Dragnet

Season 4 Episode 8

D.H.Q. - Missing Person

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Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Nov 13, 1969 on NBC

Episode Recap

Friday and Gannon are working out of the Detective Headquarters Missing Persons, specifically looking for missing juveniles.



Friday gets a phone call from a Mrs. Atkins at Maxwell High School about a missing girl. Mrs. Atkins thinks the girl did not go willing.



9:40 AM: Friday and Gannon drive over to Maxwell High School, which is a new open campus school in the San Bernardo valley.



Once they reach the school Friday and Gannon meet with Vice-Principle Lillian Atkins, in her office. Friday explains Gannon and he worked with her in the past and they know she doesn't alarm easily. She explains the missing student is Dorothy Henderson, 16, born on March 8, weighs 105 lbs, 5 feet 2 inches, attractive, well mannered, and especially well liked by both her classmates and teachers.



Friday questions Mrs. Atkins and discovers the last time the school saw her was yesterday (Wednesday, December 4) in the morning. She tried calling Dorothy's home all day yesterday, last night, then this morning, and finally she called Friday. She was in English class and Mrs. Atkins had her called to the office. She was going to ask her to be head receptionist for an upcoming open house the school will be holding. She left the English class but never arrived at the Vice-Principle's office. Normally it takes just 3 to 4 minutes to make the journey. Mrs. Atkins just has a bad feeling about the situation. She has been attending Maxwell for three months and never been neither absent nor late. Barbara Cook, a friend of Dorothy, says a man named Harper has been after Dorothy the entire time she's been at Maxwell and it has Dorothy very scared.



10:30 AM: Friday and Gannon speak to the school's registrar, while Mrs. Atkins calls Barbara Cook to her office. The registrar thinks she's simply out having fun. She remembers Dorothy's older sister (Carol Henderson) came by to register Dorothy just before the semester started. Dorothy didn't come in with Carol, as she was sick and the doctor wanted Dorothy to stay in bed till school started. Gannon asks why the parents didn't register Dorothy, to which the registrar replies they died in a plane crash.



11:00 AM: (Vice-Principle Atkins Office) Friday and Gannon interview Barbra Cook, Dorothy Henderson's school friend. Barbara thinks they are from the Vice squad and when told they aren't figures out they are at least detectives and something bad happened to Dorothy. Friday and Gannon speculate nothing really happened to her, but Barbara disagrees. Dorothy never cut a class and it isn't for trying, as Barbara tried to get her to cut multiple times with Dorothy say no each time. Barbara says adults scared Dorothy, but felt confident when around other kids. Friday asks Barbara to tell them about Harper. She asks why as Mrs. Atkins must have told them already. Friday says he wants to hear it from her instead of second hand. Barbara tells them about nightmares Dorothy related to her and a few times when Dorothy thought she say this Harper guy. Barbara admits she never clearly saw Harper, just a tall guy who turned the corner. Friday asks several more questions trying to determine if Barbara was making it up. Friday gives Mrs. Atkins a look of doubt about the story. Turns out Dorothy dropped her purse and Barbara helped pick it up. Dorothy made Barbara promise never to tell anyone what she saw -- credit cards for Carol, as well as where Carol works (a fashion house).



11:50 AM: Friday and Gannon try calling Dorothy Henderson's home without success. Friday asks a patrol unit check out the house, which fails to find anyone at the apartment.



Friday and Gannon arrive at the fashion salon where Carol Henderson is suppose to work. They meet with Faye Wallace, the owner. The name Carol Henderson upsets the owner, who wants to fire Carol to her face. Friday inquires why. The owner explains she wanted to make Carol one of the best models in the business, but her man (Jeffery Norris, who is suppose to be in computers) doesn't fit well with the owner. Hearing Carol has a younger sister shocks the owner who just doesn't see either Carol or Jeffery being able to accept or handle a child (even one at 16). She implies the guy (Jeffery) might do something to Carol, as he wouldn't want a child to interfere with his fun.



5:40 PM: (Goof: Friday says 5:40 AM not PM) Gannon discovers Jeffery Norris is real, works at Gardner Data Systems, and is on a leave of absence for one month. An uniformed police officer arrives at Gannon's desk with new information. He stopped by the apartment building and this time found the building superintendent and a neighbor in and available. They told the officer Carol doesn't have a younger sister and lives alone. Carol Henderson comes to visit Friday and Gannon. She enters saying she understand they are looking for her younger sister, Dorothy. The episode breaks for a commercial.



