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Appliance of science; REWIND Proof telly isn't as good as it was.

Quincy, ME (BBC2 1976-1983) YOU knew exactly what you were going to get from an episode of this popular drama.

To say that the programme followed a set formula is probably something of an understatement. But it worked. Quincy starred Jack Klugman as the principled Los Angeles County medical examiner (forensic pathologist) of the title but inevitably he ended up being the case-solving detective. Many of the episodes followed this general path:. Somebody dies, seemingly by natural causes.

. Quincy notices something that causes him to suspect foul play.

. He refuses to release the body and sign the cause of death, to the disapproval of his boss Dr Robert Asten.

. Asten gets upset, believing Quincy is seeing evidence that doesn't exist, and urges the doctor to speedily conclude his investigations and accept the obvious.

. Quincy argues with some bureaucratic individual impeding the case.

. Quincy solves the murder ... with about a minute left of the episode.

. The main characters meet at Danny's restaurant at the end. The series started off life as 90-minute stories shown on US network NBC's Sunday Movie Mystery slot, rotating with the likes of Columbo and McCloud.

But it proved so popular that it was converted to hour-long weekly episodes.

Created by the successful Glen A Larson stable, more than 140 episodes would eventually be made. In all that time Quincy's first name would never be used although in one episode a business card shows his name to be R Quincy.

It was this kind of quirkiness which made the series so popular and gave Quince - as he was known - a real personality. A recurring line is his habit of driving his work vehicle - the county coroner's hearse - on his day off. Quincy always claims his car is in for repair.

Quincy's back-story is that the former Navy captain gave up a lucrative career as a surgeon following the death of his wife and devotes his time to fighting miscarriages of justice - aided by faithful lab assistant Sam Fujiyama, played by Robert Ito. Later programmes would go on to highlight areas of social concern such as airline safety, the dumping of hazardous waste and the spread of handguns. While many detective series looked at evidence such as fingerprints and ballistics, Quincy was the first to regularly present in-depth forensic investigations - paving the way for current shows such as CSI and its spin-offs.


EYE FOR DETAIL: Jack Klugman in the TV series Quincy
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2011
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