Dragnet

Season 2 Episode 18

The Big Prophet

0
Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Jan 11, 1968 on NBC
6.3
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Friday and Gannon are convinced that "Brother" William Bentley's Temple of the Expanded Mind is just a sham - a front for Bentley to sell LSD to the students of a nearby elementary school.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Preachy episode on one of Jack Webb's favorite topics - drugs.

    10
    This episode is unique as only one other actor appears besides Friday and Gannon. While most episodes include crime solving and multiple locations, there are several episode (like this one) in one location and don't involve Friday and Gannon solving crime.



    Friday and Gannon talk to a suspected drug dealer to children. The episode leaves you with Jack Webb's personal opinion on drugs. You could call it a hidden 30 minute public service announcement on drugs. Given the problems with drugs in the 1960s, Jack Webb was correct in the importance of the topic.



    Unfortunately, Jack Webb doesn't present both sides equally when it comes to facts. An example is LSD. The problem with LSD purchased on the street is how people make it, as they don't make it pure. It is the contamination and impure processing, which causes the trips. I like to compare it to bath tub gin made during Prohibition, as both were/are illegal and the home made stuff could mane or even kill the user.



    Refined LSD used in clinical trials both before the LSD ban and today show it can be safe, when correctly made and used under the care of a doctor. While LSD should NEVER be used for recreational purpose or in its impure form, studies are showing it could have some benefits to society.



    My problem with Jack Webb's methods is they fails to point out the trips and other issues are from these "bath tub" and unsupervised usages. Yes, I agree with Jack Webb on street LSD, but not on it not having some usefulness.



    Another issue with the episode is its lack of supporting the First Amendment, specifically political speech. During the opening of the episode Friday says he goes to work when some ideas are completely illegal. At his point some pins appear one saying "Let's Legalize Pot."



    The Supreme Court has many times said the First Amendment specifically protects political speech. This pin and even the others are not illegal ideas. While the action of using illegal drugs is by definition illegal, discussing them can't by definition be illegal.



    While Jack Webb has every right to produce, direct, write, etc the episode as he desire, I take offense when he has Friday a "sworn officer" imply / call political speech a crime.



    Some may consider my perfect rating for this episode and this review two diametrically opposed positions, but I'd disagree. My rating ignores my personal opinion on the topic, but rates the episode on the time and how it stacks up against purpose / design of the series.moreless

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