Police Woman And The Case Of The Phantom Episode

Our upcoming release of Police Woman: Season Three has been met with a great deal of excitement from fans of the series and of its star, Angie Dickinson. There has also been a question from some regarding the presence (or lack thereof) of an episode entitled “Barney,” which appears on many online episode guides for the series. However, Sony Pictures Television, which licensed Police Woman to us, was unable to find any record of this mysterious episode.

So – what’s the deal? Is “Barney” a lost episode, some sort of Holy Grail for Angie Aficionados?

To solve this mystery, much like “Pepper” Anderson herself, we considered the evidence. First, we examined many of the most popular sources for this information, including:

Four out of five of these sources claim that on January 11, 1977, Police Woman aired an episode entitled “Barney.” Many of these sources even make note of the supposed episode’s guest stars, Robert Symonds and Sheila Larken. Curiously, however, none supply a synopsis for the episode.

Another website, Ultimate70s.com, does have a synopsis for “Barney,” however, and this is where the clues began to fall into place. Their description of the episode is, in fact, a summary of a completely different third season episode of Police Woman –“Night of the Full Moon” – which most online sources indicate originally aired on December 28, 1976.

After examining several vintage television listings, however, we discovered that the episode that actually aired on December 28, 1976 was a rerun of yet another third season episode, “Tender Soldier.” NBC didn’t broadcast “Night of the Full Moon” until two weeks later, on January 11, 1977, the same date that most sites claim “Barney” first aired.

So, you may ask – what happened to “Barney?” Our research indicates that Sgt. “Pepper” Anderson never crossed paths with him…but Detective “Tony” Baretta did.

Remember those supposed Police Woman guest stars, Robert Symonds and Sheila Larken? Searching their filmographies reveals an April 6, 1978 episode of the Robert Blake-starring Baretta, entitled – you guessed it – “Barney.” As can often occur on crowdsourced websites, it appears that an error was made on one website that eventually spread to other resources and gave rise to a mythical “lost episode” of Police Woman that never existed in the first place.

With this information in hand, we hope that you will feel as confident as we do that our release of Police Woman: Season Three is complete. Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy this DVD set!

One thought on “Police Woman And The Case Of The Phantom Episode

  1. I remember when the second season of the original Hawaii Five-O was released on DVD, there was a big fuss because it did not include a notorious “lost” episode titled “Bored, She Hung Herself.” Apparently the plot involved a young woman who is found hanging from her neck and it is initially believed to be a suicide, as the woman’s boyfriend liked to “hang” himself from the neck as some sort of hippie relaxation technique. (???) CBS never re-aired the episode after its original airing because apparently someone actually tried this at home and died. The victim’s parents sued the network and CBS understandably opted never to show it again. Personally it made no difference to me, as those who have seen it (like most “lost” films/shows it can be found online as a bootleg) said it’s not a very good episode anyway, and I can live with missing one episode of a series that ran for 12 years. However there were some hardcore fans who were really peeved. Makes me wonder what Shout would do with a situation like this. I really appreciate that they put the time and effort into solving the mystery of the Police Woman episode. Seems like so many studios/labels are just happy to throw together a bare minimum “complete” or “special edition” package, Shout really goes the extra mile for the fans.

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