Barney Miller (1975–1982): Season 3, Episode 15 - Fire '77 - full transcript

Thanks to a suicidal couple, the precinct may go up in flames.

Aren't you gonna
have lunch today?


Want this sandwich?

Why, what's wrong with it?

Nothing. Just not as
hungry as I thought I'd be.


See, it happens like
that once in a while.

You get up in the
morning, and, uh, you say:

"Boy, am I hungry today."

So you take an another sandwich.

And then you're not so hungry.

So. Proves you're human,

and, uh, you can
be wrong sometimes.

Are you through?


I wasn't sure.

Anybody know what this is?

I think Nick is
making something.

Oh! Oh, my! Hey, hey, hey, hey.

Be careful, huh?

You'll let the goodness out.

What is that?

It's called shabu-shabu.

A Japanese delicacy.


A little.

We get any coffee today?

Later. That has to
simmer for a while.

Why? It's the rules.

You want some when it's
ready? No, no. No thank you.

No thanks.

Culture shock might kill me.

You want a sandwich?


Trust me.

No thanks.

I'm innocent, I tell
you. I didn't do nothing.

Put a lid on it, Vitella.
What do we got here?

Thomas Vitella.

Trying to rob St.
Mark's Cathedral.

I was just there to light
a candle for my mother.

Yeah, I caught him ripping
open one of the poor boxes.

I dropped my matches
in it by mistake.

Just a victim of
circumstance, is it?

Yeah, right.

And what about dragging
me outta that church?

Come on.

I asked for sanctuary.

Sanctuary? No way.

We give it to you, we
gotta give it to everybody.

Huh? Go on over there.

I'll check him for priors, Barn.


Oh, Harris. I'm at your desk.


Oh, I need... Just needed
a level area to eat off.

It's okay.

I used a place mat.


I was eating over at
the desk by the window...

but I can't eat there.

No problem.

It spoils your appetite
looking at that filthy air shaft.

It's okay.

Listen, I'm sorry. Really.

I'll finish...

I'll just, uh...

I'll just go over to the
other side of the room,

and I'll finish
eating, while I'm...

While I'm going over there.

Okay. Sorry.

It's okay.

Almost got my neck broke too.

How did that happen?

It wasn't me, Barn.

It... It was the priest
that grabbed him

and caught him till
we got there. Heh.

Good for him.

Yeah, the guy's
68 years old. Heh.

Uh, this is his statement.

Those old ones, they
can really be brutal.

I mean, they got a lot of

pent-up strength on account

of being celibate so long.

Hm. Hm.

Hey, uh, Fish? Yeah?

I'm having trouble,
uh, getting this off.

Could you give me a hand?

Thank you.

Hey, how come somebody
didn't tell me my broker called?

I did. It's right there.


Hey, Harris... you
in the stock market?


The broker say anything?

Yeah, he said something about,
uh, the bottom dropping out...

What? What do you mean,
the bottom dropped out?

I want to know
exactly what he said.

Hey, take it easy.
Take it easy. Not the...

I was only kidding.

Don't ever joke with a man

about his portfolio.

I'm sorry.


Hey, what are you doing?

What is...? What is this?

That's my lunch.

Smells like garbage.


Are you kidding?

This is a Japanese delicacy:

fish heads,
cabbage leaves, uh...

Uh, cucumber rinds
and celery tops.



Come to think of
it, that is garbage.

Uh, excuse me. Mm-hm.

Are you a police officer?


My name is Lawrence Weiskopf,
and I want to be arrested.

Any particular
charge, Mr. Weiskopf?

Oh, are you a policeman?

Yes. What did you do?

Murder. Murder.

You will find the body
of Miss Gwen Baxter

in the alley behind
450 East 28th Street.

Okay. Uh, Dietrich, uh...

Nick, go with Dietrich.

Have a seat here, Mr. Weiskopf.

Fish? Yeah.

Read him his rights. Sure.

How are you?

You have the right
to remain silent.

If you give up the
right to remain silent...

Nick, are you going
with Dietrich? Come on.

Yeah. Just a second.

