Season 3, in particular, on "Dragnet" was hugely different and not as satisfying as the first season. Seeds of this were seen in the second season as well--episodes that focused on unusual topics--such as community relations and the more mundane aspects of police work--not the investigations or field work you usually see in police shows. Some of these episodes were pretty good but many came off as preachy and perhaps too far from the types of shows that made season 1 so darn good.
This one is about a conference at Lake Arrowhead. Friday and Gannon have been invited (i.e., ordered) to attend along with dozens of other officers to discuss improving community relations. They do this by meeting in small groups. Early on, the subject of race relations is brought up by a cop who obviously harbors a lot of racial prejudices. It's obvious that he's a jerk and the group goes on the attack towards his offensive remarks. However preachy and obvious this is, I appreciated how the show also dealt with covert racism. While not as obvious and disgusting, a black cop finally admits that he, too, favors "his own people". Fortunately, while the atmosphere gets a bit heated, by the end everybody has learned something and they're all better people. Then they held hands and sang. Well, not really...but I was half expecting it.
By criticism of the show is the obviousness of the racism by the white cop. It wasn't hard to notice that he was a jerk. And, it came off as a bit unreal. Still, the show was trying and at least deserves kudos for broaching prejudices--something other shows generally assume doesn't exist.
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