The Tom Hanks Buddy Cop Comedy On Netflix That Needs A Second Look

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

Tom Hanks in Dragnet (1987)

Before Tom Hanks landed his iconic roles in films like Forrest Gump, Big, and Cast Away, he starred alongside Dan Aykroyd in a buddy cop comedy film called Dragnet. If you’ve never seen it, or if you saw it many years ago, then we recommend giving it a watch. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, and it’s great to see the natural chemistry between the two hilarious young stars.

Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd starred in Dragnet, a cop comedy based on the classic television series, now available on Netflix.

The film Dragnet came out in 1987, and it was based on the radio and television show of the same name. The original show focused on Los Angeles police detective Sergeant Joe Friday, a dedicated officer with a strong Type A personality. In the 1987 film, Dan Aykroyd stars as Joe Friday, the nephew of the original officer, and he shares the same personality type as his late uncle.

In the film, Dan Aykroyd’s character gets a new partner named Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks), whose Type B personality clashes with his strait-laced attitude. The two need to work together to solve a mystery and try to take down the cult P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy), that is, if they can stand each other long enough.

In addition to Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd, the film features several other stars, including Christopher Plummer, Alexandra Paul, Jack O’Halloran, and Elizabeth Ashley. Harry Morgan also reprises his role from the original TV series as Bill Gannon, though he has risen to the ranks as Captain.

Dragnet, the movie with Tom Hanks, is a parody of the strait-laced Dragnet series starring Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday.

Dan Aykroyd, who had played Joe Friday in a parody skit on Saturday Night Live years prior, wrote the script for Dragnet along with Alan Zweibel, a writer from Saturday Night Live, and Tom Mankiewicz, a writer best known for Superman and the James Bond series.

Dragnet (1987)

When the director Ted Kotcheff disapproved of the film’s script, he was replaced by Tom Mankiewicz, even though he had never directed a feature film before. After the success of this film, he then went on to direct a few other movies, along with one episode of Tales from the Crypt. Years later, Tom Hanks would also go on to direct one episode of Tales from the Crypt.

Originally, Albert Brooks was offered the role of Pep Streebek, but he turned it down. After Jim Belushi was unavailable, a 31-year-old Tom Hanks was cast instead. Just one year later, Albert Brooks was also offered the role of Josh in Big, but he also turned it down which led to Tom Hanks getting the role.

After starring in Bachelor Party (1984), Splash (1984), and The Money Pit (1986), Dragnet helped propel Tom Hanks’s career even further. In the following years, he went on to star in classic films like Big, Turner & Hooch, Joe Versus the Volcano, and A League of Their Own. He progressed from a goofy, lovable young man to an Academy Award-winning actor who can take on truly any role, from a gangster in Road to Perdition to America’s favorite television host, Mr. Rogers.

The soundtrack also includes an original song, “City of Crime,” that features both Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd rapping over some rock/hip-hop music.

During the production of Dragnet, the crew created an updated theme song from the original TV and radio show. The British electronic group Art of Noise helped bring the theme song into the current times by adding in electronic breakbeat and pulling soundbites from Dan Aykroyd’s character.

The soundtrack also includes an original song, “City of Crime,” that features both Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd rapping over some rock/hip-hop music. The music video is truly something you need to see to believe since it features the buddy cop duo rapping and dancing along with beautiful female police officers. The dancing was even choreographed by singer/dancer Paula Abdul.

When Dragnet was first released, it received mostly positive reviews from critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, sharing that it started off strong but had a fairly predictable ending. Meanwhile, Siskel was impressed by the great cast, even saying that Dan Aykroyd deserved an Academy Award nomination for his performance, though he felt that pop music was not necessary for the film.

If you love Tom Hanks, then go watch Dragnet while it’s streaming on Netflix, and don’t miss the official music video “City of Crime” on YouTube—it’s a must-watch.