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"Dan, The Walking Time Bomb"
Season 5, Episode 12
#91 in series (193 episodes)
5x12 - Dan the Walking Time Bomb.png
Series: Night Court
Network/Country: NBC-TV / United States
Air date January 7, 1988
Production code 186212
Written by: Gary Murphy & Larry Strawther
Directed by: Tim Steele
Guest stars: Elayne Boosler
Patrick Thomas O'Brien
Charles Cyphers 
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Dan, the Walking Time Bomb was the 12th episode of Season 5 of Night Court, also the 91st overall series episode. Written by Gary Murphy and Larry Strawther, the episode was directed by Tim Steele. The episode, which aired on NBC-TV, first aired on January 7, 1988. 

"Dan, the Walking Time Bomb"
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Dan frantically tries to rid himself of a briefcase containing a time bomb that someone has handcuffed to his wrist while Joy demands that Bull treat her as he would a sighted woman. Also, Dan's real name is revealed to the staff. Meanwhile, Bull walks around the courtroom in a blindfold, trying to empathize with Joy's blindness.


While on a break from court, Dan runs into a man who inexplicably handcuffs a briefcase to Dan's wrist. He gleefully tells Dan that it's a bomb that's set to go off in 30 minutes or sooner if he pushes a button on a detonator. He tells Dan to go back to court and act casual. Dan, while holding the briefcase, tries to talk in code to his colleagues and warn them. When Christine figures out his ruse and screams, Ernie tells everyone to freeze or he'll push the button. Everyone scatters, leaving Dan looking forlorn.

At first Dan's colleagues attempt to cut the handcuffs with bolt cutters but the bomber informs them that doing that would detonate the explosive. While the bomber is temporarily gone, they call in a guy from the bomb squad, who has a casual attitude about defusing it. When the bomber discovers their plan, he threatens to push the button. The group persuades the bomber to let Dan go if he can remember who Ernie really is. When Dan sees the letters "EC" engraved into the lock on the case, he quickly recalls that the man is an old high school acquaintance of his named Ernie "Stinky" Carter (Patrick Thomas O'Brien) who holds a grudge against Fielding for ruining his high school science project, a "battery operated sewage plant". During a school science fair, it was destroyed when Dan's project, a model of the "female reproductive system" (an inflatable female sex doll), malfunctioned (it ruptured when Dan filled it with too much air) and collided with Ernie as he was holding the "sewage plant". As he goes on to tell Dan, whom he blames for "ruining his life", the accident caused him to lose his college scholarship and he spent the last fifteen years of his life after high school working a job emptying septic tanks.

Ernie decides he'll kill Dan anyway but Harry and the others quickly convince him that doing so would make him no better than the sleazy and amoral Dan himself. Ernie is convinced and shuts the bomb down, handing them the key to the handcuffs. The bomb is left on Christine's table when they believe the timer is still running and they flee the courtroom.

Meanwhile, Joy Buscaglia (Elayne Boosler), Bull's girlfriend, demands that boyfriend Bull treat her as he would a sighted woman. In sympathy, Bull blindfolds himself through the entire episode, clumsily causing havoc wherever he goes. However, Bull misunderstands Joy's blindness as weakness and she lectures him harshly when she finds out about the blindfold. Bull agrees that he was wrong and the two make out in the courtroom next to the briefcase, which explodes. When everyone rushes in, they find the couple unharmed, with Bull sporting a scorched hole in the back of his uniform.

Also, Dan's real name, "Reinhold" is revealed to the staff by Stinky, as the police take him into custody which embarrasses Dan, as Stinky then also reveals that Dan also used to play the accordion in high school. The last shot of the episode is Dan holding an accordion and grinning, dressed in a nerdy suit.

Scene excerpts


  • Ernie Carter: Excuse me, Mr. Fielding?
  • Dan: distracted] Just a second, Len, I'll be with you in a moment...

[Ernie handcuffs a briefcase to Dan's wrist]

  • Dan: Hey, what the hell is this?
  • Ernie: It's a bomb, Dan!

[he opens the briefcase, showing it's full of dynamite. Dan gasps in disbelief]

  • Ernie: It's going off in thirty minutes.

[Dan gasps again]

  • Ernie: [holds up a remote] Or sooner, if I push this little button.

[Dan gasps twice]

Cast (in credits order)


Guest stars/Recurring characters/cast