After the commercial break, Friday and Gannon question Carol about Dorothy. They start off asking why her former employer and neighbors didn't know about Dorothy. Carol says she most likely never talked about her at work. As for the neighbors, she says they should have known about Carol. She speculates it could be that Dorothy only recently (last few month) moved in with her and when Carol wears a brown wig can resemble Dorothy. People at the apartment complex might have them confused (think Dorothy is Carol in a brown wig). She shows Friday a photo of Dorothy and who she is by showing them her identification. Friday asks how she heard they were investigating. Carol says it was a neighbor who they had yet to interview and heard about it from another neighbor. Friday follows up with questions about taking off a month from work. Carol says that was the original plan, but as with many plans hers changed. Gannon asks why she doesn't have a driver's license, to which she replies that she doesn't drive. Carol asks Friday why they are looking for Dorothy. Friday explains they got involved because she missed school. Carol says there is nothing to worry about, as they are moving to live in the state of NY. Carol thought Dorothy would tell the school, but guesses she didn't now that there are so many questions. Carol says Dorothy is already on the way to their new home in NY. Gannon questions about her leaving school in the middle of the morning. Carol replies Dorothy went to school to say good bye and had to leave in the mid morning as the bus left at 1 PM. Gannon asks if Dorothy liked the school, to which Carol replies Dorothy loved going to Maxwell as she made real friends who didn't expect a lot out of her. Friday asks about the other schools Dorothy attended. Carol explains Dorothy felt the other schools wanted more than she could give. Carol finishes explaining how and why Dorothy felt about her other schools. She says Friday won't understand as he's a policeman; they are always sure of themselves. She gets up, with Gannon also standing as is polite, and walks out the door.



6:20 PM: Before checking out for the day, Friday checks out the Henderson package again.



7:00 PM: Friday decides to re-interview some of Carol Henderson's neighbors. One of the neighbors (not previously home) says Carol went to visit her parents in Portland, Oregon. These are the supposedly dead parents killed in a plane crash.



9:00 PM: Friday sends a teletype to the Portland police.



Next day: Friday, December 6 at 8:30 AM Friday returns to the office where a response to his teletype awaits. Gannon enters with coffee for both him and Friday. Friday thanks Gannon for the beverage. Friday wants to talk about the Henderson case, which Gannon thought was put to bed. Friday explains stuff just doesn't make sense. Carol doesn't walk nor does she talk like any model he knows. He explains to Gannon he stopped off at Carol's apartment building on his way home and interviewed people not previously covered.



Friday explains to Gannon there are differences between the physical descriptions of Carol and the person they spoke to yesterday. The neighbors say Carol is 5 feet 7 inches in her bare feet. Gannon says the Carol they met had to 5 feet 4 inches, at most. Carol does wear glasses, but only for reading. None of them saw Carol all week and none of them told her the police were looking for her sister, Dorothy. Gannon says it is starting to add and wonders the total. Friday reads the teletype saying she is in Portland with Jerry Norris and they just got married last week. Last August Carol lost her wallet on Hollywood Blvd and it contained all of her identification, including credit cards, driver license, etc. Gannon says that raise a couple of questions. Friday agrees asking the first question. If it wasn't Carol Henderson they met yesterday, who was it they meet instead? Gannon wants to add another question: And who told her they were looking for Dorothy?



9:20 AM: Friday and Gannon drive over to talk to Barbara Cook at her home. They explain the reason for the visit to Mrs. Cook, Barbara's Mother who calls for Barbara. Barbara explains she isn't playing hooky, as her first class doesn't start till 10:30 AM. Gannon says they know. Barbara's Mother puts the conversation back on track explaining they have more questions about Dorothy. Friday asks if she saw Dorothy since they spoke to her yesterday. She says no and then begins a conversation to herself about the bad guy, Harper. Her Mother stops her and apologies to Friday and Gannon about Barbara's morbid imagination. Barbara disagrees saying it isn't imagination, the man exists, and Dorothy expressed real fear of him. Friday says Harper didn't do it. Barbara wants to know how they know this fact. Friday explains Carol came to visit them and want to know how she knew they were looking for Dorothy. Barbara says she didn't do it. She then starts swearing and saying she's not lying. Her Mother stops her and tells Friday and Gannon her daughter is lying, when she starts talking about swearing, saying honest, and insisting she isn't lying. Finally she comes clean and admits she spoke to Dorothy after school yesterday (Thursday), as Dorothy was wondering what happened after she failed to show up at Mrs. Atkins' office.



