Dragnet (franchise)

Radio, television, and film series, mostly about LAPD detective Joe Friday / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dragnet is an American radio, television and film series, following the exploits of dedicated Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Detective Joe Friday and his partners, created by actor and producer Jack Webb. The show took its name from the police term "dragnet", a term for a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.

Quick facts: Dragnet, Created by, Starring, Narrated by, O...
Dragnet opening frame from the 1950s version
Created byJack Webb
Narrated by
Opening themeExcerpt from Miklós Rózsa's score for The Killers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons
  • 14 (total)
  • 8 (1951–1959)
  • 4 (1967–1970)
  • 2 (1989–1991 and 2003–2004)
No. of episodes
  • 762 (total)
  • 314 (radio 1949–1957)
  • 276 (TV 1951–1959)
  • 98 (TV 1967–1970)
  • 52 (TV 1989–1991)
  • 22 (TV 2003–2004)
Executive producerJack Webb
ProducerJack Webb
Production locationsLos Angeles, U.S.
Running time30 minutes (1951–1959; 1967–1970; 1989–1991)
60 minutes (2003–2004)
Production companies
Original networkNBC (1951–1959, 1967–1970)
Syndication (1989–1991)
ABC (2003–04)
Original releaseDecember 16, 1951 (1951-12-16) 
December 4, 2004 (2004-12-04) (last run)

Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural crime drama in American media history. The series portrayed police work as dangerous and heroic, and helped shape public perception of law enforcement in the 20th century. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers.[1] Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting.

Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media. The show's cultural impact is such that seven decades after its debut, elements of Dragnet are familiar to those who have never seen or heard the program:

  • "Danger Ahead", the ominous, instantly recognizable four-note introduction to the brass and timpani theme music (though its origins date to Miklós Rózsa's score for the 1946 film version of The Killers).
  • The show's opening narration: "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." Over time, the "only" and "ladies and gentlemen" were eventually dropped, and the television version replaced "hear" with "see".