Barney Miller (1975–1982): Season 1, Episode 11 - Escape Artist - full transcript

Barney holds a resourceful escaped prisoner for the FBI. A self-declared "bird-man" drops in. Harris decides to write a novel.

"5:15 a.m.

"The city is asleep.

"The wind has an edge to
it. The cold slaps my face.

I am tired, but I
have a job to do."

What do you think?

I don't know.

It don't sound like one of
your regular arrest reports.

I'm writing a book.

Good morning.

I don't think so.

What's the matter?

I had hot flashes on the subway.

Maybe it's something
you ate for breakfast.

You don't get hot flashes

from prunes.

Hey... Harris is writing a book.

What kind of book?

Fish wants to know
what kind of a book.

A novel.

A novel.

What kind of novel?

He might ask.

No, no, no, no, Wojo,
you don't understand, man.

The whole secret is
oxygen in the blood.

Listen to me. Listen.

Anything that makes your
heart beat very fast, man,

has got to be
good for you. Fine.

All right.

I'm just saying that handball
is as good as your way.

Yeah, but you can't
dance with a handball.

No, but don't got to
listen to it talk either.

I mean, you get a dumb handball,

you can just throw
it in your locker.

Hey, Harris is writing a novel.

Oh yeah? What kind of novel?

Why don't you ask him?

Harris, is that true
you write a novel, man?


Hey, no kidding,
man, that's fantastic.

What kind of novel is it?

It's a police novel...

A week in the life of a
New York City detective

as seen through the eyes of me.

When did you decide
to write a novel?

Last night.

I was lying in
bed, couldn't sleep,

and I said to myself,
"You know, it's true.

"There are eight million stories
out there in this naked city,

and I'm going to
sell one of them."

Good morning, gentlemen.

Hey, Barney.

Anything happening
I should know about?

Harris is writing a book.

A cappella. Pretty good.

I had in mind something
more in the nature of a crime.

The coffee.

I would hesitate

to call our coffee a crime...

A shame, maybe.

Oh, that's a crime.

Good morning.

Hi, Harry.


What do we got in petty cash?

Around 50 bucks.

Check on it.


Good morning, Harry.

What have you got
that we can afford?

I've got something
very hot, Barney...

How much?

Very unique.

How much?

It'll cost you a hundred.

A hundred?

We've never paid
that kind of money

for information before.

I've never had this kind
of information before.

Don't you ever do anything

without thinking of the reward?

Just because you're
a good citizen?


Disgusting, huh?

Really rotten?

Somewhere in there, yeah.

Informing on your fellow citizen

is not a profession I would
recommend to a friend.

Why don't you try
something else?

I tried.

I didn't have
the feeling for it.

Give me the hundred
and let me get out of here.

Ooh, for that kind
of money, Harry,

we're going to
have to have a hint.

I offer two words...
Charlie Jeffers.

Charlie Jeffers?

That's not bad.

Not bad? He busted
out of five prisons.

Here. Elmira, Eastern
New York Correctional,

Clinton, Wallkill,

and a couple of weeks ago,
he took a powder from Attica.

Where is he?

In your precinct.

50 now, 50 when we find him.

We've got 42
bucks in petty cash.

42 now, 58 when we find him.

Nick, check the APB's.

See what you can dig
up on Charlie Jeffers.


In February. Right.

Can I interest you
in a couple of guys

just in from Chicago?

What did they do?

Nothing yet,

but they've got a big potential,

and you can keep an
eye on them for 25 bucks.

Let me know when
they do something.

Sure, but I can't
promise it to you

for 25 bucks.

You know, it depends on

what they've got going down.


Here it is. Charlie Jeffers.

Went over the wall at
Attica three weeks ago.

See you around, Harry.

I hate doing this.

The guy'd sell his own
brother for 50 bucks.

75. He gets out next June.

You're kidding.

Didn't you like it?

It wasn't bad.

Then how about a little smile?


Chano... Huh?

You guys pick
up Charlie Jeffers.

All right, now, be careful,

he's probably armed
and dangerous.

You bet, Barney.

Hey, Harris, did you hear that?

We're going to pick
up Charlie Jeffers.

He's armed and dangerous, man.

Yeah, you can write about
it in your book if you want.

Hey, man, you
can't use real people.

You get sued.

I'm not going to sue you.

There, see, that's
what you say now,

but when the book comes out

and gets made
into a great picture,

then you'll change your tune.

You're right.

He's right.

Hey, Yemana,

how do you say, "Get
me a cup of coffee"

in Japanese?


