On August 22, 1974, ABC's summer anthology series Just for Laughs aired an unsold TV pilot, The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller. It starred Hal Linden as Barney Miller, captain of Greenwich Village's 12th Precinct, and also starred Abe Vigoda as Detective Fish, in addition to Abby Dalton, Val Bisoglio, Rod Perry, and Charles Haid. In this pilot, a junkie holds the 12th Precinct hostage, and Miller has to talk him out of it. The pilot was shot on film at CBS Studio Center, but when the regular series eventually began production, it moved to being shot on tape at ABC Television Center. Life and Times was later largely reused in the series premiere, "Ramon".

The resulting show, now shortened to Barney Miller, went on to a critically-acclaimed eight-season run. The 1974 pilot, on the other hand, went long unseen as it was never included in the syndication package. All that changed in 2011, when Shout! Factory acquired the DVD rights and released a complete-series box set, which includes this pilot.

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