"Down in the waterfront, in San Francisco, you always bite off more than
you can chew.
It's tough on your windpipe, but you don't go hungry."
Pat Novak for Hire is one of Jack Webb's earliest successful attempts at the genre for which he is best know: crime drama. Unlike Dragnet, in Pat Novak for Hire is a gritty hardboiled detective-type.
The character Pat Novak is based in San Francisco, CA and owned a boat repair/rental shop on the pier during the day and fought crime during the night, but still had time for clever quips:
Inspector Hellman is played by Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) who often arrests Pat Novak for the crime in each episode. Sidekick, former doctor, and drunk Jocko is called in to help Pat Novak not only prove his innocence but find the guilty party.
The conversation between characters is archetypical hardboiled detective dialogue with enough metaphors to sink a ship! The show is well written with plenty of memorable one-liners and gritty dialogue:
"She stood leaning there for a minute, sort of a girl who moves when she stands still. She had blonde hair. She was kind of pretty, except you could see somebody had used her badly, like a dictionary in a stupid family."
Ben Morris also appeared in the role of Pat Novack several episodes. The show has a strikingly similar premise to Johnny Modero, Pier 23 also starring Jack Webb as a boat shop owner. The cast of Johnny Modero, Pier 23 includes two radio giants: Gale Gordon as Father Leahy and William Conrad as Officer Warchek.