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Quincy, M.E.

Quincy, M.E.Network: NBC
Episodes: 148 (four 90 minute movies, 144 hour episodes), eight seasons

Show dates:
October 3, 1976 – September 5, 1983
Show status: Cancelled/ended

Performers include: Jack Klugman, Garry Walberg, Robert Ito, John S. Ragin, Val Bisoglio, Joseph Roman, Eddie Garrett, Marc Scott Taylor, Peter Virgo, Diane Markoff, Anita Gillette, and John Nolan.

past TV show

Series Description: Dr. R. Quincy (Jack Klugman) gives up his lucrative private practice as a surgeon after his wife Helen dies from a brain tumor. He joins the County of Los Angeles’ Coroner’s Office as a Medical Examiner (M.E.).

In his position, Quincy uses forensic medicine to determine a deceased person’s cause of death. Through his expertise, and with the help of fellow examiner Sam Fujiyama (Robert Ito), he sometimes uncovers details that indicate that a seemingly natural death was actually a murder. Not content to merely stay in the lab, Quincy often ventures out into the field on a crusade to gather evidence to prove his findings. This is a source of constant frustration to others, including Lieutenant Frank Monahan (Garry Walberg), Sergeant Brill (Joseph Roman), and Dr. Robert Astin (John S. Ragin), Quincy’s arrogant superior.

All of this extra activity doesn’t bode well for “Quince’s” love life with regular girlfriend Lee Potter (Lynette Mettey) or later, psychiatrist Dr. Emily Hanover (Anita Gillette). When he does finally take a break, Quincy can be found spending time at Danny’s, a bar located near his houseboat.
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Series Finale

Episode 148 – The Cutting Edge
Kenny Kelso (Paul Rudd), a dock worker and young father, is seriously injured when a stack of metal piping falls on him and severs his arm. Quincy (Jack Klugman) and crime scene photographer Eddie (Eddie Garrett) are nearby and Quincy helps to stabilize Kenny until paramedics arrive. His arm is found and Kenny and his limb are transported to Las Manos Medical Center. Dr. Gabriel McCracken (Barry Newman) runs a program called Experiment Hope which is made up of devoted doctors who use new technology to find solutions to otherwise hopeless cases. Kenny’s arm is reattached but surgery complications cause him to lose the use of his other arm. Together, McCracken and his staff work to find a way to help Kenny lead a better quality of life.
First aired: May 11, 1983

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What happened next?

There haven’t been any reunions or revivals. During a June 1997 online chat, Klugman was asked about the possibility of a Quincy reunion. He responded, “I would love to do one. But as popular as [the series] is all over the world, Universal doesn’t seem interested. There are so many stories about injustices that I would like to do, especially about the harmfulness of smoking tobacco. There are so many episodes of Quincy that I am proud of. The show on orphan drugs had legislation passed after I appeared in front of a Congressional committee. That made me very proud.”

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Behind the Scenes

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The series finale is not a typical episode of the series. There’s very little focus on Quincy and many of the show’s regular characters are missing altogether. The episode was actually intended as a pilot for a spin-off series called The Cutting Edge. Had the series been picked-up, it would have focused on the hospital and its staff, helping people that others could not. Emily (Quincy’s wife since episode 141) is featured prominently in the episode and would have been a regular on the spin-off series. Cutting Edge did not become a series and viewers were cheated out of a fitting series finale.
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Quincy’s first name was never spoken during the entire series. The only clue appeared in episode #33 when his business card was briefly seen. It read “Doctor R. Quincy.” When Klugman was asked about the character’s first name, he jokingly answered, “Doctor!”
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The series began as four 90-minute movies as part of a rotation of mystery movies for the NBC Mystery Movie. They performed well so NBC made Quincy a regular sixty minute series the following year.
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Anita Gillette once played Quincy’s deceased wife Helen in a brief flashback. The producers must have felt the actors had good chemistry because Gillette returned years later to play Quincy’s girlfriend (and eventual second wife) Doctor Emily Hanover.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert January 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

The Original Poster of the Quincy Story above made a mistake, he stated that Ann Gillette played Quincy’s diseased wife and then later payed his new Wife Dr. Hanover. That was wrong, Ann Gillette was in Law and Order and she is quite young. It was Anita Gillette who played in Quincy.

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admin January 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for catching that typo! :)

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lori January 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I’m sorry that would have been 1983, episode. starring Ann Margrette, I think she had a fatal illness! Thanks

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lori January 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I would like to know if anyone knows how I would obtain, a copy of Quincy ME, that aired around 1986, Starring Anne Margrett as a pregnant, ill woman? At the end of the show my niece was the infant used as her newborn daughter. We would like to show her children and other family members this episode.

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Betty January 30, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Jack Klugman was perfect as Dr Quincy, who was a great medical examiner; and Quincy ME was a better forensic medicine show than the CSI shows which seem to concentrate too much on gore. I wish the show about the man who tried to get away with murder by pretending to be “just” a drunk driver had been as successful for legislation as the show on orphan drugs apparently was. Then and now and during all the years in-between, whenever people have talked about the lack of consequences for drunk drivers, even those who kill, I agree and use that episode to point out how nothing much has changed even though it has been decades. As I am writing about it, I find myself surprised that now that there actually ARE prosecutors recently trying to remedy this situation, none of the current CSI/NCIS shows have done a similar episode!

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kelly December 19, 2009 at 4:19 am

what was Quinceys first name.

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Trevor December 19, 2009 at 7:04 am

@kelly: As the article says, it was never revealed. We do know that it began with an “R.” A fun bit of trivia about the series!

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