Dragnet Ecology- "Just the Facts, Ma'am": The Privilege of Science in a Postmodern World
When Dragnet protagonist Joe Friday investigates a crime, there is almost always someone “who done it,” and usually we know who it is in the first few minutes of the episode. In one episode concerning a retired actress who falls victim to a confidence trick, Sergeant Friday sweeps aside the irrelevant circumstantial details offered by the actress and solves the puzzle with characteristic ease. Friday's sidekick, Bill Gannon, responds to a different challenge and touchingly asks for the faded actress's autograph. “I didn't know you collected autographs,” says Joe, as they leave the scene. “I don't,” replies Bill. Dragnet is a modern version of a morality play, myths and all, the prevailing myth being that it may take time to apprehend the suspect, but eventually “just the facts” will inexorably solve the crime. But isn't Bill Gannon essential to this process?
Allen, T. F. H., J. A. Tainter, J. C. Pires, and T. W. Hoekstra. Dragnet Ecology—“Just the Facts, Ma’am”: The Privilege of Science in a Postmodern World. BioScience 51: 475- 485.