Nick, come on. Uh... okay.

Uh, will you watch this
so it doesn't overcook?

Yeah. Just get going.

And you gotta
keep stirring it too.

Listen, Wojo, you're
sitting right here.

Do me a favor... Uh, busy, Barn.


thing is, uh, I gotta, uh,
check out a few things here

before I can, uh, book that guy.

Uh, Harris.

Harris, listen, do
me a favor, will you?

Man, I buy at the wrong
time, I sell at the wrong time.

Sorry to hear that.

You know I could have
bought Xerox at 13?


But I said, "Who's gonna spend
all that money on a machine,

when they got carbon paper?"

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All right.

The buck stops here.

Doesn't want a lawyer.

Mr. Weiskopf, I understand
you don't want to see a lawyer?

Why? I... I'm as guilty as
if I had killed her myself.

What do you mean
"as if"? I thought you did.

Maybe I should explain
this. Maybe you should.

You see, Gwen and I
had made a suicide pact

between the two of us.

We just decided that our lives

had become empty
and meaningless, so...

So why keep going?

Keep going, heh. For my benefit.

Well, we couldn't
bring ourselves

to do it together,

so we decided she
would be at her apartment,

and I would be mine...

and then at exactly high noon

she would jump
out of her window.

And then I... And I
would take a revolver

and, uh, put a
bullet in my head.

Very poetic.

Thank you.

Also very stupid.

Anyway... Anyway, at the
last minute, I-I lost my nerve.

I chickened out.
I couldn't do it.

I tried to call
her and stop her,

but, uh... But it was too late.

Oh, my God, when I think

what I've done, I
could kill myself.


Fish, you might as
well take his statement.


We both just felt that our life,
the meaningful part, was over.

And w... What was left?

I mean, my God...
I'm already 38.

You reach a certain
point in your life

where you figure you've
done everything important,

and the rest then
is just downhill...

so... why drag it out?

None of your business.

Hey. Hey!

Can't you give me a break, huh?

You robbed a church.
That's disgusting.

Yeah. Well, I want you to
know, whatever you think,

I'm a good Catholic.


What's your address?

One forty-six West 23rd Street.

That's right around
the corner from me.

Yeah? Well, it's a
nice neighborhood.

It used to be.


What is that? Polish?

Yeah. Any remarks?


I guess, uh, you're
Catholic too, huh?


Where you go to Mass?

I ain't never seen
you at St. Mark's.

Oh. Well, I ain't
been in a little while.

Now, who's your employer?


So, what's "a little while"?

Couple of years, all right?

Date of birth.

Not even Easter?

Would you tell me
your date of birth?

March 12, 1951.

How long has it been
since your last confession?

Hey, I'm asking the
questions, Vitella.

Sure. Now. All right.

But later?

Ah. This way, Miss Baxter.


Hello, Lawrence.

Oh, my God, you're alive...

How come?

Is this our other suicide?

Yeah. You been stirring it?


You won't regret it.

We found her
walking in the alley.

She was in a daze. Oh.

The reports of her death
have been greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain.

Yeah, but it's in
public domain now.

What happened?

You said it was gonna
be a beautiful thing.

Both of us in
spiritual communion.

A rendezvous in the afterlife.

I meant that.

Well, then why aren't you dead?

Well, I...

Well, uh, you
look pretty lively.

I was gonna jump.

Oh, sure.

Listen. If I had really believed

that you were really
gonna shoot yourself...

Now, don't get snotty, Gwen.

I don't believe you two.

You're standing here
arguing over whose fault it is

that you're both still alive.

Why don't you just
agree on one thing:

It was a stupid idea.

It is the quality
of life that matters,

not life itself.

And it was not a stupid idea.

This station does not
recognize its obligation

to consider other
points of view.

Suicide is a stupid idea.

Isn't it better than letting

senility and tedium and decay

make the decision for you?

Well, isn't it?

Call Bellevue.

Why? They make a lot of sense.

Just call Bellevue.

Hey, uh, Barn. I, uh,
checked Vitella for priors.

