Night Court

Harry and the Tramp - S6-E4

Question: I swear when this episode first aired, Bull broke Roz's Mr. T coffee mug. I remember seeing it with gold chains hanging off it. When I just watched the rerun, it was just an ordinary floral cup and Mr. T was never mentioned. Did they film two versions?

Brian Katcher

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Question: In nearly every episode there are two bailiffs standing in the back of the courtroom, a blonde white guy and a black man with glasses. They also appear hanging out in the cafeteria, walking in the halls, etc. However, I don't think they ever had a single line during the entire series run, even in episodes that prominently featured the building's entire bailiff staff. Any reason they made an effort to keep these two extras for the entire run, but never had them say anything?

Brian Katcher

Answer: Most likely, they were stand-ins for members of the main cast. When lighting sets, rather than have the main actors stand around while they adjust the lights, they will get someone with similar physical characteristics to fill in. Since they are already on the set and have nothing to do during the actual shooting, it is more convenient, and probably cheaper, to also use them as extras.

Answer: Most likely it was about money. Actors who have speaking parts, even if it's only one word, are paid more than "extras", who do not have any dialogue. As the two characters played no part in any of the plots, there was no reason to have them speak lines. Therefore, they were paid less money.

raywest Premium member

So why hire an extra to play a messenger or bailiff from another courtroom when that pair was already on the set and could have easily said the lines?

Brian Katcher

What lines? Your question specified that they never spoke any lines and you wanted to know why.

raywest Premium member

If an actor speaks any dialogue, they are billed as "co-stars" and paid at a higher rate than "extras" (also known as Background Actors), who are uncredited. The two you mentioned were regulars who were merely silent background characters used to "dress the set", making the courthouse look more realistically populated. Extras often have no acting ability and are unsuitable for speaking lines. Some people work exclusively as extras in various TV shows and movies, and do not actually act or have dialogue.

raywest Premium member

Hi Honey, I'm Home - S1-E13

Question: In this episode, a married woman is surprised to discover that her first husband, a soldier who was MIA and then declared legally dead is still alive. How would this affect her marriage to her second husband? Is she still legally married to her first husband?

Answer: Being declared legally dead is called "death in absentia", meaning there is no evidence of death (i.e. a body), but the individual is presumed dead. This can happen to anyone, not just MIA soldiers. If a spouse petitions the courts to grant a divorce on the presumption of death and all criteria are meet, they are legally divorced and free to remarry. The return of the presumed dead would not change the divorce ruling. However, if a spouse does not go through the legal steps prior to remarrying, then the return of the presumed dead spouse would nullify and void the 2nd marriage immediately (and the remarried spouse could face bigamy charges).


Harry and the Madam - S2-E8

Question: At the end of the episode, the military shows up and asks for all the evidence as it was a matter of national security. It's quite obvious that Harry called the military and was stalling for time until they could show up and get the evidence. Why did Harry call the military? I seriously doubt that it had anything to do with national security. I believe it was because he was actually trying to let Irene off the hook.

Answer: It's possible when Harry called the military, he implied that the book contained sensitive information, seeing as how many government and military officials were part of the client list.

I thought it was because he developed feelings for the madam and couldn't bring himself to turn her in.

Harry's Fifteen Minutes - S8-E22

Question: How was Harry able to fake being sick? When his temperature was taken, the thermometer read one hundred and three. Even his sneezing and weak voice sounded real.

Answer: He swapped his thermometer with one hidden in his sofa, which he'd rigged somehow. And he faked his sneezing and weak voice the same way actor Harry Anderson did: acting.

Brian Katcher

A Day in the Life - S4-E15

Question: I'm not familiar with the law so if someone could answer two questions I would be very thankful. 1. In the very last case, the defendant discovers that anyone not arraigned before midnight is set free which causes him to waive the right to refuse the reading of the information. What exactly does this mean? 2. Dan immediately starts reading off the list of information getting the case turned over to a grand jury. How can Dan reading the information get the case turned over to a grand jury if the defendant waived the rights?

Answer: The jails are overcrowded, so any petty offenders whose case isn't heard by midnight will be let go. The defendant wants the details of his case read (Instead of just the typical summary of the case that Mack gives Harry) because he knows it'll take a while and run out the clock on the midnight deadline, also sparing him the grand jury trial. Dan speed-recites the document quickly enough for Harry to rule on the case and bang his gavel just at the stroke of midnight.

Captain Defenestrator

Show generally

Question: In one of the episodes after Phil's death, it was revealed that Phil was actually a rich man. If Phil was very rich, why did he choose to live his life as a vagrant?

Answer: He was a chronic miser who obessively hoarded money, stashing whatever he could in various offshore bank accounts. Some people, no matter how much money they have, are terrified of losing it, therefore, never spend anything. Some suffer from severe neurosis or other mental issues. Others grew up in extreme poverty and fear being poor again. A family friend was just like this. She lived in a small, run-down house, never bought anything, was always terrified she would lose everything, and so on. When she died, her estate was worth over $2,000,000.

raywest Premium member

Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson - S4-E20

Question: Quon Le wants to be sworn in as an American Citizen before the birth of her first child. Wouldn't being married to Mac already make her an American citizen?

