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Dragnet's Heavy-Handed Anti-Drug Episode

Updated on June 2, 2013

I felt like I was being hit on the head with a frying pan

My local cable company has a channel called ME TV on their line-up. It features nothing but old classic shows 24/7. Sometimes however, there’s an episode that is really a sign of the times. Dragnet did a special episode about the evils of marijuana. Watching it, I could see how more subtle such episodes are handled these days. I felt like I was being hit on the head with an iron frying pan.

Some man came to Joe Friday about his daughter and son-in-law toking weed and he was worried about the safety of his granddaughter. So off he and Gannon go to visit the dopers and try to talk some sense into them. The couple seems like a pair of Yuppies. The wife has quite the attitude on her as Friday gives her his anti-drug speech about how smoking weed leads you to become hooked on other drugs. Her response was, “That only happens to losers. It doesn’t happen to people like me.” Her whole attitude screamed, “You just don’t get it, pig.” She didn’t call him a pig but her attitude screamed it.

Then in strolls her stoner husband all dressed up in his nice suit minus the jacket. “Hey, man, one day weed is going to be legal, man.” And Friday’s response is, “Sure it is.” His tude screamed, “Not if I have anything say about it, punk.” It was like watching a Republican and Democrat on the issue. Somehow I don’t think Friday would have appreciated knowing that marijuana has been shown to be a help to terminally ill patients. In his view it's black with no areas of gray to the issue.

I was waiting for the wife to ask Friday if he had a search warrant when he asked if he could search the premises. Maybe her brain was too fried. I would have told him, “No, you’re not searching my house unless you’ve got a search warrant.”

Anyway, he picks up a dude whose been toking the weed who tells Friday of a pot party going on and Friday’s eyes light up with glee that it’s at his favorite Yuppies apartment, so he and Gannon burst in without a search warrant. They’re having a Thursday pot party, when they usually have one on the weekend. Proof their drug use is getting out of control and they’re becoming addicted. They can’t like wait two days for the weekend. The stoner husband was going to have to go to work the next day with a pot hangover, if one has such a thing.

Anyway, Friday asks the million dollar question, “Where’s your baby?” and the wife is in this drug haze and she’s all like, “What’s a baby?” Then it hits her. She left the baby in the bathtub with the water running and it’s floating dead in the tub now. And I’m like, “Are you serious? That’s where you’re going with this?” Although I should have known from the moment the grandfather says he's worried about the safety of the kid.

The upshot is the husband goes on trial and gets probation, but his wife doesn’t go on trial. See she’s gone nuts and is most likely residing in the local looney bin. And this could happen to you if you start toking the weed. You do have to wonder why the wife got it worse than the husband. Maybe because she gave Friday more tude than the stoner hubby did.

I’m so anti-drug I don’t even take an aspirin if I’ve got a headache. I can’t stand the smell of marijuana and when I smell it I hold my breath afraid if I inhale the smell I’ll get high. Brings new meaning to not inhaling. In short, I know nothing about drugs except from what I learned on TV, but this episode was so heavy-handed it was ridiculous. But back in the time this show was made there wasn’t stuff like Ecstasy and a host of other drugs, and marijuana was considered the big bad ugly. As I said, this episode is a sign of the times back then.

While the episode was a bit out-dated, I did learn something from it. I never knew what a roach was. Whenever i heard the word roach I thought of a cockroach. I thought maybe it was a holder you used to toke the weed. It’s actually half a joint. Now I know.

When I was a kid I asked this legionnaire wearing a kilt what a honky was and he told me I should figure out for myself. Since then that’s what I’ve done. If I don’t know what something is, I pretend that I do and wait for enough verbal clues to figure out what it is. That’s how I came to the conclusion it was a sort of cigarette holder. Yeah, I’m the uncoolest person in the world.

It was an interesting episode. It ranks right up there with Reefer Madness.


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