The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1: Episode 30: Barney Gets His Man. May 8, 1961. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
The episode opens with a car chase- it’s not Andy or Barney on the chase but it turns out its the State Police- chasing a car out in the country side. The criminal driving the car eludes the police. Next thing we see is the criminal walking out of a coffee shop in Mayberry. The criminal makes the mistake of littering on the sidewalk. Deputy Fife busts him for littering and is writing up a citation. The criminal tries to bribe Barney with a $5- the next thing we know- the State Police are on the scene- the criminal sees them and wants to break free from Barney. We then see Barney and the criminal -Eddie Brooke wrestling on the sidewalk. The State Police snatch Eddie Brooke up- and Barney is the hero. Turns out Eddie Brooke had been doing 20 years [he is later referred to as a killer] in prison in Atlanta. As he is being taken away Brooke looks angrily at Barney and tells him “I’ll get you for this deputy.’
Everyone around town who witnessed this swoops in and treats Barney like a hero. Trouble is- Barney isn’t really sure just what he did. Andy and Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou arrive on the scene and Andy offers to let Barney have the rest of the day off. Of course Barney refuses. Barney is walking around proud now. He tells Andy he knew right away that this guy was up to something. Barney makes a great comment- ‘Mayberry- gateway to danger.’ Meanwhile the townspeople- basically the old men who are always hanging around- are talking Barney up about what a great hero he was.
Next Opie walks into the jail and talks with his pa about Barney and what happened. Opie was wondering if Barney was scared- and asks his pa if he had ever been scared and Andy recounts a childhood incident. Aunt Bee then makes an appearance and wants to have a party for Barney not a big party just them and Thelma Lou.
The are waiting to surprise Barney and when the door opens-its not Barney but the State police. Moments later Barney follows them in- and they all find out that Eddie Brooke had escaped again. Barney is clearly scared- he remembers Brooke’s threat to get revenge.
Barney is in the jail and Thelma Lou walks in- to which Barney draws a gun on her. Thelma Lou suggests Barney leave town for a few days- Barney won’t come out and admit he is scared but his look gives him away. Andy walks in- and the phone rings- it’s the State Police- and Brooke who had been seen heading towards Mayberry- had abandoned the car he stole 3 miles outside of Mayberry.
Andy and Barney get their guns and head out to the country to look for Brooke- along with the State Police. They are climbing up hills and down by the lake. When Andy climbs up a tree to get a better view of things- Barney who doesn’t want to be left alone climbs up on the limb with him. When they stop for a rest- Barney who is staying as close to Andy as he can- hears a noise in the bushes- it was just a rabbit- but while Andy didn’t draw his gun- Barney had.
They go with the State Police to a chicken house- and Andy sees Brooke hiding up in the loft. Andy thinks of a way to make Barney a hero. He tells the State Police there is no way a smart criminal like Brooke would be hiding there- and suggests they look elsewhere. He calls Barney in and tells Barney that while they look for Brooke- he can stay at the chicken house and it will be the communication center. No sooner than Andy leaves Barney alone- Barney is on the radio asking Andy if he they had come up with any new leads. Andy meanwhile hasn’t gone anywhere. He is outside but looking into the building through the cracks. When he sees Brooke starting to make a move on Barney- who is sitting down crewing gum- Andy throws a rock at a can alerting Barney who jumps up and shoots his gun. Brooke throws his hands up surrendering. Barney- not really aware of what he did- is the unsuspected hero again.
The final segment has Andy leaving Barney alone in the jail- then with Barney in another room- Andy- Opie, Aunt Bee- Thelma Lou and the State Police walk in- they hadn’t forgot their surprise party for Barney. When Barney sees the State Police he panics for a second- ‘Did Brooke escape again’- he is clearly relieved when he hear they are just there for the party.
- Barney had been longing for some action- and this is the most action- and most dangerous situation he had been in during the first season of the show. And while he was scared- he didn’t run. He didn’t take Andy up on the offer to leave town for a few days- Barney manned up!
- The Andy we are getting to know -especially in the second half of season 1- is shown here in this episode- the smart understated Andy- he knows what is going on with Barney, but is content to keep it to himself and also set Barney up to be the hero.
- In the early scene with Barney bringing down Brooke on the sidewalk- we see in the crowd- the first African-American seen in the series.
- Brooke was hiding in what they said was Thatcher Woods- but we will see this area- and the lake again- certainly looked like Myers Lake.
- Barney Phillips who plays the ‘killer’ Eddie Brooke- is a familiar face having appeared in a few episodes of the Twilight Zone- including the memorable “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up’
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Barney Phillips- Eddie Brooke
Betty Lynn- Thelma Lou
Bob McQuain- Sergeant Johnson
Mike Steen- Sergeant Miller
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Ben Gershman and Leo Solomon