Well, see, I've got
this Japanese detective

in my novel, see,

and every morning
when he comes in,

he says, "Get me
a cup of coffee,"

but it's in Japanese.

Are there any other Japanese
detectives in the room?

No Then who's
going to understand?

Hey, what's the difference?

It just adds a little color

to the book.

Come on, give it up.


Get it yourself. What
am I, your maid?

12th Precinct. Fish.

You're really
writing a book, huh?


Chapter one, page one.

You've got to start somewhere.

"The city was asleep."

I hope that's when
you're going to write it,

because when the city's awake,

we can use you around here.

Oh, absolutely.

It's that time of year.
They're all over New York.

They won't bother you.

What's up?

There's a lady
complaining about a bird

on the roof of a building
across the street,

for crying out loud.

You're a public servant.

Get a description of the bird.

Describe the bird, lady.

Well, what'd she say?

It weighs about 180 pounds

and it's wearing a wool hat.

You'd better send a car.

Barney, hey, Barney, Barney!

We had the right
information, man.

Here he is. Charlie Jeffers.

You can't believe the excitement

downstairs, man.

Whew, you're a
famous man, Mr. Jeffers.

I'm Captain Miller, Mr. Jeffers.

Captain Miller.
How do you do, sir?

Until the attorney
general's office

can arrange for a transfer,

you'll be held here.


And don't get
any ideas, Jeffers.

I mean, you may have
walked out of Elmira

and Attica, but this
is the 12th Precinct.

I have no intention
of trying to leave here.

That's a comforting
thought, Mr. Jeffers.

Represents a change
of attitude for you,

doesn't it?

Well, I'm getting old, captain.

I'm not as angry
as I used to be,

and that is a formidable
weapon to lose.

I understand.

I sent a patrol car out
there to check out the bird.

Oh, Charlie Jeffers.
How are you?

How do you do?

I recognize you for
your APB circulars.

I'm sorry to hear that.

Well, I followed your career

with a certain fascination,

but then, we do have
the same sort of problem.

Oh, I don't know
how that can be.

I've been in prison for
most of the past 35 years.

At least you can get
out once in a while.

Mr. Jeffers, would you
mind sitting down over here?

We've got some questions
to ask you. Yes, sir.

Hey, Barn,

the television station
is on the phone.

They want to know if they can

and get an
interview with Jeffers.

Oh, news travels fast.

You tell them they
have to have permission

from the public
information office

and the police department
and the attorney general's office

in Albany.

All right, Mr. Jeffers,

could I have your
full name, please?

Charles Evans Jeffers.

Date of birth?

April 14, 1919.

Permanent address?



That's Detective Harris.
He's writing a book. Oh.

How are you doing?


By the way, how did you
know where to find me?

Ah... We got some information.

Somebody saw you
and recognized you.

Tough luck.

No, it was inevitable.

I suppose I was even
looking forward to it.

My carelessness may well
have been premeditated.

You're a regular philosopher,

Mr. Jeffers.

The years

force a certain amount
of wisdom upon you,

whether you like it or not.

I didn't get that one.

Oh, I beg your pardon.

I was saying the years force
a certain amount of wisdom

upon you.

"Upon you"... Whether
you like it or not.

That's good... Very good.

Come this way,
please, Mr. Jeffers.

Yes, sir.

Hey, Barney.

Listen, the patrol
car just called in.

They got some banana
cake up on a rooftop

with a pair of homemade
wings, trying to fly.

They need help.

That would be
the 180-pound bird.

Give them a hand.

Take Harris with you.

It'll do him some good

to get away from his work.

Barney, the attorney
general's office


They're sending
some officers over

to pick up Jeffers.

They should be here in
three or four hours. Good.

Barney, the public
information officer

is on his way down
here from headquarters.

He says no interviews on
Jeffers until he gets here.

Hey, Barney, look,
there's all kinds

of photographers,
reporters downstairs.

What do you want
me to tell them?

Get a couple of men in the hall.

Yeah. I want to
make... All right.

♪ My Coney Island baby... ♪

♪ Boom, boom, boom ♪

Well, I didn't want
to disturb anyone.

♪ I'm gonna sail
away And leave you ♪

♪ Never to return ♪

♪ So you can have
The dishes, Mabel ♪

♪ So long, my Coney Island ♪

♪ Goodbye My Coney Island ♪♪

Public information officer's
downstairs with the press.

At least they won't be
up here bothering us.

I see Mr. Jeffers
is still with us.

Only because he likes it here.

"He had been living
in virtual obscurity.

"Police from five states
were looking for him.

It had been left to
me to bring him in."

"To me"?

To him?

He wasn't even there, Barney.

Poetic license.

Okay, you can just sit
right here in this chair here.

His name is Roland Gusek.

We had to chase him
over three buildings.

A couple of times, he
got airborne, I swear.

And I'd have made
it across the river

if you'd minded
your own business.

You also could
have gotten killed.

Death has never
been a deterrent.

What's the name?

Miller, Captain Miller.

Obscurity is more
terrifying than death,

Captain Miller.

what's important.

If I die in an attempt to
accomplish something,

who's the sufferer?

You are.


Self-destruction happens
to be against the law

in this state, Mr. Gusek.

Archaic bupkes.

If I fall from valor,
it's my business.

Unless you fall on someone else.

Should I take him
over to Bellevue?

No, have them pick him up.

I can't spare the man.

Mr. Jeffers, I was just talking

to some of the
reporters downstairs.

They tell me

that you've spent
30 years in jail

for stealing one automobile.

It was one hell of a car.

One to five grand larceny auto

and 25 years
accumulated escape time?

Compound interest,
you might call it.

Beautiful, beautiful.

Would you care
for a cup of coffee?

I prefer tea, please.

Okay, Mr. Gusek,

we're going to go downstairs.


Well, we have to
take a picture of you

and a picture of your fingers.

Stop talking to me
as if I were a child!

I am an engineer.

Okay, Mr. Gusek,

we'll go down and
find you a choo-choo.

That wasn't necessary, Wojo.


He thinks I got these wings

out of a box of Cracker Jacks.

This is aerodynamic engineering.

This is not chazerai.

These were designed

to give me the
configurations of a thrush.

My body happens
to be a perfect airfoil.

Let's go.

We're finished as a culture,

do you know that?

Where courage is a sickness

and an imagination is a crime,

culture is dead.

The minute we start
spitting on pioneers,

we've had it.

Be careful with those wings.

They are going to
the Smithsonian.

So am I.

Here you are, Mr. Jeffers.

Thank you, captain.

You know, it's hard
for me to understand

how an intelligent man like you

could allow himself
to be parlayed

into so much trouble.

Well, logical consequences
are the scarecrows of fools

and the beacons of wise men.

This cat is dynamite.

I'm going to write that down.

It appears you've
found an admirer.

Do me a favor.

Don't tell him it comes
from Aldous Huxley

until after I leave.

You know, it seems to me

that if you just
stayed put for a while,

you could avoid
all this difficulty.

No, I am by nature an
impatient man, captain.

But you're also a realist.

Well, the secret of
being able to serve time

is to accept the circumstance,

to resign yourself to the fact

that escape is impossible.

Well, the more I escaped,

the more difficult it became
to accept that philosophy.

Prison became
increasingly unbearable

because it became
increasingly unnecessary.

But you always got caught.

Well, nobody's perfect.

What about this time?

You going to try again?

I don't know.

It isn't nearly as
interesting outside

as it used to be.

I suppose these last few escapes

were merely for the
sake of the doing.

Why don't you just
sit it out for a while?

Try for parole?

Maybe I will this time.

Certainly, the challenge
is no longer there.

Perhaps this time

I'm going to have
to be practical

and yes, very, very bored.

You really got some nerve, man.

I, me, myself, I.

Hey, man, it's fiction.

You always use
first-person singular

in fiction.

Oh yeah?

Well, next time you and me,

we, find ourselves in an alley
with some guy with a knife,

how would you
like to find yourself

first-person and singular?

Now we're going
to go to a playpen.

That's dehumanizing,
what you did.

We do it to everybody.

I'm not an ordinary person.

When are you going
to accept that fact?


Ordinary people do not
swim the Atlantic Ocean.

When did you swim
the Atlantic Ocean?

Next April.

From Long Island to London.

It can't be done.

Tell that to Gertrude Ederle.

Hey, Fish, who's
Gertrude Ederle?

She covered herself with grease

and swam the English Channel.

It's a shame that
Bernice can't swim.

She'd be all set.

All my life, I wanted to
accomplish something.

I could have settled
for little things.

Would you like some tea?


I have a great admiration
for you, Mr. Gusek.

You putting me on or something?

On the contrary.

I really believe that you
have the determination

to swim from Long
Island to London.

Listen, I may not
make it the first time.

Storms come up... Yes.

Well, I figure

if at first you don't succeed,

try, try again.

I've always felt the same way.

The human spirit
cannot be denied.

Look at da Vinci,
Pasteur, Lenny Bruce.

Willie Sutton.

What's the difference
between mankind and animals?

Mankind aspires.

Mankind reaches
out to the stars.

Mankind pursues
impossible dreams.

