“The Sniffing Accountant” is the 68th episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. It is the fourth episode of the fifth season, and it first aired on October 7, 1993. It was written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and was directed by Tom Cherones.


The episode opens with one of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up comedy bits, centering on the government and the IRS.

The episode then jumps to Monk's Cafe, where Elaine discusses her new boyfriend, Jake Jarmel (played by Marty Rackham), whom she met in her office. She explains how he approached her, and felt her gabardine jacket between his thumb and forefinger rather seductively. The conversation then jumps to Jerry's new sweater, which he found in the back of his closet. At that point, Elaine looks out the window of the cafe and sees Barry Prophet (John Kapelos), Jerry's accountant. They invite him in, but are stunned to find him repeatedly sniffing during their conversation. The group discusses the possibilities that he could be on drugs. Jerry is panic-stricken, considering that Barry could write checks out of his account for illegal narcotics.

George goes home to his parents’ house, and his father explains how he got him an interview with Sid Farkus (Patrick Cronin), the manager of a company that sells women's underwear, in an attempt to get George a job as a bra salesman. Meanwhile, Jerry tells Kramer about the "Barry on drugs" situation, and Kramer is convinced he's a drug addict after hearing he went to the bathroom during their confrontation. At this point, Jerry gives Kramer his sweater because it was too itchy. Next, we see Elaine coming home to her apartment, where Jake is preparing dinner. Initially, they laugh and flirt with each other, but an argument ensues when Elaine gets surprised after finding out Jake didn't put an exclamation point after an important phone message he wrote down. Jake takes extreme exception to Elaine's trivial criticism and breaks up with her, putting an exclamation point after his parting words: “I’M LEAVING!”

To find out once and for all as to whether he's on drugs or not, Kramer, Newman, and Jerry organize a sting. They wait inside a car in front of Barry's workplace, and when they see him going into a bar, Kramer (wearing Jerry's sweater) goes after him. He finds Barry sniffing in the bar, and manages to get a picture of him in a bathroom stall.

George carried through his interview with Sid Farkus and made a wonderful impression, resulting in him getting hired for the job. He becomes so consumed with confidence from his perfectly executed interview that he feels a random woman's shirt between his thumb and forefinger on his way out. The woman (Christa Miller), who turns out to be Farkus’ boss, is enraged by the act and demands that George leaves the company. Farkus obeys her order and fires George, which makes Frank mad (at George). Jerry writes a letter to Barry Prophet, stating that their relationship is officially terminated, and gives the letter to Newman to mail it. Kramer slips the picture he took of Prophet in the bathroom into the letter as well, but in an affair involving a pizza delivery man, Jerry and Kramer conclude that it was actually Jerry's mohair sweater that caused Prophet to sniff involuntarily. Jerry rushes out to stop Newman from mailing the letter.

Newman, who was remarkably confident at the time, felt a random woman's coat between his thumb and forefinger on his way to mail the letter. The woman freaked out and called her boyfriend Johnny to get Newman. Newman runs away in a mad panic, dropping the letter while doing so. The last scene shows Jerry announcing that Barry Prophet filed for bankruptcy, and if he had terminated his relationship with him prior to the filing, he could have gotten his money back.

Notes About Nothing

  • In real life, Jerry Seinfeld's accountant stole money (about US$50,000) from him to buy illegal drugs, thus inspiring the main plotline for this episode.
  • Larry David worked as a bra salesman during his years as a struggling comedian.
  • Although Elaine and her boyfriend, Jake Jarmel, break up during this episode when he doesn't put an exclamation point on a note, they briefly get back together in the season finale, "The Opposite." In the season 6 episode "The Scofflaw", Elaine and Jake presumably broke up again and Elaine plans revenge on him.
  • Christa Miller has a brief role as Sid Farkus' boss, in which George touched her clothes briefly resulting in his firing. She would later play a different role as George's girlfriend in season 6's "The Doodle."
  • Patrick Cronin reprises his role as Sid Farkus again in "The Doorman", where he is considering doing business with Frank Costanza and Kramer after they create a male bra. The line "barring some unforeseen incident" is uttered once again in that episode by Farkus.
  • The lady that had the coat on that Newman rubs in his fingers at the mailbox also plays a co-worker of George's at his old real estate job in Season 2's "The Revenge".
  • According to a 2006 study of punctuation used in a professional setting, women accounted for 73% of all exclamation point use.
Season Five Episodes
The Mango | The Puffy Shirt | The Glasses | The Sniffing Accountant | The Bris | The Lip Reader | The Non-Fat Yogurt | The Barber | The Masseuse | The Cigar Store Indian | The Conversion | The Stall | The Dinner Party | The Marine Biologist | The Pie | The Stand In | The Wife | The Raincoats, Part 1 | The Raincoats, Part 2 | The Fire | The Hamptons | The Opposite