Answer: Marrying an American does not automatically make one a citizen as well. If a legal alien married a U.S. citizen, and they also wish to become an American, then they must go through the legal process of being a naturalized citizen. Not everyone wishes to change their citizenship, nor are they required to give that up when marrying someone of a different nationality.

raywest Premium member

Ladies Night - S5-E4

Question: Christine asks Roz if she ever hangs out at a tavern or café or a 'bwot' (I am absolutely misspelling that). Then Roz starts calling the strip club she frequents 'a bwot' as a running joke. I've heard the term on Frasier as well, but I can't google it because I have no idea how to spell it. What is it?

Brian Katcher

Answer: The word is "boîte." It's a French word and just means a small restaurant or cafe. "Boîte de nuit" would be a nightclub.


Answer: Karen: She had good chemistry with Harry Anderson, but not with the rest of the cast. If so, then perhaps that's why her character was written out so soon. Paula was released for similar reasons.

Nobody Says Rat Fink Anymore - S8-E10

Question: Harry recognizes one of the defendants who used to bully him when they were both children. Harry says that he can't participate in the case because of this, and also because that would make it a conflict of interest. Wouldn't any cases where his father was brought before him also be considered a conflict of interest, and why would Harry be allowed to preside over his father's cases?

Answer: Harry's father only came to his court as a defendant once (about trying to start a mutiny on the ferry). Harry said he was going to recuse himself when Christine said the Dept. Of Transportation had already dropped the charges, so it was a moot point.

Brian Katcher

Answer: Harry recuses himself from the case because of his own conflict of interest, however, his father is usually brought in for simple public disturbances and with his mental health record, gets remanded to a mental facility for examination. In cases like those, the judge's task is little more than signing a form, so there's not really a question of impartiality to be considered.

Captain Defenestrator

Answer: Reinhold. As soon as this name is revealed (during the episode with all the pregnant women giving birth) all of the cast repeat the name incredulously. This is a tribute to Reinhold Weege, the creator of Night Court.


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Question: I seem to recall seeing an episode of this show when I was a little kid that featured Bull being involved in an elevator crash, and when he emerges from the elevator afterwards, he is drastically shorter. Did this actually happen, and if so, what episode was it?

Phaneron Premium member

Answer: I just saw the episode again; it's "Blues of the Birth" (original airdate May 2, 1990), which was the same episode in which Christine gave birth to her baby boy. Bull rushed into the broken elevator in which Christine was forced to give birth to retrieve her shoes; the elevator then plunged from the 18th floor to the ground floor, which then resulted in Bull apparently losing at least two feet of height.


Answer: The scene did in fact happen, as I distinctly remember it; I don't, however, recall the specific episode.


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Question: I barely remember an episode where a personal video in question was to be viewed in the judge's chambers. Of course Dan wanted to be in on the viewing. Before Harry left the bench his court clerk or the defense made a comment (do not know which clerk or defense) regarding the viewing of the tape. Harry answered something to the effect that they were going to review the tape for the four (or five) points of interest of a woman's anatomy. She stands there while the men all follow Harry out of the court room. The person (clerk or defense) silently and slowly counted on her fingers and then looks up and says, "Oh my God." Does anyone know which episode this was?


Show generally

Question: One of the episodes had a ventriloquist with his dummy and I believe it was Dan that threw the dummy out the window. I can't seem to find the season and episode number. Any help?


Answer: S04e01, "The Next Voice You Hear", has a courtroom full of ventriloquist and dummies, which may be what you're thinking about. In it, one of the ventriloquist's dummy "commits suicide" by falling out the window of Harry's office. The ventriloquist is crushed by the dummy's "death" and Dan offers to "help." So the ventriloquist leaves the dummy, which was covered in a sheet, and Dan looks and the dummy talks to Dan. It takes a few seconds for Dan to realise what just happened and he jumps up, screams, and runs off.


A Closer Look - S7-E23

Other mistake: When Mac shows the news crew how he can call up a lot of info on his computer, the video game Super Mario Bros. appears on the screen but, the music that is playing is from the video game Super Mario Bros 2.

More mistakes in Night Court

Still Another Day in the Life - S7-E22

Ben Veloric: I guess I just wanted to find out of she loved me for myself.
Harry Stone: Now I guess you know, all she cares about is money.
Ben Veloric: Yeah. So, Debbie, are we back on?
Debbie Rollins: You mean you don't care that I'm shallow and materialistic?
Ben Veloric: Heck no, as long as you don't chunk up.

More quotes from Night Court

The Trouble is Not in Your Set - S6-E14

Trivia: Marion Ross guest stars as a woman who watches a lot of TV, but believes the characters are real people. In one scene she references the following show by naming people/characters: Oprah, Donahue, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Cosby Show, Dynasty, M.A.S.H., Dallas, Leave it to Beaver. The last character she names is "The Fonz", from Happy Days, which Ross also starred in as Mrs. Cunningham.


More trivia for Night Court

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