The BEST Episodes of Gimme a Break!

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Network: NBC

Nell Carter stars as the housekeeper for a recently widowed police chief and his three daughters.

Katie the Crook

#1 - Katie the Crook

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 29, 1981

In the series premiere, Samantha comes home with a black eye, and Nell teaches her a few skills on how to fight. Julie an her friend are studying on where babies come from, and as the Chief comes home, he walks into the kitchen to find them kissing. Simpson then arrives at the house with Katie, who was picked up for shoplifting, but wasn't arrested. Katie has been actin like this because of the recnt death of Margaret, her mother, and the Chief and her make amends in the end.

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Directors: Howard Storm
Writers: Mort Lachman, Sy Rosen
A Good Man is Hard to Find

#2 - A Good Man is Hard to Find

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Nov 5, 1981

Nell and Angie go to a bar to meet guys. However, Nell gets sad that she isn't admired by any of the men. She then goes home and the Chief decides to fix her up with one of his officers. What he doesn't know is that the officer is just doing the Chief a favor so he can get a better job position. The Chief throws the man out and tells Nell what happened when she comes out ready for her date. Nell realizes he wasn't interested in her because she is overweight. Angie then shows up and invites Nell out and she accepts, even after being rejected by the officer.

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Directors: Will Mackenzie
Writers:
The Second Time Around

#3 - The Second Time Around

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Nov 12, 1981

A woman accidently hits the Chief's police car, because her contact lens came out as a moth sat on her face. When she meets the Chief to tell him how sorry she was for smashing into his car, she realizes the two went to Franklin High together, and she was a cheerleader, while the Chief was a professional football player. The two hit it off, and begin dating, and Samantha is sad because she doesnt want a step-mom. In the end, when Marion wants to sleep with the Chief, he hastily rushes out of her apartment and knew he could not go trough with it because of his love for his dead wife Margaret. However, Nell tells him thathe does not have to worry and that Margaret would have wanted him to move on.

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Directors: Howard Storm
Writers:
Mom's Birthday

#4 - Mom's Birthday

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Nov 19, 1981

A woman with a perfume gift for Margaret on her birthday shows up, learning that Margaret is deceased. When the Chief comes home, he is upset because it is Margaret's birthday and she died 6 months earlier. He decides to take the family out to dinner at a Mexican restaraunt, but when the mariacci singers sing ""Happy Birthday"" to a woman named Margaret, the family begins to feel sad again. Nell decides to get out the family home movies to which the Chief objects to, but in the end is happy seeing Margaret the way he remembered her.

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Do or Diet

#5 - Do or Diet

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 26, 1981

Nell decides to hold her PORKO'S meeting at the house, and when she gets on the scale she gets mad because she gained two pounds. WHen the Chief comes home he is disgraced by the group and has a bad case of indigestion, forcing him to stay on vebetables for the next three weeks. However once Nell and the Chief begin their diet, the Chief insists on sampling her lasanga, and then they go on an eating bindge. The next moring when they wake up, they cant believe how crazy they were to eat so much in one sitting.

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Directors: Linda Day
Writers: Doug Keyes
A Man in Nell's Room

#6 - A Man in Nell's Room

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 3, 1981

When the Chief finds a man in Nell's room, he tells her he doesn't want her fooling around with guys in the same house as his teenage daughters. Nell decides to quit, and moves in with Angie for one night. The Chief tries to adjust to Nell not being around and everything goes awry with the turkey being thrown through the front window, and the clothes shrinking in the wash. In the end, Nell gets fed up with staying with Angie and decides to come home, to which the family is overjoyed having her back.

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Directors: Herbert Kenwith
Writers: Booker Bradshaw, J. Stanford Parker
Your Prisoner is Dead

#7 - Your Prisoner is Dead

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 10, 1981

As he is on an erand at the drug store, the Chief witnesses a robber hold up the place. When the robber turns his gun on him, the Chief shoots him in self-defense. However, when he finds out that his prisoner has died, he thinks seriously of retiring from the police force since he has never shot a person before. In the end, Nell convinces him to go back to work, when she makes him realize that he really is a pretty good cop.

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Directors: Will Mackenzie
Writers: Doug Keyes, Erik Tarloff
Julie's Rejection

#8 - Julie's Rejection

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 17, 1981

Julie wants to join Katie's club, and gets help from Nell and Katie on how to be cool, sitting, and dancing. When she shows up to Katie's group of friends, she totally messes up, as they ask her several questions about personal experieces such as kissing and virginity, and she is rejected into the club. In the end, she says she only wanted to be in the club because of the jacket they get, but cries hystericolly, because she knows she cannot be like Katie and her friends. Katie decides in the end to quit the clique that she is in, and decides that she and her sister need to stick together.

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Directors: Dick Harwood
Writers: Ted Bergman
Julie's First Love

#9 - Julie's First Love

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Jan 7, 1982

Julie goes off to the arcade after having no luck at finding a date to the Junior prom. At the arcade, she meets a worker there who is into computers named Arnold and she asks him to the prom and he accepts. However, the Chief is mad that Julie returns home late and grounds her, not wanting to hear her side of the story. In the end, Katie realizes that Julie is at the arcade because she mentioned being short on quarters and the Chief decides to go down there, letting her know that he cares a lot for her and that he allows her to go to the prom with Arnold.

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Nell's Ex

#10 - Nell's Ex

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 14, 1982

Nell's finds out that her ex-husband Tony is in town and wants to meet with her. At the house, he tells her that he is going to be on the Merv Griffith show and needs $1,000. Nell agrees to give him the money and lies to the Chief, telling him she needs $500 for her Aunt to have an operation. The Chief gives her the money, even if he knows that Tony is going to blow it and not get his big break on the Merv Griffith show. Sure enough, when he auditions on the show, he is told to get off, since they already have enough singers like him.

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Directors: Linda Day
Writers: Kathy Joseph
Katie the Cheat

#11 - Katie the Cheat

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 21, 1982

The Chief is counting on Katie to do real good on her final exam, but she gets Julie to take it instead. The family is shocked to hear what has happened, when she declines the money they give her for her college life, and she tells them she cheated on the test The Chief is very upset, and then finds out it was Julie who took the test for her. However, Katie appologizes and decides to re-take the test on her own.

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The Emergency

#12 - The Emergency

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 4, 1982

Katie comes home with pain in her stomache and Nell rushes her to the emergency room. Once there, she meets a pushy receptionist and seeks a doctor on her own time to help Katie. The doctor tells Nell that Katie was using an IUD (Inter-Uterinary Device) as a form of birth control and will be okay. She is shocked to hear the news and so is the Chief. The Chief leaves the hospital disgusted, but returns and goes to see Katie. He tells her what would her mother think about her doing that sort of thing if she was still alive? Katie tells him that she and her mother talked a lot about it before she died and she knew Katie had been using IUD'S. The Chief understands that he cannot protect Katie from IUD's and other sorts of sexual related issues, but tells her he will always love her.

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Directors: Linda Day
Writers: Doug Keyes
Nell Goes Home

#13 - Nell Goes Home

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 11, 1982

As the Chief is getting ready to leave for an assignment in New York, Samantha is mad that she can't go fishing with a male friend of her's due to the fact that he will not be around to watch them. After he leaves, Nell gets a call from her mother telling her that her father had a heart attack. Nell takes Samantha back home to Alabama to visit her family. At her house, Nell is told by her mother that her father doesn't want to see her. However, Samantha is sad for the way she treated the Chief because he wouldn't let her go fishing. Nell realizes she will see her father even though he doesn't want her to. In his room, he acts the way he did to Nell when she was younger, and doesn't mind that he is dying. He still doesn't forgive Nell for running away when she was 16. In the end, Nells Father dies, and at his funeral, Nell is told to read the Eulogy that her father wrote. He actually was happy that she came home to him after all those years. Nell sings ""Amazing Grace"" as the Chief walks in.

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Directors: Will Mackenzie
Writers: Booker Bradshaw, J. Stanford Parker
Samantha Steals a Squad Car

#14 - Samantha Steals a Squad Car

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 18, 1982

As the Chief is preparing a speech for an awards banquet, Nell accidently sits on his cap, which ticks him off. As the two fight, Samantha comes home, complaining that a girl called her a dumb Pollak, but Nell and the cheif are too busy arguing. To get their attention, she tells Nell ""how would you like it if somebody called you a niggar?"" The chief gets her attention, goes on a rampage, and she locks herself in the bathroom, only to escape through the bathroom window, steal her fathers squad car, and take off to the police station, where she meets a drunkard named Bill, who is out of his cell, drunk in the Chief's office. In the end, the Chief and Nell show up at the police station, and all is forgiven, as Nell tells Samantha that they should have listened to her in the first place, instead of fighting over a stupid squashed police cap.

