Jack Webb

The Badge

The Badge


There has been no other epoch in American history where corruption, debauchery, sleaze and horrific murder has intersected with a society as speciously glittering and innocent as the Los Angeles of the 1940s and 50s.

The Tinseltown of that age had movie star glamour on the surface but a dark, violent and unrepentant heart. None knew this dichotomy better than the Los Angeles Police Department, whose story became the most successful police drama in television history, Dragnet. Jack Webb was the star and creator of the show, but much of what he unearthed was too sensational to be broadcast on prime time. Those stories he saved for his classic, The Badge.

Crimes like the sex slaying of Betty Short, the Black Dahlia: tortured for days, drained of blood, cut in two and dumped in Leimert Park, the subject of James Ellroy's masterpiece and one of the US's greatest unsolved murders. Narcotics, gambling, prostitution, thrill murders, serial killers -- all take their place in a book that shattered America's delusion of post-war innocence and defines our knowledge of modern crime even today.

The Badge comes with an introduction by master of crime noir, James Ellroy.