Jack Webb's tight-lipped portrayal of Sgt. Joe Friday on the radio and television series "Dragnet" set the tone for a generation of police dramas.
Over the years Webb had achieved considerable success as the producer of such television shows as "Emergency" and "Adam 12," and as the star of such motion pictures as "Pete Kelly's Blues" and "The D.I."
But he remained best known to the public as the stone-faced Los Angeles Police detective of the 1950s and 1960s who greeted audiences each week with a terse: "My name is Friday... I'm a cop."
During the shows Friday and a succession of partners labored through investigative interviews frequently cut short by the request, "Just the facts, ma'am."
The immensly popular shows, which strove more for authenticity than melodrama, followed real police cases with attention to detail. Calendars shown on television matched those in Los Angeles Police stations and telephones cacrried the same numbers as extensions on real officers' desks.
Webb patterned Friday after actual officers as he saw them — calm, ordinary human beings working long and hard at often unglamorous jobs, engaging in violence only as a last, and unwelcome, resort.