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Quincy, M.E.
Quincy ME.jpg
Tittle card
Format Drama
Created by Glen A. Larson
Starring Jack Klugman
Robert Ito
Garry Walberg
John S. Ragin
Val Bisoglio
Joseph Roman
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 148
Production
Running time 60 to 90 minutes
60 minutes (syndication)
Production company(s) A Glen A. Larson Production and Stephen J. Cannell Productions in association with Universal Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 3, 1976 – September 4, 1983

Quincy, M.E. is a United States television series from Universal Studios that aired from October 3, 1976, to September 5, 1983, on NBC. It stars Jack Klugman in the title role, a Los Angeles County medical examiner. The show was based on a Canadian television series, Wojeck, broadcast by CBC Television in the 1960s, but had more immediate local inspiration in Thomas Noguchi, Los Angeles' "coroner to the stars."[citation needed]

The first half of the first season of Quincy was broadcast as 90-minute telefilms as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie rotation in the fall of 1976 alongside Columbo, McCloud and McMillan (formerly McMillan and Wife). The series proved popular enough that midway through the 1976–77 season, Quincy was spun-off into its own weekly one-hour series. The Mystery Movie format was discontinued in the spring of 1977; Quincy was the only one of the rotating series to continue. In 1978, writers Tony Lawrence and Lou Shaw received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the second-season episode "...The Thighbone's Connected to the Knee Bone..." (originally aired February 11, 1977). Many of the episodes used the same actors for different roles in various episodes, for example an actor that plays a crooked Navy captain also plays a ballistics expert in several of the later episodes - using a small "pool" of actors was a common production trait of many Glen A. Larson TV programmes.

The full series is currently being run daily on ITV3 in the UK and episodes are being run daily in the United States on affiliates of the Retro Television Network.

Contents

Synopsis

The series starred Jack Klugman as Dr. R. Quincy "Quincy", a strong-willed, very principled Medical Examiner (forensic coroner) for the Los Angeles County Coroners Office, working to ascertain facts about and reasons for possible suspicious deaths. (The character's first name was never fully given, although in the third-season episode "Accomplice to Murder" his name is shown on a business card as "R. Quincy".) In the process of his investigations, Quincy frequently comes into conflict with his boss, Dr. Robert Asten, and the police, in particular, LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Frank Monahan (Garry Walberg). Each have their own (often flawed) ideas about what's going on and about Quincy's deductions. Quincy is often assisted by his faithful lab assistant, Sam Fujiyama (Robert Ito). It is later revealed in the episode "The Last of Leadbottom", that Quincy is a Retired Captain in the US Navy, and remains in the Naval Reserve. In the episode "Crib Job", Quincy reveals that he originally wanted to be a railroad engineer, after revealing a number of facts about the dangers of the occupation. A well-liked man, Quincy lives on a houseboat in Marina Del Ray, California, and frequents "Danny's" pub, owned by his close friend, Danny Tovo. Quincy is also very popular with the ladies. He was married once before but lost his wife Helen to cancer. Near the end of the seventh season Quincy remarries (Dr. Emily Hanover) and sells the houseboat in the episode, "Quincy's Wedding". Quincy also drives an antique car, as in many episodes, such as when he is on his day off, Quincy's friends always ask him why he drives his "work vehicle"(the county coroner's hearse) on his day off. Quincy claims that his car is off being repaired.

Many of the episodes follow a set formula:

  • Somebody dies, seemingly by natural causes.
  • Quincy notices something that causes him to suspect foul play.
  • He then changes roles from medical examiner to detective, by refusing to release the body and sign off on the cause of death, to Dr. Asten's disapproval.
  • Asten gets upset, believing that Quincy is seeing evidence that doesn't exist, and that Quincy should work on routine cases. Lt. Monahan gets his feathers ruffled as he "shoulders-in" on their territory as well.
  • Quincy argues quite loudly with some bureaucratic individual impeding the case.
  • Quincy solves the murder.

Early seasons' episodes focused on criminal investigation; a typical episode would find Quincy determining the real murderer in a crime or the real cause of an unusual poisoning case. Later seasons' episodes began to introduce themes of social responsibility; Quincy would find himself involved with a police investigation that reveals situations such as a disreputable plastic surgeon and the reasons his poor surgeries are not stopped, flaws in drunk driving laws, problems caused by punk music, airline safety issues, dumping of hazardous waste, the proliferation of handguns, Tourette syndrome, orphan drugs and anorexia among others. Quincy, M.E. was one of the earlier dramatic series to use a format like this to further a social agenda. The actor Jack Klugman himself even came to testify before the US Congress about some of these issues, (such as orphan drugs in 1982) describing what he had learned about a difficult or complex social concern as a result of its use in one of the show's episodes.[1]

A quote from one episode gives a snapshot of a typical conflict. When Quincy is hospitalized, Sam takes the reins and finds something fishy about Quincy's condition when everyone else sees no need for suspicion. Hearing this, Lt. Monahan says, "You're pullin' a Quincy on me, and you ain't Quincy!". Although Quincy studies bodies in-depth at his laboratory, he also does plenty of police investigation work technically outside the role of a coroner for the purposes of the show. He could be considered a workaholic. In every episode where he goes on vacation, it is always interrupted by an intrigue that requires his skills. He then provides copious hours of free work to solve the case. He insists on being intensely thorough in all his work.

In 2008, Klugman sued NBC, asserting that the network had concealed profits from the show which were owed to him.[2]

DVD releases

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released Seasons 1 and 2 of Quincy, M.E. on DVD in Region 1 and Region 2. Season 3 was released in Region 1 on June 2, 2009, four years after the release of Seasons 1 and 2.[3]

DVD Name Ep# Region 1 Region 2
Seasons 1 & 2 17 June 7, 2005 December 5, 2005
Season 3 20 June 2, 2009 TBA
Season 4 23 TBA TBA
Season 5 22 TBA TBA
Season 6 18 TBA TBA
Season 7 24 TBA TBA
Season 8 24 TBA TBA

International Broadcasts

In Australia, Quincy ME aired on the Seven Network with repeats airing as recently as 2006 in mid-week late prime-time timeslots.

Notes

External links

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