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File:Quincy me 3141.jpg


A popular late '70s-early '80s Forensic Drama about the eponymous Quincy, ME (Jack Klugman) and his work handling cases in an LA coroner's office.

The show began as an entry on The NBC Mystery Movie before being shifted into a full-fledged series in its own right, and enjoyed a lengthy run (1976-1983). The basic formula had Quincy working on a corpse whose death had been ruled an accident or suicide. In each episode he would find something strange in the autopsy which would lead him to suspect murder. Quincy would then start sleuthing, inevitably picking up on clues the police missed. He'd eventually find enough evidence to force the always-clueless cops to re-classify the death as a homicide, at which point Quincy would expose the identity of the killer.

During his time solving suspicious suicides and uncovering evildoers, Quincy was assisted by loyal Lab Rat Sam Fujiyama (Robert Ito) and was constantly at odds with both Lt. Monahan (Gary Walberg), who resented Quincy's meddling, and Dr. Asten (John S. Ragin), who resented all the overtime hours Quincy and Sam racked up.

Tropes used in Quincy include:
  • Absentee Actor: Jack Klugman himself in "Has Anybody Here Seen Quincy?" because he hated Michael Sloan and Glen A. Larson's script for the episode (in which a body brought into the morgue turns out to be alive, so you can see his point). Klugman eventually had Larson removed from the show, which is why the showrunner credits vary so much.
  • Always Murder: Usually true, but averted in "Semper Fi" about a young soldier who dies on night manoeuvres. Quincy: "Your son didn't fall, and he wasn't thrown. He jumped."
    • Also averted in "Murder By S.O.P." with the town doctor who knows the true identity of this week's murderer. He's killed in a car accident which is a genuine car accident.
    • Averted again in an episode where a cross-country running coach was accused of working his star pupil to death. The judge threw out the involuntary manslaughter charge on grounds of the specifics of the crime not matching the definition of the charge, only to have the guy sued for wrongful death. It finally turned out that the Body of the Week had a small tumor on his adrenal gland, making his C.O.D. natural causes exacerbated by training for his next race.
  • Author Filibuster: Some episodes should obviously just be called "Jack Klugman's Soapbox".
    • "A Good Smack In The Mouth," about child abuse, gives co-teleplay and story credit to guess which cast member.
    • An episode where a college student dies in a hazing incident ends with a scene where, out of nowhere and with no prior setup, Quincy is suddenly giving a graduation speech at an unnamed college. His entire speech is about how terrible fraternity hazing is: which is all well and good, but would probably be more useful if he were giving it to a bunch of people who were NOT about to graduate.
    • Lampshaded in the late season episode that introduced his new love interest, later to become his wife. She recognized him as the hot dogging coroner who was always incensed about some issue, only to have forgotten about it a week later, when there was some new issue that he was incensed about.
  • The Bad Guys Win: "Scream To The Skies" - following a hearing convened in the wake of an air crash into the sea in which many people die due to the airline not having life rafts (because they weren't legally required to carry them), the airline in question brings a defamation suit against Quincy - "You've just been gagged" - which stops him from continuing his safety crusade.
  • The Butler Did It: Used for a pun, when the Villains of the Week had the surname "Butler".
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Dr. Asten and Lt. Monahan.
  • Character Filibuster: Quincy does a lot of this.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Quincy is friends with Rosie Grier, so this trope may apply.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lee Porter, Quincy's love interest in the initial movie-length episodes, disappeared without a trace when the show switched to an hour-long format.
  • Cool Car: Well, unique at any rate. It's a hearse that says "CORONER" across the back. Danny hated it when Quincy parked it outside the bar.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: While Quincy runs into quite a few of these, one of the later seasons had a memorable aversion. When a executive learned that his company's poor waste disposal practices had caused a fatal accident, told Quincy that, while his lawyers had informed him he held no legal responsibility, he still felt a moral responsibility to assist in solving the crisis.
  • The Coroner: Quincy. Duh.
  • The Danza: Technical advisor Marc Scott Taylor also had a recurring role as Mark the lab technician.
    • And Eddie Garrett as Eddie.
      • And Diane Markoff as the waitress Diane.
  • Depending on the Writer: Quincy's relationship with his superiors and their enthusiasm for his stubbornness varies between episodes.
  • Doppelganger Replacement Love Interest: Quincy's first wife died before the series started, and then in the final season he marries a woman played by the same actress.
  • Downer Ending: Several, but "Guns Don't Die" is the champion.(Quincy and pals are having a great time at Danny's; cut to a little boy finding a gun hidden at home while he and his sister are playing... and shooting her. Roll credits.)
