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YMMV / Dragnet

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  • Acceptable Targets: Gypsies. Played with as it's only gypsies that commit an actual crime, just like anyone else.
  • Anvilicious
  • Awesome Music
    • DUN Dun DUN DUN...
    • The techno music Friday and Streebek dance to at the PAGAN rally in the Affectionate Parody. As well as the theme music.
    • There's a reason "Funny Man" (used in "The Big Bar" as the killer's favorite tune) was so popular.
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    • The rock-and-roll Standard Snippet that plays at most teen parties in Sixties Dragnet (and early seasons of Adam-12).
  • Ear Worm: BUHMM-ba-DUM-DUM...
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Remember Goldman from "The Big Hammer"? Well, his call sign is 1-Adam-12, which means he's Malloy's partner who was KIA not long after.
    • In the intro to "The Big Kidnap", when Friday is talking about how most people work to earn a living, one shot is of Ed White's spacewalk. The day after the episode aired, White and his two crewmates for a pending mission, Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffee, died in a tragic fire.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the movie, Streebeck has a hamburger phone in his apartment. Twenty years later, the hamburger phone would make an appearance in Juno and became a small meme for a while (even leading to a spike in hamburger phone sales). However, Streebeck's phone seems to work much better.
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    • Hilarious or Harsher in Hindsight: In the third season of the '60s series, one episode dealt with Friday and Gannon's efforts to recruit more minorities into the force from a group of high-school graduates. One of the prospectives is none other than one Orenthal James Simpson.
    • Tom Hanks performing the 1987 film's Theme Tune Rap "City of Crime" alongside Dan Aykroyd is humorously prescient of his son Chet Hanks' own rap career.
    • Any time in the radio series that Harry Morgan (who later played Bill Gannon) is voicing a character who's not happy to have Friday and Romero nosing around.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The sweet little old lady from "The Big Grandma", whose half-professional, half-amateur MO for check forging made her very hard to identify, let alone catch.
    • The swindlers in "The Phony Police Racket" who successfully produced a swindle that appealed to the selfish and selfless alike. For the selfish, there was a card that supposedly entitled the bearer to preferential treatment from police nationwide. For the selfless, all monies spent were supposedly to help the next of kin of cops killed in the line of duty.
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  • Memetic Mutation: Aside from the implacable deadpan police investigator archetype, there is of course BUHMM-BA-DUM-DUM.
  • Mood Dissonance: The original series was a serious drama, yet the 1987 film was Played for Laughs. (Sure, it was an Affectionate Parody, but still...)
  • Narm:
    • This might have been horrifying back when the first episode premiered, but the introduction of the first perp (of the 60's revival show) they bring in might invoke humor. They find a young man with his head buried in the ground, but clearly alive. Friday and Gannon bring his head shockingly reveal one side of his face is blue and the gold with a dramatic scare chord!
    • The aforementioned "City of Crime" music video. While it is a catchy tune, it's pretty odd to see a full-scale techno/rap video that would have more in common in a work like Xanadu than a semi-serious police procedural. Especially when you have actors like Tom Hanks and Dan Ackyroyd, who are, to a modern audience, more straight-laced actors absolutely hamming it up in more traditional, reserved roles like Sargent Joe Friday.
    • Pretty much any of the 60's episodes that deal with marijuana will be full of this to modern viewers.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Averted on the '60s show. Jack Webb used a regular group of actors to play various roles, (see You Look Familar on the main page) and in such a way that even if you did recognize that person from a previous episode, it was just as likely as not that the character would turn out to be the episode's perpetrator. However, most of the actors had a 'type' of character they were known for playing, and you could reliably depend on the knowledge that if a character had played a cop before, he was playing a cop again, or if he had been a non-cop, he wasn't likely to be a cop this time out.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The giant anaconda used for the Virgin Sacrifice in the 1987 movie. It doesn't help that it's in a dimly-lit tank of sewer water.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Greg Brady is an altar boy in the third and final version of the 'red wagon for Christmas' episode (which was done on radio and both TV versions).
    • Julius from The Big Boys was Leonard Nimoy's television debut, though it's chiefly the voice that's recognizable.
  • Shocking Swerve: In the 1951 radio episode "Big Ben", Friday and Romero are investigating a carjacking. Halfway through the story, Friday is shot and seriously wounded by the perp. And, for the only time in the entire series history, Joe's partner (in this case, Ben Romero) takes over narrating the case.
  • Values Dissonance: Some of the police procedures used in the original series, while acceptable at the time, don't carry over to well in current society. The Darker and Edgier 1954 movie includes two examples. When investigating a mob killing, the LAPD pulls in a large group of gangsters, holds them in a local hotel, and questions them for hours without legal representation. Later, Friday and Smith employ a "rolling stakeout" against one suspect. It involves them using tactics that would today be considered police harassment.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Mathnet, to some.

Example of: