16 November 1999 | Michael-202
It's Better Than You've Been Told
This series has taken a rap from latter-day critics, who can't stand that it's not "Dragnet" (1952). A few misguided souls actually view it as "camp comedy," and the terminally hip scoff at Sgt. Friday's rabid anti-drug stance.
What makes this series rise above such criticism is the sincerity of all players, its dead-on realism in every situation and performance, and the fact that each story is TRUE. As with practically everything Jack Webb did, this show was ahead of its time in many ways. "Dragnet 1967-70" preached "just say no" twenty years before it became fashionable. Friday's assertions about the addictive nature of drugs, and that marijuana users tend to move on to harder stuff, is still borne out by statistics. The absence of gunplay and wild car chases underscore what a cop's day-to-day life REALLY is. Best of all, the chemistry between Webb and Harry Morgan is unbeatable.
Yes, a lot of the same actors are used over and over, but that was just as true in the 1950's version. Members of the LAPD, and other police departments, assert that "Dragnet" and "Adam-12" (also a Webb production) are still TV's most realistic cop shows. Forget what you've read before and give this version of "Dragnet" a try.