Synopsis: Barney (Don Knotts) accidentally catches dangerous wanted fugitive Eddie Brooke (Barney Phillips) after writing him a ticket for littering. The town considers him a hero after the arrest and his friends even through him a surprise party. However, when Brooke escapes the custody of the state police and heads back toward Mayberry, Barney, knowing the truth about his accidental capture, fears for his life.
The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “Barney Gets His Man”
A review of the season 1 television episode that first aired in May 1961.
I came across this episode on television yesterday evening and, because I hadn’t seen it before, decided to take the time to watch it while everyone else was busy doing something else. I had a few doubts about this episode when I first started watching, mostly because I figured it would end up being very predictable, but it turned out to be one of the better episodes from this series.
There were a couple things I really liked about this episode. The first was the respect the writers showed toward Barney. The Mayberry deputy has his faults and his “capture” in this episode (which mostly consisted of the felon getting tangled in Barney’s feet when he tried to run from the state troopers) was a typical Barney Fife moment. However, even though he had every reason to leave Mayberry and hide when he heard Brooke was returning (and even had permission to do so), he bravely accepted his duty, strapped on his gun and went with Andy (Andy Griffith) and the other police officers when it came time to re-capture the fugitive. That says a lot about his character, I think.
The other thing I found I liked about this episode is it wasn’t as predictable as I mentioned I was expecting it to be. Brooke escaping the state police and returning to Mayberry wasn’t a surprise. But, Barney not running away and hiding was. Plus, I absolutely loved how Andy managed to arrange for Brooke to be captured in a way that made Barney the hero again. I honestly wasn’t sure if that was going to be the case or not and his method of doing that was actually pretty clever (and funny).
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I have always thought the first couple seasons of this show were the best and this season 1 episode is a good example of why I feel that way. It’s well written and has a good mix of comedy but, at the same time, the writers went out of their way to make sure one of the most popular characters wasn’t turned into a completely inept coward. I enjoyed watching this one as a result of that and would recommend it.
My Grade: A
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