Although Taxi had built up a loyal band of followers and accumulated several industry awards during its first two seasons on ABC, the ratings had steadily declined, prompting the network to mark the series' third season by moving the show from Tuesdays at 9:30 to Wednesdays at 9:00, opposite NBC's Diff'rent Strokes and a weekly CBS movie. Developments during season three included another rift in the rocky relationship between Louie DePalma (Danny DeVito), the obnoxiously dictatorial dispatcher of the Sunshine Cab Company, and his erstwhile girlfriend Zena Sherman (played by DeVito's real-life Significant Other Rhea Perlman); an uncomfortable reunion between cabbie Alex Rieger (Judd Hirsch) and his oppressively neurotic ex-wife Phyllis (Louise Lasser); a hilarious romantic triangle involving cabbie Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner), her co-worker Tony Banta (Tony Danza) and her new boyfriend Kirk (John David Carson) (it so happened that Kirk would rather have linked up with macho Tony than with flustered Elaine!); Tony's decision to retire from the ring (at least temporarily) after enduing one too many KOs; and a few surprising glimpses into the past of zoned-out former hippie "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd). Undoubtedly the most memorable plot twist involved Sunshine Cab's sweet-natured immigrant mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), who after undergoing a spectacular personality change re-emerged as slimy swinging bachelor-about-town Vic Ferrari! In a related development, Carol Kane made her first appearance as Simka Dahblitz, Latka's countrywoman and eventual sweetheart. season three's by-now obligatory two-part "retrospection" episode was "On the Job," in which the cab company briefly closed shop, forcing the cabbies to look for "civilian" work. The fact that Taxi's overall ratings continued to decline during its third season was mitigated somewhat when the series took home six Emmy Awards in the spring of 1981.
by Rovi synopsis