- Rare Dragnet 1950s Episode "The Big Smoke"
- Vintage Promos
- Closed Captioned
Proving remarkably durable despite its venerable reputation and occasional lapses into silent majority hysteria (especially in the episodes involving drug abuse), the new Dragnet launched its third season on NBC in the fall of 1968, under the forward-looking title Dragnet: 1969. The setting is still "The City: Los Angeles, California," and the leading characters are still two of the LAPD's finest, Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb, who, of course, also produced and directed the series), and Sgt. Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan). The season opener, "Public Affairs - DR-07," finds Joe Friday on the hot seat when he guests on a liberal TV debate show to defend the police force; among his detractors is a hippie played by "Don Sturdy" -- actually future WKRP in Cincinnati regular Howard Hesseman. "Management Services" dramatizes the actual events surrounding the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King's murder, with Joe and Bill trying to keep the public calm despite impending street violence and unchecked false rumors. "Homicide - DR-06" is, despite its title, essentially a comic episode, as Joe tries to enjoy a dinner at the home of Bill and Eileen Gannon despite a steady stream of annoying interruptions. Likewise light in tone despite its grim trappings is "Homicide - DR-22," in which the detectives solve a grisly murder with the help of an extremely alert and perceptive 91-year-old apartment manager (played by the ever-delightful Burt Mustin). Of course, the season yields quite a few anti-drug episodes, notably "Narcotics - DR-16," in which a group of distressingly clean-cut high schoolers set up the Smart Teen Club with the motto "S.O.S." (Stamp Out Stupidity); and "Narcotics - DR-21, wherein a pair of funky potheads are caught with the goods by a marijuana-sniffing police dog. ~ Hal Erickson