He's loaded.

A lot of bad breaks.

Yeah. Armed robbery,
burglary, and, uh, most important,

he also happens to be A-W-O-L

from Rikers Island.

Oh, ho-ho-ho. He escaped?

Yeah. Went out on a work
furlough two weeks ago

and never came back.

How about that.
We hit the jackpot.

I don't want to
go back to Rikers.

I don't blame you.

Give 'em a call. Have 'em
send somebody to pick him up.

Sure. There you go.

Y-you ca... You can't
send me back there.

If you send me back to Rikers,
the guys there will get me.

Everybody's got enemies.

No. These guys like me.


You know what I'm talking about.

Hey, man. I just happens
to look good in leather.

I gotta go to the bathroom.

Keep your pants on.

I better not.

Okay. Come on.

Come on.

We just should
have done it together.

Then we wouldn't be
here, embarrassed.

Well, I, uh... I
would have done it.

We simply couldn't
agree on procedures.

There was nothing wrong
with the sleeping pills.

Well, they make me nauseous.

Unusual case.

Uh, you suppose
there are a lot of people

who think about
killing themselves,

but don't go through with it?

Sure. Studies show
that nearly everyone

at some time in his life

contemplates doing
away with himself.

Oh, yeah?

Then if the idea happened
to occur to a person

just for a second...
that's not dangerous?

No. Of course not.

Unless he happened
to have a gun.

Have you two talked this over
calmly and dispassionately?

Yes. I believe Mr. Weiskopf
has reconsidered.

Good. I didn't want
to have to hold you.

Apparently, he has found

something worth living for.

I have not.

If you still want
to die, honey...

oh, we can figure something out.

I mean, really, I may be a
lot of things, Gwen, but...

I'm not undependable.

I'll get back to you.

All right. In the cage.

What? In the cage. Come on.

Oh, come on,
that ain't fair, man.

You gotta finish
booking me first.

No, no, no. You're
finished. Come on.

Come on. What are
you doing? This ain't fair.

Oh, Harris. Yeah?

Someone who said he
was your broker called.

Oh. Thanks.

Harris... tell me the truth.

Uh, you ever
consider, you know...


I'll tell you in a second.

Nick, check your lunch,
will you? It's burning.

No. No, I've been
watching real careful.

You can smell it
all the way in there.

No, no. No.

Whoa! We got a
fire in the bathroom.

Oh, God.

I knew it wasn't my shabu-shabu.

Wojo, get a fire extinguisher.

Anybody know how
this thing started?

It wasn't me, Barney.

I haven't been there for hours.

Spontaneous combustion?

Hey, I want to protest
the conditions of this place.

We never considered that.

Considered what?


You're kidding.

I don't believe it.

Down six points?

Yeah, well, you check
on it. Uh, I'll hang on.

Okay, look out.
This thing's heavy.

Get me outta here,
for crying out loud.

Uh, Fish, get him out.

Anybody seen my keys?

Ah, come on! You think
where you put 'em last.

Oh, God. What's the matter?

I don't know. It
isn't working right.

I figure you got
to shake it first.

Nick, in the hall, the
alarm. Break the glass.

The glass is broken already.

All right, get on the
phone, call Kogan.

Have him prepare to... To...

To evacuate the place, in
case this thing gets out of hand.

Hey, get me out of here!

Well, somebody. Come on.

Are you gonna call
the fire department?

Yeah, yeah.

Anything I can do to help?

I... I don't know, Dietrich.

Maybe we could, uh, beat
on the flames with our coats.

I don't think that
will be necessary.

Uh, give me the fire department.

Mine's an old coat.

Hello? Hello?

Lining's shot.

Uh, Captain Miller
here, 12th Precinct.

We got an ax?

Well, I told Kogan.

Okay, thank you.

Uh, better get those, uh,
files out of here, just in case.

I was hoping we'd let it burn,
and we'd start from scratch.

Get those files out of here!

Harris, give him a hand!

Look, you said it was a
good company with good PE

and dividends, and all
that good Dow Jones junk.

Harris! Come on!