Barbara told Dorothy about the police. Dorothy got real scared. She started to cry and say she'd have to go away, even though she didn't want to go. She told Barbara she was her best friend ever and only true friend. She gave Barbara an old eyeglass case to remember her by. Barbara says they can have it, after Friday asks about it. Friday inspects case and finds the optometrists name on it, a Dr. Duman of Fashion Eyewear in Beverly Hills.



11:40 AM: Friday and Gannon drive to the optometrist's office in Beverly Hills. The doctor eliminates 6 of them right off the bat, as 4 of them are over 150 lbs and the other 2 are Men. As for the remaining 4, none are under 20. Friday asks if any of them are around 25. There are 2 of them around 25. One of them is over 5 foot 2. The last one meets the description, except for the name. Her name is Shirley Lawson and her Mother works next door at an upscale restaurant.



12:30 PM: Friday and Gannon speak to Mrs. Lawson about her daughter. She says her daughter is at school. Friday asks if by school she means Maxwell High, to which the Mother says no. She means junior college. Friday asks her to describe her daughter. Mrs. Lawson describes Carol Henderson to a tee. When asked why all the questions, Friday explains someone meeting that description came and met with them yesterday about her younger sister, a Dorothy Henderson. The Mother confirms with Friday that he thinks Carol Henderson and Shirley Lawson are one in the same.



Friday shows Mrs. Lawson a photo of Dorothy Henderson asking if they were the same person. The Mother confirms they are the same person. They Mother asks if she has been going to this high school, to which Friday says yes. Shaking her head the Mother says, three months and I thought she had been going to junior college. Gannon asks, you don't seem too surprise. The Mother explains Shirley's psychiatrist said something like this could happen. Friday asks if she is under psychiatric care. The Mother replies, yes, one night a week. She also tells Friday they should talk to the psychiatrist, as she doesn't understand it very well. Friday asks for the psychiatrist's contact information. After getting it, Gannon confirms the name is Dr. William Harper.



2:30 PM: They meet Dr. Harper at his office and explain the situation. Like the Mother he doesn't seem surprised. Friday and the doctor go through the how and why figuring the entire episode most likely came about from Shirley finding Carol's purse. Friday wonders what drove Shirley to become Dorothy Henderson. The doctor explains Shirley is a very unhappy woman. She lost her Father, a disastrous love affair, and many other events work together to give her a major sense of failure. This feel can recreate a cycle of failures. Friday says she didn't seem inadequate when they meet with her yesterday. The doctor explains you didn't meet with Shirley, but someone who is adequate in Shirley's mind. The doctor explains how college life made her feel even more inadequate. He has been trying to get her to break the cycle and it looks like she found a method to break the cycle, by going back to a moment in time when she felt adequate. She was successful where the doctor failed. The doctor states his approval and gives Friday and Gannon a warning. They need to handle her with "kit gloves," so not to set her back (or worse cause her to sink further down or even to suicide). Specifically he says they must not add to her existing condemnation.



4:30 PM: Friday and Gannon drive over to the Lawson apartment and tell Mrs. Lawson everything Dr. Harper told them. At this point, Shirley enters the apartment dressed as Dorothy. Gannon asks her about the football game, to which she says they won and that it was tied almost to the end. She pulls out the real Carol Henderson's wallet saying she didn't do anything wrong, did she? Friday answers with his own question, now what do you think? She says I found the wallet and lied to you. The real Carol Henderson did have a driver's license but I tore it up. She didn't want to skip school, but had to when the VP called her to the office. Gannon explains the reason for summons was to have Dorothy be head receptionist at the open house. This gives her a boost in her confidence, as it was a major honor at Maxwell.



Shirley tells her Mother she might start wearing a wig, as it makes her look older. She goes on to say at the game today it was fun, but when looking around all she saw were kids and that she doesn't belong with them. She continues with an announcement that she's going to enroll in a different school, to which her Mother wonders out loud -- another high school. Shirley says no, as she's too old for another high school. Gannon asks where is she going to go, to this she replies Eastwood Junior College. Friday and Gannon walk out and Gannon wonders what they are going to put in the report. Friday says nothing. There's no crime to act your age.



"Since Shirley Lawson committed no crime, no charge was brought against her. However, the psychiatrist re-examined her case. In a moment, the results of that evaluation.



"In view of her own effort to adjust Shirley Lawson's psychiatrist reported a favorable prognosis and instituted practical therapy.



"Shirley Lawson completed junior college and now attending college."
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