Monday, February 1, 2021

Review of "Dragnet: The Big Grifter, season 7 episode 38" of the original series

 Review of

Dragnet: The Big Grifter, season 7 episode 38 of the original series

Four out of five stars

The original police drama that was rather lowkey

 It was always fun to mock the statement, “The story that you are about to see is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Yet, that was one of the charming attractions of the original “Dragnet” series, the basic idea that it was a true story. In most cases the crimes were so routine that the viewer needed no persuasion as to the basis in truth. Signature characteristics were the deadpan dialog, delivery and background music. There was also very little in the way of actual violence and the crimes were generally solved by routine police work combined with perseverance.

 This episode has a simple premise for the scam being played on the victims. The scammers read of deaths and then go to the survivors and claim that the deceased had ordered some gifts for them but had never paid. It is a simple scam, but the crooks are just too greedy, passing off merchandise that is total junk. For example, the watches have no internal mechanism.

 Officers Friday and Smith follow some basic leads until they catch one gang member. After some obvious and simplistic hardball tactics, the man confesses and tells them about the other gang members. From there, it is a straightforward act of playing one against the other before Friday and Smith encounter the leader of the con artists. In an act of going off the norm for the time, the boss of the crime syndicate is some distance from the stereotype crime boss.

 Like all “Dragnet” episodes of the fifties, this story is not mentally challenging or has anything in the area of modern police action. Webb keeps it all deadpan and even when he gets “excited” you have to put it in quotes. This and all other episodes of the original “Dragnet” are a lesson in the very early years of television when people were making the principles up as they went along.


No comments:

Post a Comment