An NBC hour-long drama that ran from 1976 to 1983, starring Jack Klugman
as a coroner who solves crimes.
Quincy started life as the fourth wheel in the NBC Mystery Movie, alongside Columbo, McMillan and Wife, and McCloud. Those three were successful, but various tries at a fourth character always flopped -- until Quincy came along, in the Mystery Movie’s seventh season. Predictably, that was also the year they dropped the Mystery Movie, but Quincy had done well enough to get its own spot, where it thrived.
Quincy’s assistant was a Japanese-American named Sam Fujiyama, played by Robert Ito. Like Sulu, Sam was a rare case of a major Asian character who didn’t have an accent -- utterly thrilling to a J-A boy like me.
In hindsight, the show was melodramatic and overacted, but it felt more sincere and honest than most medical shows, and I enjoyed it immensely at the time. It got heavy-handed about certain messages, but overall the tone was light and often humorous. The dialogue was packed with technical terms contributed by a scientist-turned-consultant from the L.A. medical examiner’s office.
Typical plots went like this: Someone ends up on Quincy’s table after dying (duh) in what appears to be an open-and-shut case. But Quincy isn’t convinced -- “I don’t buy it, Sam!” was his catch phrase, later parodied on SCTV -- and in digging deeper he uncovers an underlying social ill that must be stopped, like drugs in school, or toxic waste in the water. Jack Klugman’s been quoted saying he’s very proud of how Quincy tackled social and environmental issues.
Other cast members: John S. Ragin played Quincy’s uptight boss who always forbade him from investigating further (about as effective as when James T. Kirk tells the Enterprise to abandon him and leave orbit). His buddies on the police force were played by Joseph Roman and Garry Walberg. A real M.E. named Marc Scott Taylor consulted with the show and got some screen time occasionally. He was there to make the show more realistic, but strawberry (the E2 user) notes that Taylor has admitted to strecthing the bounds of reality on occasion to accommodate the plot.
There was also a really cute brunette waitress at the bar where they all hung out, named Diane, played by Diane Markoff. I was just entering high school during the show’s run, so I remember Diane better than I remember the cops.
As with Columbo, Quincy’s first name was never divulged. He lived on a boat in the Los Angeles marina, and I think they gave him a semi-regular love interest who eventually married him (and made him give up the boat).
-- MysteryNet: http://www.mysterynet.com/tv/profiles/quincy/
-- The Quincy Examiner: http://www.inquire.net/quincy/index3.shtml