Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Heart Jack Klugman ~ Quincy M.E. (1976-1983)

Quincy M.E. is a TV show starring Jack Klugman as the title character. It aired from 1976 to 1983 and is well-known as the antecedent to the popular CSI and forensic TV shows of today. It's a formulaic show in which Quincy, a Medical Examiner for the Coroner's Office in L.A., solves murders. Each show features a death which is a result of foul play but appears to be either accidental or as a result of natural causes. Quincy , to the dismay of his bosses and colleagues, goes above and beyond his job to investigate the death further. He puts himself in danger, involves himself directly in the case and the lives of the victim's family and friends and collects the evidence along the way. In his search for the truth, Quincy uncovers various forms of corruption in modern day society. He's driven by the sole need to help people and to bring justice to those who have been wronged.

Sam (Robert Ito) works in the lab with Quincy and is the only character who doesn't doubt Quincy's instincts, even though on occasion he is reluctant to him. Lt. Frank Monihan (Garry Walberg) is hot-headed and often reacts emotionally to cases and to Quincy's ideas. Dr. Robert Asten (John S. Ragin) is Quincy's boss and always proves to be the biggest obstacle in Quincy's path to find the truth. Quincy proves everyone wrong yet they never seem to learn their lesson. Danny (Val Bisoglio) is Quincy's best friend. Danny's bar is Quincy's regular hangout and Danny is often caught in Quincy's adventures much to his dismay. Quincy also has several girlfriends and love interests. He's a bit of a player and demonstrates an unwillingness to settle down because of the nature of his job. Quincy, a widower, finally gets married by the end of the series.

Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are available on DVD. Season 4 will be available in November 2011. It's taken a long time to get these DVDs out on the market. There was a four year hiatus between the first two and the third and two years between the third and fourth. There have been legal issues including Jack Klugman's lawsuit against NBC Universal which claimed that he was missing profits from the show. The case was settled in 2009 and I wouldn't be surprised if the suit was one of the reasons it's taken so long to release the DVDs. This isn't the only problem Klugman has had with Universal. He really hated the writer/producer team of the show and disliked one of the scripts so much he refused to appear in the episode (it was worked around his character and entitled "Has Anybody Here Seen Quincy?"). Klugman went on to rewrite scripts to get them to his liking.

This show is relatively new to me and I don't know much about it. They are really fun to watch due to their over-the-top nature. Unlike today's CSI, there is no gore porn in Quincy M.E.. The bodies are not shown in a gratuitous way. It's really all about the case and the characters. Even though the show is a drama there are a lot of funny moments as well. In the first 7 episodes of the show, Quincy had a girlfriend named Lee played by Lynette Mettey. Their romantic rendezvous were always interrupted by Quincy being called on for one job or another. I loved her character and thought she suited the show well. I was sad to see her go! Her presence helped audiences understand how Quincy's job consumed his life and their interaction added both romance and comedy to the storylines. I really wish they had kept her!

In talking with people online about Quincy M.E., several people mentioned the Punk Rock episode. It was particularly infamous because it blames Punk Rock music for the deaths of young people. I don't know much about the episode nor do I care to watch it but clips are available to watch on YouTube.

It's fun to watch the show and see all the celebrity guest stars. Some of these include:

Van Johnson 
Carol Lynley
Creed Bratton (The Office) <-- my personal favorite
Melora Hardin (The Office)
Kim Cattral (Sex and the City)
Robert Webber (12 Angry Men)
Ann Blyth
Jamie Lee Curtis
Bob Crane
Gloria DeHaven
Casey Kasem
Elisha Cook Jr.
Buddy Hackett

Do you like Quincy M.E.? Which is your favorite episode? Don't you just LOVE the theme music? Bum ba da ba da da!

I hope you enjoyed my I Heart Jack Klugman week!


  1. Qunicy M.E. aired when I was a kid and I watched it every week. It definitely was one of the early police procedurals (along with Naked City and Dragnet), and it's one of the first shows I can remember that dealt with forensics. I can't remember the name of the episode, but my favourite was the one that featured mirror image twins (identical except everything is opposite--one twin had her heart on the right side of the body, the other on the left). I loved it because I am a twin (albeit fraternal) and I loved how Quincy figured it out!

  2. i've seen only a handful of Quincy eps, mostly because dr shows arent really my thing but i totally enjoyed every one of these that i saw. i remember the first time i saw it i was like HEY that's OSCARRRRR!!!!!!!

    your Jack Klugman week was beyond awesome, many thanks for your posting endevors Quelle :)


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