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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Webb had an affection for actors and actresses that could play
eccentric roles, as they provided a humorous counterpart to his
straight-man character. Many such actors were called upon several times
for his Mark VII television shows (i.e. Dragnet, Adam 12).
One such actress was Nydia Westman, who was playing eccentric elderly spinsters long before she became elderly herself. Webb used her on 7 separate episodes of Dragnet, usually in the role of a self-absorbed old gal. In "Bunco $9,000," Westman has a field day as a widow who rambles on and on, oblivious to Friday, who patiently tries to inform her that they've recovered $9,000 that she lost. The scene goes on for nearly 7 minutes, which is remarkable in itself, as Webb was known for fast-talking and for cramming as much as possible into a short period of time. The seemingly endless prattling of Westman's character doesn't get boring or old and is a refreshing change of pace from the usual format of the show.
This was one of Westman's last roles; she died of cancer, at the age of 68, a few months after this show aired.
This isn't a bad episode at all, but it certainly isn't one of the more
interesting or earth-shattering. It's worth watching, though, for the
cute lady near the end of the show--she's a treat.
The show begins with a guy reporting that he was cheated out of $9000. The problem is, however, that the money wasn't even his in the first place--he found it. First, the detectives need to find the money and then they must find the rightful owner. It seems that when the guy living on skid row found the money, he was flashing it about and that is where someone got the idea of posing as a detective and "confiscating" the money. So, they track down the thief. But what about the money? Where did it originally come from and how could someone just lose it? As I said, this is a lesser episode. The crime isn't the most serious one and the show is very low on suspense. But, like almost all the episodes of "Dragnet", even the lesser ones are well worth seeing.
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