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Joe Bash was an Americanmarker television series that ran on the ABC network from March 28 to May 9, 1986. Starring Peter Boyle as a weary and embittered New York City Police Department beat cop, it was created by veteran TV producer Danny Arnold following his successful New York Citymarker police detective sitcom Barney Miller. The production company was Tetagram Ltd., with Arnold and Chris Hayward serving as the show's executive producers. All six episodes were written by the team of Arnold, Hayward and Philip Jayson Lasker, with Arnold directing all but the fifth episode, which was directed by John Florea.


A darkly urban comedy-drama shot without a studio audience or laughtrack, the series starred Peter Boyle as the veteran, semi-corrupt cop marking time until retirement, and Andrew Rubin as his naive rookie partner, Officer Willie Smith. In recurring roles were DeLane Matthews as streetwalker Lorna, the only person with whom the misanthropic Bash could be even somewhat close; Val Bisoglio as Sgt. Carmine DiSalvo; Michael Cavanaugh as Lt. Pendleton; and Larry Hankin as Stu. It was set in the 33rd Precinct in lower Manhattanmarker, represented via a deliberately theatrical set reminiscent of a stage play.


Joe Bash won critical acclaim despite lasting only six episodes. Time placed the series on the magazine's 1986 best-of list, calling it "a moody tragicomedy on loneliness. Peter Boyle was outstanding as a grumpy cop in this undeservedly short-lived series". In an earlier review, the magazine remarked on how the two lead characters would "traverse the desolate city streets and cope with the unglamorous trivia of everyday police life. ... In Boyle's sharp and unsentimental portrayal, crustiness never becomes cute, and there are echoes of authentic urban despair in the patter". The New York Times wrote favorably that, "There is no laugh track to signal the viewer as to whether Joe's misanthropy is really supposed to be funny. Joe Bash moves to its own special beat, apparently bent on demolishing every well-established cliché in sitcom territory".


Fridays, ABC
  • "Joe Bash" (pilot) - March 28, 1986
:Guest cast: DeLane Matthews, Val Bisoglio, Michael Cavanaugh, Robert Trebor, Hubert B. Kelly, Lisa Dunsheath
  • "Cash" - April 5, 1986
:Guest cast: Val Bisoglio, Michael Cavanaugh, Dino Natali (Angelo), Larry Jenkins (Mugger), LaWanda Page, Robert Trebor, Jack Bernardi, Darrow Igus, Vincent Guastaferro, Ruth Jaroslow
  • - April 11, 1986
:Guest cast: Larry Hankin, Sam Scarber (Sam), Jack Gilford (Feinbaum)
  • - April 25, 1986
:Guest cast: DeLane Matthews, Larry Hankin, Pat Corley (Integrity Control officer), Sully Boyar, Sy Kramer
  • - May 2, 1986
:Guest cast: Joseph Mascolo (Capt. Charles Taylor), Pierrino Mascarino (Irv), Marilyn Sokol (Betty), Dean Dittman, Tom Rosqui
  • - May 9, 1986
:Guest cast: DeLane Matthews, Reni Santoni (Carlos), Rosanna DeSoto (as Rosana DeSoto) (Maria)

Actor Hank Azaria won admission to the Screen Actors Guild through a one-line role in one episode, though his part was edited out before broadcast.

Other crew

  • Associate producer: Martin J. Gold
  • Director of photography: Mike Berlin
  • Editor: Paul Bonat
  • Production designer: Ed LaPorta
  • Music: Jack Elliott
  • Lighting director: Mark Palius
  • Casting: Eleanor Ross (Los Angelesmarker), David Tochterman (New York Citymarker)
  • Makeup: Holly Bane
  • Wardrobe: Barbara Murphy


  1. The real-life 33rd precinct is in upper Manhattan
  2. The New York Times (April 17, 1986): "TV Review; 2 Sitcoms, 'Mr. Sunshine' And 'Joe Bash,' on ABC", by John J. O'Connor
  3. Time (Jan. 5, 1987): "Best of '86"
  4. Time (April 21, 1986): "Lonely Beat: Joe Bash, ABC", by Richard Zoglin
  5. Yahoo! Movies: Hank Azaria


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