Dragnet: Just The Facts Ma’am


“Just the Facts”

Just the facts is a phrase associated with Joe Friday from “Dragnet” We remember too Joe Friday saying at the beginning of each show “This is the city: Los Angeles, California. I work here I carry a badge.

“Dragnet” was a realistic police drama starring Jack Webb as Joe Friday and Henry Morgan as his partner Bill Gannon.  Both came across as very dry and I can’t ever remember Joe becoming flustered.

It’s hard to pick a favorite since I think I watched every episode and I know I enjoyed each one.  Here are a few examples of their show:

“Homicide” 1969

Joe Friday and Bill Gannon are working out of the homicide division.  They are called to investigate the murder of a pretty career girl found hogtied in her apartment.  The 91 year old manager of the apartment building, Calvin Lampe (Burt Mustin), inserts himself into the investigation.  Joe and Bill are suspicious when he points out details he observes about the crime.  The cops decide Mr. Lampe is a prime suspect and they invite him to join them at the precinct.

While they are questioning him their boss Capt. Hugh Brown comes in and recognizes the suspect.  He is a retired chief of detectives and Capt. Brown’s good friend.

In the end Mr. Lampe through good old fashioned detective work is a big help to Friday and Gannon in solving the crime.

“The Senior Citizen” 1967

In this episode Joe Friday and Bill Gannon are trying to solve a string of very tidy daytime home burglaries. They look for a single thread to tie these burglaries together. Finally they realize that all the homes were empty and that this fact had been advertised by either wedding notices or death notices in the newspaper.

Shortly thereafter Joe and Bill capture a suspect in his 80s.  This cocky gentleman will not admit to the other burglaries, but he does brag about his skills.

Joe goads him by telling him if he was so good he would not have been caught.  This causes the suspect to begin to brag about his other successful robberies and so Joe and Bill know they have the right man.

“The Big High”, 1967

Joe Friday and Bill Gannon receive a visit at the precinct from a wealthy grandfather worried about his granddaughter.  He says his daughter and her husband, Jean and Paul Shipley, smoke marijuana and he fears for the child’s welfare.

Joe and Bill pay a visit to the family and the do admit they have smoked pot, but they will not allow a search of their home.

Joe and Bill confer with another policewoman who specializes in child abuse cases and she too says there is nothing they can do at this time.

Later on they arrest someone for possession and this person admits he received the marijuana free from the Shipleys.  This give the police reason to conduct a raid on the home.  As it happens, a pot party is going on when they raid the home.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Shipley are high.

Joe and Bill ask where the child is since her playpen is empty.  The parents rush to the bathroom only to find the tub overflowing and the baby deceased.

The father is charged with involuntary manslaughter and the mother is placed in a mental institution having gone made from grief.



  1. Tracy says:

    You picked a few good ones from the 1967-70 series. “The Big High” was one of my favorites too. Another good one, in my opinion, was “The Shooting Board”, where Joe has to face the heat after shooting a suspect in self-defense, but the shooting team couldn’t find the slug. Somehow, I knew Joe was going to get out of it, but we sweated along with him through the ordeal.

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