Uh-uh. Uh-uh. Look.

If I blow 300 bucks,
I'm coming over there

and taking it out
of your honky hide.

Harris, are you aware
there is a fire going on?!

Yeah, I heard that!

Get those files out of here!

Okay, Barn, here we go.

In the back, in the back.

No, I think we
ought to start right...

Anywhere! Spray!

The lock is stuck.

Mother of mercy.
I'm gonna burn alive.

Take it easy.

I want to make a confession.

Okay, let's hear it.

Not to you. I want a priest!

Oh. All right, fella.

Boy. It's scary being so
close to almost cashing it in.

Yeah, well, you'll
get used to it.

Hey, Barney? BARNEY: What?


Get these people
out of here, will you?

Anywhere. Come on. Let's go.

It's really not safe here.

That's all right, we're staying.

I want to stay.
Don't you, Larry?

- Me? Oh, yeah, sure.
- Sure.

This room could
be a blazing inferno

in a couple of minutes.

Oh, yes. Oh, God, yes.

She okay?

Oh, she's terrific.


You people still here?
Come on, Dietrich,

get 'em out of here.

Barney, they
don't want to leave.

She's a little kinky.

The libido plays a big
part in suicidal motivation.

Listen, lady. This is my fire.

You want to get your
kicks, go find your own.

We're staying.

Right, Larry?

Unless we're in the way.

Dietrich, get 'em outta here
if you have to use a club.

Fine. All right,
folks, let's go.

What...? I mean, what can we do?

He's, uh... He's a policeman.

If we don't do it
now, we'll never do it.


We can... We can set
a fire in my apartment.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

You got a fireplace?


Yeah. We'll stare at the
flames and be together as one.

No, it'll be good. It'll
be good, sweetheart.

It'll be... Be really good.

But not the same.

Barney. What?

We got all the files downstairs.

Look, this place is
going up like cardboard.

You'd better clear the building.

Uh, just one second.

Nick, come on!

I don't want it to burn.

Barn. Huh?

That's it on the
fire extinguisher.

Oh, great. All right.
Get out of here.

The fire department
will be here any minute.

Get out of here.

Come on, get out of here!

All cleaned up, captain.

Yeah, I see. Lovely.

You people could be
a little more careful.

You people could
be a little neater.

How's the bathroom?

What about it?

Can we use it?

Sure. Plumbing don't burn up.

You know, this whole building
could have burned to the ground.

You guys are lucky.

I suppose.

There's no door here.

Well, they had to chop it off.

Are we gonna get a new one?


Yeah, but... But...

How am I...?

Till then it's up to each
individual's sense of modesty.

Nick, you better check
for water damage.

It's too late.

I'll tell you what's
gonna happen.

You're gonna sign a
confession admitting to arson.

What arson?

There was just
a fire in the toilet.

And what would happen if
this building had gone up?

And somebody had gotten killed?

You'd be facing murder one.

Now, where'd you
get those matches?

I found them in there.

You see, it wasn't premeditated.
It was a crime of passion.

I was hoping to escape
in... In the confusion.

But unfortunately,
there was none.

I didn't want to go
back to Rikers, that's all.

You're not gonna be so lucky.

This time they'll send
you to Elmira or Attica.

Oh, yeah?

Sit down, Vitella. Come on.

I hear they have a
nice chapel up in Attica.

I don't want to discuss it.

And a great Mass.

I don't want to discuss it.

Hi, Fish.

Been quite a day, hasn't it?

I took, uh, Weiskopf and
Baxter over to Bellevue.


I consulted with a couple
of doctors while I was there.


Did you know that
suicide is, uh, really

a manifestation of outward
hostility turned inward?


Instead of killing
somebody else,

you try to kill yourself.

Fascinating. Heh.

Like Miss Baxter's.

Suicidal tendencies often
grow out of a combination

of hostility and lack
of sexual gratification.

Barney. It's finally ready.

I want you to be
the first to taste it.


Hey, that's pretty good.


My God.

I wonder what went wrong.

Hello, Bernice?

You wanna go dancing tonight?

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