This hyped-up cops-and-pushers show was created by Richard DiLello, who romanticized radio talk-show hosts so successfully with Midnight Caller. Here, DiLello lionizes Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
The show contains the usual good-guys-vs.-bad-guys plots, with stakeouts, bullets, bullhorns, and busts, but DEA tries to distinguish itself as a visual spectacle. The series is a frenetic jumble of filmmaking styles and techniques, using hand-held cameras, jump-cuts, freeze-frames, 16-millimeter film, and Super-8 videotape, all to disguise the fact that DEA is just Dragnet with a drug habit. The heroes are a motley group of slightly older-than-usual hunks (21 Geritol Street?); their acting is nearly as wooden as Jack Webb’s. C-