Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Administrative Vice DR-29" or "The One Without Gannon"

Today we are going along with Joe to take down a crooked cop. Let's get to it.

This episode is only nominally sans Gannon. There is another episode which is nearly Gannon-less as well. In both of these episodes, Joe operates with a new partner. You'll never guess who it is!

This set is nearly as sterile as some of season one and season two for Parker Center, but again, it's pink instead of green. No bueno.

Freeze, you know who it is - It's me, bitches.

I'm not a baddy…or am I?

Three-shot, drapes, louvres. I don't know about you, but I wish the louvers were still the distorted downtown L.A. backdrop from season one.


A note about hand shots - Usually all of the hand closeups are Jack Webb's hand(s).
Here, you can observe (probably) Anthony Eisley's pasty white hand.

Charlie - Red


We also get another hit of Elaine Devry.

Wooden phone booth with a pre-Bell Labs redesign pay phone, typical for our "shady" sets.

Bookmaking is gambling, but with organized crime.
So…mafia - or as Dragnet calls it, "the syndicate."

Anthony Eisley is all style smoking his cigarette back there, while Jack cradles the phone.

New set: banquettes, cool table lamps, and backlit plants.

Interesting and crazy economical production style!


"Charlie Red always has fire for his friends."

There is a nice overt move from the saturated colors of the bar sets to the pastel neutral blues of Carol's apartment:

It actually is a pretty stylish episode.

One thing that I love is when Clark Howat is in the Carol's apartment set and he rolls the side chair over to the sofa. 

Yes. Low upholstered chairs on obscured smart casters. That is one hell of a detail. If someone would recreate that in their midcentury set and have a character slide the chair, heads would explode. 


Weren't we trying to bust a bookmaking ring or something?

This shot is crazy. The short guy about to be eaten by a plant, the tall guy next to the low picture with a giant orange butterfly over his head? Flowers between the men?

We could call this the wallpaper episode.

Wallpaper, wallpaper!

Having the drapes in excess of the size of the window was also totally normal.

Elaine Devry in the same outfit in the morning in your apartment, not normal.

James Doherty was writing lines for this week's very small cast; some lines have a pulpy feel in this episode. I think it's a top twenty episode; maybe a top ten. Art Director John E. Chilberg, II is wearing Russell Kimball's stylistic hat, looks like.

The curve of the wing chair is nice, but the lamp is still a terrifying departure.

Let me be clear. I'm not anti-drum lamp shade. If anything, I'm anti-cone shaped lampshade.
White, volumetric papery shades are nothing but unimaginative. 

That's a neat bell pull dividing the men. 

Are you ready for the money shot?

(Mad Men did this one when Roger Sterling was tripping with Timothy Leary, but without the hundo.)

"Pew pew pew!"

This is a fantastic establishing shot.

It captures exactly what economical high-rise modernism stood for in 1968.

This is it. It is firm. It does not change.
It is formulaic. It is delicate. An algorithm for organization, optimism (if briefly), and practicality.

Modernism says, 'let us be rational.'

Now, here is what takes place inside of the modern apartment building.

Some sad plants. A drum lampshade, flowers…
Wait, could that be? 
A curvaceous critique buried in blue and gold - the key residential colors of Dragnet Style.

John McCarthy and/or Sturtevant somewhere found a ceramic blue and gold cat for Carol's apartment. Best thing in the room.

Who was Carol? She is uncredited. Was she Joe Friday's "Special Lady?"
With a headshot and some imagination, they guys have created a character that doesn't exist.

She is literally seeping out of the walls by way of wooden mouldings on both doors and all of the walls. Dark blue wall to wall carpet. The absurd French-looking side table. (Just paint it gold, already!)

Clark Howat engages the most masculine thing in the room - a gold chair. Joe is on her floral print sofa against a floral pillow. If that isn't weird enough, John McCarthy and/or Sturtevant used prints under glass, which they never do, or if they do, it never shows.

Carol's apartment brings out the bourgeois in weird.

A few weeks and an art director ago, we were on Russell Kimball's turf in the fourth victim's apartment which looked good enough to have been appropriated from another production.

At last, another wooden phone booth. By contrast, this bar set is supposed to be gritty, right?

There are actually some extras back there. The Usual Bar Set is swinging! The bartender is wearing a red vest instead of a red or orange jacket.

What is the world coming to?



I wonder if they had wrap parties in The Usual Bar Set.


It has never come to life quite like it has in this episode.

A symmetrical gold American eagle is above the cash register.
Large, shimmering tropical fish flank the shelves of bottles and glassware.

The Payphone Bank Set is still nice - the wall sort of looks like it was faux-finished with vomit.
I like the blue tiled column, though. It's sweet. 

Did they pull that secretary from the very first shot and recycle her into the very same episode?


Scroll up and look - her hair is amazing.


Love the clock shot!

Hold the 
But it's meeee……..clark howat….

