(TV Series)

(1952)

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8/10
One of the better episodes
Steve-27525 October 2008
Friday and Jacobs are called to the apartment of a man who claims his wife killed herself. However, the crime scene and the neighbors suggest murder.

This is a really good episode because of the way the boys and the crime lab worked together to solve the case. It looked simple on the surface, but became more complicated as time went on.

All of these episodes focus on minutia and the mundane aspects of police work, but that actually adds to the realism and keeps your attention as you wonder if that particular detail mattered.

I found this episode and others on www.archive.org. Recommended.
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8/10
Murder, or Not?
gordonl5610 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
DRAGNET "The Big Casing" 1952

This is the 13th episode of the 283 episode run of the original Police Detective series, DRAGNET. This series ran from 1951 to 59.

Sgt Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and Detective Ed Jacobs (Barney Philips) are working the day watch out of Homicide Division. They get a call to an apartment building about a possible murder. A woman has been found shot and it looks like the husband did it. The man, Harry Bartel, swears that the wife had put a gun to her head and blew out her brains. They had been arguing and the woman had grabbed up Bartel's ex-army .45 and did the deed.

The problem here is that the evidence does not jive with what Bartel is saying. The main bit is the shell casing which is in the other room from the gun, too far to have ejected there. The boys from the crime lab are called in to take a look. The forensic boy's early investigation seems to agree with the Detective's take, it is murder. Bartel is cuffed and hauled off downtown for a bit of "face to face".

The Detectives lay into the man with how they see the event happening. They figure that Bartel had become upset during the argument with his wife and shot her. Other people in the apartment building are interviewed and they all say the couple were always screaming and yelling. The Detectives are sure they have their man.

However, the take on the crime scene changes as the forensic team completes their exam. It now looks like Bartel was telling the truth about the woman killing herself. Gunpowder residue tests and ballistics work prove Bartel innocent.

This is a rather interesting episode featuring an early take on what would become the CSI type program of the future. Jack Webb also directs and shows a firm hand on the material.
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9/10
A really neat episode....
MartinHafer16 December 2013
"The Big Casing" is a really, really good episode of "Dragnet". The plot offers some wonderful twists and demonstrates that excellent forensic work was occurring back in the dark ages of the 1950s! I say this because shows like "CSI" and "NCIS" would make it appear like this aspect of police work is brand-new...which it certainly isn't.

The show begins with what appears to be a simple open and shut case of murder. A man says that his wife killed herself but the clues all make it appear as if he's lying and he killed her himself. After all, they constantly fought, he had a bad temper and it was his gun. But, as the episode progresses, you are struck by how the man INSISTS that in spite of this and so much more that he is innocent. Sergeants Friday (Jack Webb) and Jacobs (Barney Phillips) are just about to arrest the guy when they get a phone call from their forensics expert--and he has a few surprises to offer.

I really liked this episode. It was very well acted, had a great story and you could follow the forensics work step by step to see how they ended up dissecting the story. Fascinating and among the best episodes I've seen from the show. However, it sure was a lot more graphic than the later "Dragnet" series--which you'll most likely notice if you give this one a viewing.
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