Two homicide detectives investigate the brutal shotgun murder of a crime syndicate member.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vic Perrin ...
Deputy D.A. Adolph Alexander (as Victor Perrin)
Dick Cathcart ...
Ray Pinker (as Olan Soulé)
Monte Masters ...


Saturday, April 9: A known bookie named Miller Starkie has been "cut in half" by a sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun. Working out of Intelligence Division, Sgt. Joe Friday and Off. Frank Smith piece together what little evidence they have, interview acquaintances, intimidate witnesses, interrogate suspects to the point of harassment, utilize a Minifon and a wiretap, and testify before the Grand Jury in a tireless effort to catch and convict Starkie's killers. Written by Michael J. Hayde <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Straight from Police Files-The Never-Told Trackdown of the Red-Spot Criminals! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Original Dragnet  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Malcolm Atterbury. See more »


The murder scene is an open lot bounded by Loma Vista, 3rd, Wentworth and Rachel. These are actual streets in the LA area but do not intersect or form a block. See more »


[Hamilton and Friday read the Dead Body, or DB, Report on Miller Starkey]
Captain James E. Hamilton, Intelligence: Shotgun, extreme close range, double-O. Starkey was hit four times, first two cut him in half.
Sgt. Joe Friday: The second two turned him into a crowd.
See more »


Followed by Dragnet (1989) See more »


Theme From Dragnet (Danger Ahead)
Music by Miklós Rózsa and Walter Schumann
See more »

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User Reviews

Great 1950's period crime drama
23 January 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is so true to the atmosphere of the 1950's that you could show it in a history class, but it's a lot of fun. Jack Webb is fantastically straight as Joe Friday; he never had a better role. He speaks every word with a cement-like conviction; he's always got a snappy answer for every sarcastic criminal. Everyone in the movie is great, but the standouts are Virginia Gregg as the murdered man's alcoholic and handicapped wife, Stacy Harris as Max Troy, insincere head of the crime syndicate, and Richard Boone as the police captain, who says to his men with angry authority "all right, bumper to bumper tail; get up with em in the morning and put em to bed at night".

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