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Grandma Fools Around

#15 - Grandma Fools Around

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 25, 1982

The family gets ready for Grandma and Grandpa's 55th anniversary at the house. Meanwhile, back at their house, Grandma and Grandpa are reminiscing over old photos and love letters that Grandpa sent her during World War 2. When Grandpa reads one of them, he finds out it wasn't his, and he threatens to leave Grandma and wants a divorce. Grandma goes to see the family and cries over waht has been happening. Carl is upset at his mother, yet goes to see Grandpa and brings him to the house. At the house Grandpa and Grandma do not speak, and Nell gets fed up and tells them that she is divorced, Ed is a single bachelor, the Chief recently lost his wife, and they all wish they had someone to love. Grandma and Grandpa finally get back together after this talk Nell gives.

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Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Doug Keyes
Hot Muffins

#16 - Hot Muffins

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 11, 1982

Katie's band is a big success in Glenlawn as they perform at amateur night at a restaraunt. A big producer spots them, and tells them he loved the act, and offers them a job far away. Katie decides at first she wants to go, because she started her group, and without her, they would be nothing. However, Nell lets her see deep inside that all she wants to be is a star, and she finally decides to stay behind with her family, as her group goes off to see if they can make a success with their career.

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Directors: Will Mackenzie
Writers: Coleman Mitchell, Geoffrey Neigher, Mort Lachman, Sy Rosen
Sam's Affair

#17 - Sam's Affair

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 18, 1982

Samantha and her friend Scottie from her baseball team decide to sit on the couch and watch some television. As they are intimidated by a love story, they talk about kissing, and they decide to try it. As Julie and Katie walk in on them, they suspect that they have been fooling around, and when the Chief finds out, he tells Samantha that after she kisses a boy she will end up pregnant. Due to this remark, Samantha mistakes that she can get pregnant from kissing, and seeks help from Julie, Nell, and Grandpa, but they aren't very good at it. Finally, when Nell sees Samantha crying in her room, she tells her that she thinks she is pregnant, and Nell tells her never to beleive what her father says because he is full of it, and she decides to teach her the facts of life.

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Directors: Jim Drake
Writers: Chip Keyes, Doug Keyes
The Robbery

#18 - The Robbery

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 25, 1982

The Kaniskis come home to find burglars at work, when they return home from thei Chief's law enforcement officer of the year award ceremony. However, Nell is at a strip club, seeing male exotic dancers, returns home, tricks the robbers by saying there are jewels in the closet in a locked box, gets the Chief's gun, and saves the family from danger. When the reporter shows up, Nell and the girls try to make the Chief look good, even though he was tied up by the robbers, and make it look like he was the hero, but finally, the Chief admits to the reporter that Nell is the real hero, and she did a very important deed for the family, which they will always be grateful of.

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Directors: Dick Harwood
Writers: Ted Bergman
An Unmarried Couple

#19 - An Unmarried Couple

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 1, 1982

Katie's friend Valerie shows up at the Kanisky house, pregnant and due any day. She tells Katie that her boyfriend Jonathan had a fight with her and the two broke up and she has nowhere to go. Valerie is welcome to stay with the family, however, once the Chief finds out she is pregnant and split with her boyfriend, he does not tolerate this. When Jonathan shows up to see Valerie, the Chief insists that he and Valerie marry before the baby is born and he agrees. Valerie and Jonathan quarrel about marriage until he tells her he loves her and asks her and the baby to marry him. In the end, Valerie goes into labor and decides she isn't having the baby until she and Jonathan are married. Julie rushes outside to find the neighborhood priest and the ceremony is performed. Shortly after the ceremony, as the ambulance arrives, Valerie gives birth in the front of the Kanisky house.

