An American-made television programme that first appeared in the early 1980s, Quincy followed the exploits of forensic pathologist Dr Quincy ME. Highly-formulaic, every episode features a death that seemed to have a simple explanation, but Quincy refuses to accept this explanation. He pursues the idea of one or more alternative scenarios, much to the chagrin of the police lieutenant and the coroner. His prognosis is always eventually proved to be the correct one. The idea of a medical professional becoming an amateur sleuth has been visited a number of times; notable examples include Diagnosis: Murder in the 1990s and the British drama Silent Witness.
Foul Play always Afoot
Quincy, played by Jack Klugman, is a no-nonsense man who clings to a concept like a rabid terrier affixes its teeth to the denim-clad leg of its victim. Once the good doctor decides that foul play is afoot, he launches into a private - and occasionally illegal - investigation and cannot be deterred from his cause even on the insistence of his superiors. Even more improbable than the fact that a body of a person who died in unusual circumstances makes its way into Quincy's lab every week, is the fact that every week a key witness, a piece of crucial evidence, or an inspirational idea always somehow seems to fall 'randomly' into his path. Many episodes featured links between concepts that, although blindingly obvious to the writers, didn't seem to make the slightest bit of sense to the viewer, especially when the viewer tried to reason in the same way as our pathological pal.
One thing this does not do is stop the series from being immensely fun. The interplay between Quincy and Sam - Quincy's assistant, who merely resigns himself to the fact that Quincy's autopsies involve more tangents than Principia Mathematica and just gets on with his job - provides some comical and some emotional moments. The audience tries to fathom how Quincy - with his modestly-paid job, short fuse, less than Eros-esque looks and brilliant flirting technique ('What do you do for a living?' 'Me, I cut up corpses. How about you?') - always manages to be dating someone half his age, and why even the young ladies call him 'Quincy'. Various twists on the generic plot also add a bit of spice to proceedings - such as the episode in which Quincy's girlfriend was the insurance assessor for a stable owner, in which we saw Quincy broaden his horizons by performing a necropsy1 on a horse.