“Who Killed Who?” An episode of Dragnet 1970 (Season 4, Episode 15). First air date: 29 January 1970. Jack Webb (Sergeant Joe Friday), Harry Morgan (Officer Bill Gannon), Jim B. Smith (Captain Brown), Herb Vigran (Paul Woods), Marshall Reed (Sergeant Hughes), Don Ross (Sergeant Doherty), Chuck Bowman (Jerry), Marco Lopez (Pedro Martinez, uncredited). Writer: Michael Donovan. Creator, producer, director: Jack Webb.

   Joe Friday and Bill Gannon are called downtown to a run-down three-story flophouse to investigate a multiple shooting. Before they can begin their investigation, one of the victims on a stretcher leaves Friday with a baffling dying clue — “oft one,” he says — but neither Friday, Gannon, nor Captain Brown can figure it out — not at first, anyway. The lack of any eyewitnesses further complicates the case.


   Methodically investigating the crime scene, Friday and Gannon note two dead bodies lying on the floor in front of a TV set that, like the victims, has also been shot once.

   Other clues include a number of expended 9-millimeter shells (later shown to be from a German-made Luger); a torn piece of red cloth with a shirt button clutched in one of the victim’s hands; and blood smears along the banister leading to the second floor, but which curiously end halfway up — with nary a sign of the perpetrator.

   Three dead, and very little evidence of how it went down. Later the significance of an apparently unrelated phone call to the police just before the massacre would become clear —but it’s only when Friday and Gannon discover a FOURTH body that the full story of the progress of this crime can finally be told.

   This show is just like one of those “Five Minute Mysteries” come to life. With its unusual emphasis on forensic evidence, this Dragnet episode could serve as a model for bloated crime scene investigation shows like CSI: Miami in how to compress an engrossing story into half the length. The only other Dragnet I can recall that put such emphasis on the forensics was “Homicide: Cigarette Butt.”

   One of the reporters Friday has to keep in check for the sake of his investigation is played by Herb Vigran (1910-86), who had over 300 appearances in movies and TV, usually playing annoying smart alecks, sometimes for laughs but often for hisses.

   The prime suspect in this case was played by Marco Lopez (b. 1935), who is primarily remembered for his regular role in another Jack Webb production, Emergency! (1972-78), playing a fire fighter cleverly named Marco Lopez. If memory serves, in “Who Killed Who?” he has no dialogue.

   You can see “Who Killed Who?” on Hulu here, and “Homicide: Cigarette Butt” here.

Editorial Comment:   Herb Vigran, whose face you see in the image above — did you recognize him? — was in seven episodes of this later Dragnet series, almost his longest-running gig. Most of the characters he played in his over appearances in movies and TV did not have names. The parts he played were often identified only as Salesman, Policeman, Judge, Fireman, Delivery Man, Waiter, Baggage Man, and So On. Most of his roles were speaking parts, however, and whenever you saw or heard him, you recognized him immediately.