also left the show at the end of the previous season, and co-creator Danny Arnold would take his place for the remainder of Barney
’s network run. But in spite of such turnover, the show lost none of its humor and edge during the third season, as witnessed by a pair of exemplary two-part episodes: "Quarantine" forces the detectives to do some soul-searching while under lockdown for a smallpox outbreak, while the season closer, "Strike," tests their loyalties when an unauthorized work shutdown is announced. The blend of laughs and drama present in both episodes are exactly why Barney
earned solid ratings and critical respect during its tenure on TV, and while it remains one of the best-loved series to date. Other standout episodes include the memorable "Werewolf" (a prisoner believes himself to be one); "Sex Surrogate" (Doris Roberts guest stars as a woman who shoots her husband for seeking help with dysfunction); the hilarious "Hash" (Wojo’s gift of brownies turn out to contain marijuana) and "Group Home," which revives the show’s running gag of outfitting a precinct member in drag to handle the mugging detail--this season’s candidate is a marvelously mortified Fish. With such a wealth of terrific material, one wishes that some sort of special feature was included to provide some perspective on the season, but that isn’t the case here. --Paul Gaita