From Columbo's signature squint to Kojak's lollipop fixation, the lawmen of early crime dramas were far from ordinary. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at six of your favourite television cops.

In their day these cops didn't have the luxury of relying on forensic science. Police work was about attention to detail, hunches and signature gimmicks.

But what they lacked in technology they more than made up for in character.

Here, go behind the scenes with six of your favourite classic TV cops.

Dragnet (1952)

Producer Jack Webb originally introduced audiences to Dragnet as a half-hour radio series that first aired in 1949 where Webb himself played the lead role of the straitlaced Sergeant Joe Friday.

Due to the show's realistic feel, Webb often received peculiar fan mail, including one letter from a teenager who detailed the narcotic activity in her Hollywood neighbourhood. After turning the letter over to the local police, Webb detailed the resulting case in an episode titled "The Big Note."

Listen to the episode here.

When Dragnet moved to the small screen in 1952, Webb started to put an unusual amount of stock into the opinions of his fans. The producer and star often made significant changes to the show based on a bizarre statistical system where each letter represented the opinion of 10,000 viewers.

That statistical system would not be used for the countless love letters he received, which perplexed him. "My ugly Irish mug has no good camera angle," Webb would often joke. "So the boys don't need to worry which way to shoot me."

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