Barney Miller 1975 – Graft

Season 1, Episode 4

Original air date: 13 February 1975

Sgt Yemana: “Honeyspot by Olden Times. Look – six pounds off, blinkers on, with the finest grass jockey in the country. I bet her. The little lady next to me says. “Hey there’s a gray horse with a girl jockey in blue. My two favorite colors.” She wins. I lose.”

This episode is about the slippery slope of police corruption (graft) in the form of gifts or favors given to police officers. Early episodes of Barney Miller describe the framework around us and give clues about how police are involved. I believe this scene is one of many places in 1970s (and later) media referencing the 1974 pony incident. The idea of a “grass jockey” I assume is about a jockey who can ride on grass? But grass also relates to cover ups (grass growing over battlefields) and in this case, an involved party was involved in the underground cannabis trade.

As for the girl in blue on a gray horse – I remember the pony being white. There might be different things this is alluding to – colors blue and gray together immediately evoke the idea of the civil war, in which case it would be the idea of a Union soldier on a southern horse. Blue is also linked to the FBI/CIA and medical field.

The framework around this is Wojo is studying for his test to become Sergeant and asks Yemana whether or not he should enter a home without a warrant when he knows evidence is about to be destroyed inside. Yemana is more focused on his racing form, but at the end, when asked a second time, he replies “don’t go in.”