♪ And the world Would
be better for this ♪

♪ That one man ♪

♪ Scorned and
covered With scars ♪

♪ Should fight With his
last ounce of courage ♪

♪ To reach ♪

♪ The unreachable star ♪♪

Hey, Barn, there's a couple of
attendants from Bellevue here

to pick up the Man of La Mancha.

Well, goodbye, Mr. Jeffers.

Mr. Gusek, I wish you
good luck and a fast current.

Hi there, pal.

We got a nice white
car down below for you

with a nice red light on it

and a big horn that
goes, "whoo-whoo."

I see you two know each other.

Very funny.

Then how about a little smile?

Come on, let's go.

Wait a minute. I've
got to get my wings.

Hey, you won't need them.

We're going to drive you over.

Captain Miller, do you really
want me to go with them?

You'll be all right, Mr. Gusek.

Wojo, give him his wings.

We're here to enforce the law,

not shatter a man's visions.

Did you hear that?

I'm ready now.

Mr. Jeffers, if you ever
get out again, look me up.

I'll be looking up at you.

Mr. Jeffers, I just
spoke to somebody

in the Attorney
General's office.

They told me that if you...

Hung around long enough,

you could be eligible for parole

in a couple of years.

You think you could stand it?

A couple of years.

It's longer now
than it used to be.

Ooh, it'll be tough,

but you said it yourself,

breaking out of jail

can't be much of a
challenge anymore.

I'll try to remember that.

Barney, this is
Lieutenant Faraday.

He's here to pick
up Mr. Jeffers.


Well, well, so this is Jeffers,

the happy wanderer.

Well, we'll see what
we can do about that.

Come on, I've got
a car downstairs.

No hard feelings,
Mr. Jeffers, huh?

None at all, Mr. Chano.

Mr. Harris, I wish you
good luck with your book

and maybe someday
I'll write one myself.

Chapter Two is all you.

See you around.


I have Thursday in the pool.

That's funny.


Captain Miller,

I want to thank you
for your hospitality.

This is the best
time I've ever done.

Have a good trip back to Attica.

Oh, no. No more Attica.

We got a special place for him.


Yes, we're going to Greenhaven.

We got a specially designed cell

just for you.

It's 100% escape proof.

Please don't say that.

It's already been tested.

It's guaranteed to see

that whoever goes inside

stays inside.

I really wish he
hadn't said that.

You don't have to listen to him.

Come on, Jeffers. I
haven't got all day.

Just a moment, please.
I believe these are yours.

♪ I'm gonna sail
away And leave you ♪

♪ Never to return... ♪♪

Chano, Yemana, make
sure he gets in the car.


Did he come in here? Who?

That cuckoo bird.

He kicked my
partner in the groin

and ran down the alley.

Oh, my... You guys help
him find him, will you?

I don't believe this. Barney!

Hey, Barney! What?

That Gusek, he got away
from the ambulance guys.

He's up on the
roof with the wings.

He's trying to fly. He's
going to jump off the roof.

Hello, dispatcher.

Yeah, get the Fire
Department over here, will you?

We've got somebody
up on the roof

threatening to jump.

Yeah, all right. We're
going to need some nets...

Barney... Yeah. Hold it.

He jumped.

Oh, my God... Was he killed?


He just flew... all the
way to the ground.

Sailing in a big circle,

just as pretty as
anything you ever saw.

Landed right in front
of the ambulance.

What did they do with him?

They took him to Bellevue.

I don't know what for.

Look, I don't care what you say,

I still don't believe

that Fish understands Japanese.

But you heard him.

You go ask him how he
feels and see what he says.


Get it yourself.

What am I, your maid?

Hey, you guys want
to hear your publicity?

"Charles Evans Jeffers,
ingenious prison escapee,

"was apprehended yesterday

"by men of the 12th Precinct,

Detectives Amenguale
and Wojciehowicz."

Ah, they spelled your
name wrong again, Wojo.

I don't believe it.

You spell it the way it sounds,


"Amenguale and Wojciehowicz

"arrested Jeffers
in his apartment

on a tip from an
undisclosed source."

Ah! Ah, see that? And
you weren't even there.

How you going to explain
that when your book comes out,

I, me, myself, I?

Hey, it's right here
on the first page.

Read the dedication.

"This best-seller...

"Is dedicated to the
men of the 12th Precinct

"without whom this story
might never have been told.

"To Captain Barney Miller...

"Sergeants Amenguale,
Fish, Yemana,

and Detective Third
Grade Wojciehowicz."

Your name is
spelled wrong again.

Barney, look at that spelling.

M-I-L-L-E-R. Looks okay to me.