    • "Into The Murdering Mind" may well share the honours, with a touch of The Bad Guys Win thrown in for good measure (it's implied that the guy who's murdered all but one member of his family will be going after his mother as well when - not IF - he gets out of the clinic he's sent to...).
  • Edited for Syndication: The earliest episodes ran in 90-minute slots as part of The NBC Mystery Movie; these episodes ("Go Fight City Hall... To The Death," "Who's Who in Neverland," "A Star Is Dead" and "Hot Ice, Cold Hearts") were later cut down to 60-minute versions and added to the syndicated package (although they're included in their original versions on the DVD release of season one).
  • Eureka Moment
  • Extreme Doormat: How many times has Sam stayed late to run tests, to the detriment of his love and social life?
  • Good Guy Bar: Danny's.
  • Heroic BSOD: One episode dealt with child abuse as Quincy tried to determine which parent was beating the kid. When he found out it was the father, who had taken his son off to a fishing trip and intended to beat his son further, Quincy tracks them down and completely loses it, almost strangling the father as he ranted on about how horrid the act of child abuse was. Quincy only snapped back to sanity when the child begged Quincy not to hurt his father.
  • Houseboat Hero: Quincy is that much cooler because he lives on a boat.
  • Kavorka Man: Two words that leap to mind to describe Quincy physically are "craggy" and "wizened", also, he cuts up dead people for a living. He's never lacking for skimpily-dressed 20-something female company, though.
  • The Lab Rat: Sam and Mark.
  • The Mafia/Yakuza: One Body of the Week, an LAPD organized crime detective, was the victim of a yakuza assassin. The oyabun was trying to work out a deal with The Mafia to buy black market guns for his operations in Japan.
  • Missing Episode: Two episodes were never repeated during NBC's network run[1]:
    • "Nowhere To Run" dealing with the aftermath of a teenage girl falling to her death - although running from her boyfriend at the time, she committed suicide because she had been impregnated by her own father, with whom she'd been having an incestuous relationship. This episode averted both Always Murder and Trailers Always Spoil - it also resulted in guest star Charles Aidman losing a lucrative commercial gig.
    • "Never A Child," in which a runaway teenage girl is preyed on by a child pornographer, and which some thought was in bad taste although the episode itself is hardly exploitative - unlike the TV movie Fallen Angel the girl never actually does porn; she's rescued before it happens.
  • Mystery Magnet: Quincy and Danny can't even go on a simple fishing trip without getting dragged into a web of intrigue.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. Hiro from "Has Anybody Here Seen Quincy?" is pretty clearly based on Dr. Thomas Noguchi, LA's "coroner to the stars."
    • And Quincy was based on Noguchi.
  • No Name Given: Played utterly straight. It's never mentioned -- not even by his girlfriends -- though a business card gives his first initial as "R".
  • Officer O'Hara: Lt. Monahan mentions his Irish grandmother from time to time.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "The Cutting Edge," the final episode of the series, barely features Quincy (the other regulars don't appear at all) and focuses instead on a surgeon who specializes in state of the art surgical techniques. No points for guessing it was meant as a spinoff.
  • The Quincy Punk: The episode "Next Stop Nowhere" is the Trope Namer.
  • Qurac: In one episode Quincy gets involved with a hijacking by some radicals that are implied to be from one of these sorts of countries.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dr. Asten and Lt. Monahan veer between this and Beleaguered Bureaucrat.
  • The Seventies: Some of Quincy's clothes are typical of seventies fashion in all its horrifying glory.
  • Shared Universe: With BJ And The Bear, believe it or not - the Poorly-Disguised Pilot "The Girls Of Hollywood High" has the PDPs' stars visiting his place of work. Asten and Sam appear but not the main man, understandably given the episode was scripted by both shows' co-creator Glen A. Larson (see Absentee Actor above).
  • Shown Their Work
  • Status Quo Is God: Because they're beleaguered bureaucrats, Astin and Monahan tend to be leery at first about the case of the week, no matter how many previous times Quincy has been right. They also tend to throw in with Quincy pretty quickly when he gives them proof.
  • Technicolor Science: Justified, since Quincy and his team work on lots of actual scientific tests, including chemical reaction tests that really do involve prettily colored liquids.
  • Temporary Substitute: Dr. Hiro from the Klugman-less episode "Has Anybody Here Seen Quincy?"
  • Three-Way Sex: The Double Standard attached to it is Discussed in one episode as an analogy to alcoholism.
  • Tourettes Shitcock Syndrome: Though the portrayal was more tempered compared to most examples of this trope.
  • Very Special Episode: Very common in later series (see "Whatever Happened To Morris Perlmutter?" for a particularly strong example).
  • Wheel Program: The first season.
  • Written by Cast Member: Jack Klugman, unsurprisingly (see Author Filibuster), had a hand in the writing of four episodes. (Yes, only four amazingly -- though his sister Deborah and brother Maurice contributed in that department as well.)
    • Mark Scott Taylor (Mark) also has co-story credit on the two-part episode "Slow Boat To Madness."

Notes

  1. (although both appear in syndication to this day)
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