***SPOILERS*** Called to investigate a sorry story about two children going from house to house begging for food in one of L.A's richest and exclusive neighborhoods where the medium price of a house is $50,000.00 in 1954 dollars, that's about $400,000.00 now in 2014, Sgt. Joe Friday and his partner Officer Frank Smith, Jack Webb & Ben Alexander, find the two child beggars 10 year old Richie Kessler and his sister 6 year old Judy living in squalor and unattended in their house with their mom Jean Kessler nowhere to be found. What's even worse the children's 22 month old brother Johnny is in a coma from a major head wound and in danger of losing his life.
Putting the two, Richie & Judy, in a homeless children shelter and little Jonny to the hospital emergency ward both Friday and Smith check out the whereabouts of their mom Mrs. Kessler who's later found dead drunk in a sleaze-ball hotel in South L.A. Not at all caring what the condition of her kids, whom she abandoned, Mrs. Kessler is only concerned where her lover, who had since checked out on her, Larry Bates is. Putting Mrs. Kessler in the police station drunk tank to dry out Sgt. Friday and Officer Smith do track down "Handsom Larry" only to find out that he doesn't give a crap about his former lover Mrs. Kessler and her kids. All "Handsome" Larry" is interested in is to get back in a game of poker that the two, Sgt. Friday & Officer Smith ,had interrupted.
***SPOILERS*** The sad ending has little Johnny pass away from blunt force injury to the skull and the still drunk Mrs. Kessler ending up 4 to six years behind bars for 2nd degree homicide. Tragic as the story is child abuse by the victims parents, in this case mother, is just if not even more prevalent today then it was in the 1950's when this episode of "Dragnet" was made. And with the explosion of out of wedlock births and one parent families today it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Which is the sad and hard truth about this very disturbing subject.
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