DVD Review: Quincy, M.E. (Season 5)

Quincy, M.E. was the only part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie to become a regular TV series. Banacek, The Snoop Sisters, Herc Ramsey, McMillian (minus wife), McCloud and Columbo never went to an hour long format. What allowed Quincy to make the transition? It was the last show to join the Mystery Movie so there was a youth element. Jack Klugman had just come off The Odd Couple so he wasn’t going to complain about going from six 90 minute episodes to 22 60 minute episodes. Ultimately it came down to the fact that America couldn’t get enough medical examiner action. Quincy, M.E.: Season 5 takes the corpse whisperer into the ’80s.

“No Way to Treat a Flower” could easily be the classic tale of kids on dope meeting a tragic fate. A girl dies after smoking marijuana and ends up on Quincy’s slab. Her test results make her appear to be an elderly woman. Shortly after that, her boyfriend dies. He has the same issues. Quincy needs to track down the killer weed to find out what made it lethal.He must save the kids who just want to smoke up with out fear. “Dead Last” puts Klugman in his natural environment: the race track. Klugman had a horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby. This trip is business when a horse goes nuts and kills a jockey. Quincy declares this isn’t just an accident. Red West of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia has a guest role. “By the Death of a Child” takes the show international. Robert Loggia runs San Christos. A child has died from what appears to be a diphtheria vaccine. Loggia’s career might be over if Quincy and Sam (Robert Ito) can’t find the real cause. “Never A Child” dips into the world of teen runaways that get involve in hooking and posing for smut. Quincy goes after a chicken hawk that preys on these young girls.

“Hot Ice” introduces Customs Agent Nivens played by Edward Grover. He’s previously played Baretta’s boss Lt. Hal Brubaker. I mainly mention Edward Grover since his sister worked with my dad around this time. But Grover has a pivotal role in tracking down a diamond smuggling ring. He can’t solve the crime since it is Quincy’s show. “Sweet Land of Liberty” makes Sam’s pal a killer. Turns out the guy might have been given psychotic drugs while in the military. “Mode of Death” finds a disgraced televangelist dead in a hotel room. Quincy doesn’t think he died of the pills and booze combination. Can he get a witness? “Nowhere to Run” appears to be the case of a pregnant girl being pushed off a cliff by her lover. But was it really that easy? “The Money Plague” appears to find the remains of a D.B. Cooper like guy and his ransom money in the woods. Trouble happens when the park ranger also finds the weapon the Cooper character used to get his demands.

In a torn from the day’s headline, there’s riots when a despotic leader comes to America for surgery in “Diplomatic Immunity.” Rebels from his country get creative in their assassination methods. This didn’t quite happen when the Shah of Iran arrived before this time. “Riot” takes Quincy and Sam into a prison to investigate an inmate’s mysterious death. Trouble happens when the prisoners upraise and take them hostage. “Cover-Up” has a nurse needing advice from Quincy when her superiors don’t want a death to appear at the hospital. “Unhappy Hour” puts Quincy in a difficult place. He has to prove that the niece of Dr. Asten (John S. Ragin) wasn’t at the wheel in a drunk driving case. The computer simulation isn’t quite a Pixar production. “The Winning Edge” dopes up a bunch of gymnasts to make them winners. “TKO” kills a championship boxer. “Deadly Arena” kills people with football stadium food. It’s not a good time to be a sports star in Los Angeles.

The lab tests for Quincy, M.E.: Season 5 are positive for mystery addiction. This is such a fun show with Quincy, Sam and Dr. Asten peeling back the layers of a crime victim. While it’s easy to mock network executives, at least one got it right when they chose to turn Quincy into a weekly series instead of just ending it with the rest of the Mystery Movie titles.

The Episodes
“No Way to Treat a Flower,” “Dead Last,” “By the Death of a Child,” “Never a Child,” “Hot Ice,” “Sweet Land of Liberty,” “Mode of Death,” “Nowhere to Run,” “The Money Plague,” “For the Benefit of My Patients,” “Murder by S.O.P.,” “Honor Thy Elders,” “Diplomatic Immunity,” “Riot,” “Cover-Up,” “Unhappy Hour,” “The Winning Edge,” “New Blood,” “TKO,” “The Final Gift,” “Deadly Arena” and “No Way to Treat a Patient.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are very sharp. You can see the details on Quincy’s suits. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are perfect for when Quincy gets passionate about an angle. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

Three are no bonus features.

Quincy, M.E.: Season 5 is filled with autopsy action. Quincy doesn’t hold back when he investigates dope smoking kids, dead jockeys, world dictators and athletes.

Shout! Factory presents Quincy, M.E.: Season 5. Starring: Jack Klugman, Garry Walberg, John S. Ragin, Val Bisoglio and Robert Ito. Boxset Contents: 22 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: March 19, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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