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Directors: Will Mackenzie
Writers:
Nell Goes to Jail

#20 - Nell Goes to Jail

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 2, 1982

While Nell is on the phone with Angie, her phone dies out and a second later a man from the phone company takes the phone away. She gets fed up and goes to the phone company to get it back, claiming that she did pay her bill, but the man there (Mr. Swackhammer) says that the computer called her ""Ms. Fong"", and that she is behind 3 months on it. She gets really aggrevated and pulls the phone out and ends up in Jail, where Simpson acts as a person with no typingt skills at all, jotting down Nell's info. Nell calls Hamilton Storm, Glenlawn's news reporter, and he flies to the scene, reporting that Nell had been wrongfully accused of not paying her phone bill. Mr. Swackhammer then gets a call from his boss, telling him to drop the charges on Nell, and Nell is let free. Nell is then rewarded with a bunch of new phones for the house, and installing them is Mr. Swackhammer, the new ""Telephone Installer"".

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Directors: Jim Drake
Writers: J. Stanford Parker
Brother Ed and the Hooker

#21 - Brother Ed and the Hooker

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 9, 1982

At the bowling alley, the Chief meets up with Maxine, a prostitute who is used to nail bad cops. When Ed meets Carl at the bowling alley, he introduces him to Maxine and the two hit it off. When the Chief finds out that Ed and Maxine moved in together, he tells Ed that he will not have his brother living with an ex-prostitute since she has decided to retire from the business. In the end, Ed stands up for himself and Carl accepts his brother and Maxine living together.

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Directors: John Pasquin
Writers: Ted Bergman
Sam's Imaginary Friend

#22 - Sam's Imaginary Friend

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 16, 1982

Katie and Julie go out on a double date as Samantha tells everyone to make room for Debbie Jo, an imaginary friend of hers. The Chief thinks she is crazy and talks to Nell about sending her to a shrink. When the thought of Debbie Jo gets too far, the Chief grounds Samantha and goes up to her room and pretends to beat Debbie Jo up and tell Samantha that he doesn't want to send her to a shrink. Samantha runs to Nell and says she hates her father and then tells Nell that Debbie Jo is her only true friend and that no one plays with her anymore since Julie is now dating and has no time for her anymore. Nell tells Samantha to tell Debbie Jo she has to leave and she agrees. She puts her inside of her Jewelery box as she says a tearful goodbye to her and tells her that her mom's picture will watch over her that she keeps inside of it. Nell comforts Samantha who is finally over Debbie Jo.

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Grandpa's Visit

#23 - Grandpa's Visit

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 23, 1982

When Grandma leaves to go see her sick sister who is about to have an operation, Grandpa is sent to live with the family for a few days. When he shows up he is nothing but trouble, as he wakes up in the middle of the night, bangs a bag of ice cubes on the counter to crush them, causes the garbage disposal to go insane, spies in on a neighbor's backside, and makes Nells puzzle fall the floor, only to vaccuum it up and wake everyone up. Nell gets mad and tells Grandpa that he is causing nothing but noise. When the Chief tells him to stop doing the things he is doing, Grandpa leaves and goes to the mortuary. In the end, Nell shows up and tells Grandpa to come home and that she was sorry for acting the way she did to him.

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Take My Baby, Please

#24 - Take My Baby, Please

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 30, 1982

Katie's friend, Valerie shows up at the Kanisky house with her new baby David. She tells the family that she and her husband Jonathan broke up since he left her for a bleached blonde lady at ""Kentucky Friend Chicken"". Valerie is serious about putting David up for adoption, since she doesn't have a job to afford his upkeep. Nell and the girls take Valerie shopping for baby supplies and leave David with the Chief, who grows attached to him. When the girls return home the Chief tells Valerie that they would have to kill him first before he lets her put David up for adoption and that the family will help her find a job. Nell then takes Valerie to a job interview to become a receptionist and uses her keen sense to drive off fellow competators for the job. In the end, everyone is glad to hear that Valerie got the job and can afford to keep David.

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Directors: Jim Drake
Writers: Ted Bergman
Porko's

#25 - Porko's

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 6, 1982

Nell hosts another one of her PORKO meetings at the house, where the head of the weight loss group shows up. When he arrives, the members of the group mock him for gaining all the weight he lose back. He tells them he is sorry and leaves. Shortly after Nell gets a phone call from him and realizes he is about to jump from the 13th floor of his hotel. Nell and the other members go to the hotel and get in the elevator but it stalls due to everyone insdie of it together. The elevator then safetly makes it's way back to the bottom floor as Nell takes the stairs and the PORKO members take the elevator. In the end, Nell talks the Dr. out of jumping off the balcony and everyone agrees to lose 2 pounds a week and stay on their diets.

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Directors: Jim Drake
Writers: Doug Keyes