Sgt. Joe Friday is called back from vacation to work with his partner, Off. Bill Gannon, on a missing persons case. Two amateur female models and a young war widow have vanished, having ... See full summary »
The classic police drama is updated for the 1960s. No-nonsense Sgt. Joe Friday and his partner, Officer Bill Gannon, tackle traditional police cases and face new challenges such as LSD, race riots, and public service TV shows. Written by
This was a great show. Unfortunately, it does appear a little dated today--almost 40 years later. Also, too many people have discounted this show because they have been warped by seeing crap like the DRAGNET movie starring Dan Aykroyd. For the time it was made, this was one of the very best cop shows on TV--if not the very best.
Unlike the earlier incarnation of the TV show that Jack Webb produced and starred in from the 1950s, this version is less violent and more subdued--showing a lot of the more mundane aspects of police work. And, the show was meant to be more entertainment AND public service work to build support for our cops. The earlier show was more important just for entertainment. Plus, in this series, Detective Smith has been replaced by Detective Gannon (played by Harry Morgan).
So why did I like it so much? Well, aside from its realism, I think that Jack Webb's interpretation of Joe Friday was probably the coolest square guy I have ever seen. Yes, he was rigid and by-the-book, but he had the absolute best lines in TV history. For every scumbag he had the greatest snappy comebacks--sometimes making the entire episode worth while.
While not every episode clicked (some were too preachy or dull), there were so many great episodes. For example, the several episodes starring Burt Mustin, the Blue Boy episode, the white supremacist (with perhaps the greatest Friday one-liner), the guy who stole superhero memorabilia and thought HE was a superhero, etc. are all wonderful examples of fantastic TV. If you see one episode and it doesn't win you over, try a few more--I can guarantee if you give it a fair try you'll be hooked.
By the way, the best of the four seasons is the first. Part-way through season 2 and continuing into the series the shows often were more desk-bound and often concerned more mundane things like public relations and the like. While not bad, these later episodes were a bit claustrophobic and lacked the zip of the earlier ones.
PS--while the style is VERY different, try to find a copy of the DRAGNET movie Jack Webb made in the 1950s. It's one of the best Film Noir movies and is a very tough and gritty film--and VERY different from DRAGNET 1967.
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