Dragnet, the popular American radio series airing from 1949-1957, is arguably the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history.
Enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday and his partners gave audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers. The show took its name from the police term dragnet, meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects. Actor and producer Jack Webb’s aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media.
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