Thursday, June 15, 2017


A few months ago I "solved" the recastaway discrepancy of the Two Father Clements on 'Barney Miller'.  

Now, I prefer that splainin.  It suits the demands of Occam's Razor.  And even though I have accepted some out-there theories about one of the best cop shows ever - the devil, ghosts, a werewolf, time travel - I prefer the sitcom to be more grounded in a semblance of reality.

So I'll stick with the original splainin.  But if I did give in to the whimsy.....

The elder Father Clement resembled a guardian angel named J. Hardy Hempstead.  For generations Hempstead has been assigned to watch over one particular member of the Bevis family per generation.  For the most part he had been an unobtrusive guardian angel to such Bevis progenitors as Magellan Bevis, Parnell Bevis, Gunner Lou Bevis.  But James B.W, Bevis proved to be a difficult case and Hempstead did his beatific best to improve the lot of Bevis' life.  But James B.W. resisted - he liked his life just the way it was, with zither music, bow ties, moose heads, and a calliginous 1920s Rickenbacker.  And Hempstead put right what once went wrong and let Bevis continue his life as it was.

As of this writing, James B.W. Bevis is still alive in Toobworld.  J. Hardy Hempstead still watches over him as his guardian angel, but he doesn't interfere.  It's been so long since Mr. Bevis saw his guardian angel, that he's probably come to the belief that he never really did meet Mr. Hempstead.

Hempstead was not always guarding members of the Bevis family.  There were other "clients" before he was assigned to that first notable Bevis.  In fact, some of his "clients" were quite famous.....

And who's to say Bevis was his only "client"?

This is where the alternate theory about the two Father Clements comes in......

One of Hempstead's other clients was an NYPD police captain named Barney Miller, assigned to the 12th Precinct.  And when the department ordered Barney to undergo counseling after he and his wife separated, Hempstead saw his chance to check up on him. He arranged it with his celestial bosses to make sure the real Father Clement was stuck in traffic and unable to make his appointment with Barney at the Ol' One-Two.  

Then Hempstead took his place.  Although we in the Trueniverse saw him as J. Hardy Hempstead dressed as Father Clement, Barney saw the real vicar's visage.  That's why he didn't bat an eye when the real Father Clement showed up some time later to deal with the satanic possession of one of the squad's prisoners.

Like I said, this is just speculation and I will stick with my original premise.  

But if you want to use it, feel free.......


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