Oh, Hi, Anthony.


A bit of a treat, here - our epilogue with Bill - in an unexplored nook of the Gannon household.

See you next week.

Christopher Lawrence Drucker
Now serving one to fourteen
years in the State Penitentiary,
San Quentin, California.

Twenty-five other suspects were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, obstructing justice and violating gambling laws. All have served jail terms and are now on probation.


Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Anthony Eisley as Lieutenant Chris Drucker
Clark Howat as Captain Nelson
Elaine Devry as Maggie Hinton
John Dennis as Bookie Agent

Additional Notes

Art Direction - John E. Chilberg, II
Set Decor - John McCarthy & John Sturtevant
Costumes - Vincent Dee

Written by James Doherty

Aired 6 February 1969

I'm being dismissed,
Suzy Dragnet


  1. Looks like Bill had some tummy trouble cause that blue bottle on his table looks like Briosci. (Eat too much, drink too much, take Briosci, take Briosci). Don't see that around much anymore. BTW: I saw ELO in 1977 at Madison Square Garden. Very good band. Take care, Kenny P.

    1. Hi Kenny,
      Was that the tour with the huge spaceship on stage? I read about it. That thing was legendary.

    2. Suzy - I don't remember the spaceship. We had limited view seats behind the stage and could not see the drummer or the back area. I think the big hit at that time was a song called Telephone Line. Kenny P

  2. Love Dragnet in color, love your blog! I'm watching the series and Netflix and I am up to episode 80. Only 18 left! I was starting to feel very depressed. What was I going to do without Dragnet in my life? I think I will go back and watch the series and pay more attention to the details, I totally missed the rolling chair in Carol's apartment. Great job, thank you! Keely S.

    1. Thank you so much, Keely. I'm so glad you found us! I'm going back to work on the rest of the series.
      We'll always have Adam-12 to look forward to.
      Suzy Dragnet

  3. The best part of this episode is when Friday gets all flirty with Elaine Devry in Drucker's apartment. It just seems so out of character for Joe, but must have been an arrow in his quiver he fired quite often. I mean, look at his girlfriend. She's a real dish, as well. Here's a guy who lives on a police sergeant's salary, doesn't seem very funny, and to be superficial, isn't that handsome. Yet, he's surrounded by babes.

    If you really want to get to see Joe in action, watch Vice DR-30. Joe gets super flirty with the girl at the hotel bar. It seems weird, but I'm wondering if this is more of a reflection of the jazz-loving, Chesterfield smoking, cronyistic multiple-marrying Jack Webb. You'll need a shower afterwards.

    1. I never thought that Joe was "getting friendly" with Carol. I thought they lived in the same building, but maybe house-sat for each other? I don't know.
      In the episode "Joe's Apartment" he's dating Charlotte, but we never know anything about her. Policewoman Dorothy Miller was also always a possibility, they abandoned that by season two, however.
      He was a complex man.

      Great to read you, Matthew.
      Suzy Dragnet

    2. In one of the episodes Dorothy Miller sez her 9 year old daughter made the cookies Joe takes a very small bite from (did he think Dorothy's daughter put hashish in the cookie?) Yet Gannon always seems to be trying to set them up. So is Dorothy Miller a widow, divorced, and unmarried mother (hardly seems possible) or married but on the make? An unsolved Dragnet mystery.

  4. I remember watching this specific episode, probably some time in the 70's, when I was about 12 years old and Dragnet used to run every night on channel 11 WPIX here in New York. My mother, who didn't watch much TV, walked into the room and saw Anthony Eisley and said something like, "Wow, that guy is gorgeous." So I guess he had something the ladies liked.

    1. Yes! He is the most handsome Dragnet Bad Guy for this blogger, most definitely!

      Suzy Dragnet

  5. At various times during the 1950s-version of the series, Joe had two actual flesh and blood girlfriends, Ann Baker (played by Dorothy Abbott) and Sharon Maxwell (Marjie Millar). Basically, Jack Webb was responding to fan mail requests to add a girlfriend to the show, but they abandoned the idea fairly quickly.

  6. Regarding Jack Webb, his desirability and the comments above: HE WAS ONCE MARRIED TO JULIE LONDON. Have you seen Julie London? Case closed, I say.

    BTW: The other night I saw a very young and very slender Jack Webb in "The Men" (1950 - Marlon Brando's first film), where he played a disabled vet. a VERY uncharacteristic role. Check it out.

    "A crooked cop fishes from a lonely pier." - Words for the ages.

    1. I just looked up Ms. London - case closed, indeed. Jeepers!

      I am not up to speed on Jack's films. Will have to speed up. In the meantime, I have to make you some more blog entries!! You're gaining on me!

      Suzy Dragnet

  7. Pretty sure reading your own Miranda rights would not fly in a court room. Was watching Live PD, someone asked why they read it from a card even though they know it by hart, it is to make sure it is to be read exactly as it should be without any question by a court.