The television hit Barney Miller featured a plethora of eccentric cops, but perhaps none more popular than Detective Phil Fish. In fact, so popular was Abe Vigoda’s long-faced sourpuss, he got his own series in February of 1977. Simply called Fish, the spin-off focused on Detective Fish and his wife, Bernice, as they moved from their New York apartment to a slightly dilapidated house. The reason for the move was they were about to become foster parents to five P.I.N.S.- social worker terminology for ‘People In Need of Supervision.’
Mike was the eldest of the P.I.N.S. and the most charming. Victor was the tough guy, Jilly the sly huckster, Diane was obsessed with watching television, and Loomis was the group’s resident comedian. Charlie Harrison, a psychologist, would visit the new foster family from time to time for counseling purposes, but his advice was always a little too unrealistic to be helpful. In the end, Fish and Bernice would have to work out their new parenting problems on their own.
Fish ran on ABC until June of 1978, when it was cancelled after 35 episodes. The series is occasionally rerun in syndication and remains a favorite among fans of Vigoda’s slow-burning, deadpan style of comedy.
There had been a Fish pilot broadcast on 4 Dec 1975 called Fish and Bernice, this featured Doris Belack as Bernice.
USA / ABC – Mimis / 35×25 minute episode / Broadcast 5 February 1977 – 8 June 1978
Executive Producer: Danny Arnold / Producers: Norman Barasch, Roy Kammerman, Steve Pretzker
Abe Vigoda as Det. Phil Fish
Florence Stanley as Bernice Fish
Todd Bridges as Stanley Loomis
Denise Miller as Jilly
Len Bari as Mike
John Cassisi as Victor Kreutzer
Barry Gordon as Charlie Harrison
Sarah Natoli as Diane Pulaski
David Yanez as Manuel