DVD Review: Quincy, M.E. (The Final Season)

If you ever wanted to get a sense of the power of Jack Klugman, watch how bad Matthew Perry is as Oscar on the latest incarnation of The Odd Couple. Matthew plays a role. Jack inhabited Oscar. You swear Jack and Oscar were inseparable except after The Odd Couple, Jack became Quincy. No longer was he America’s greatest slob, Klugman became a meticulous medical examiner. Now his time was coming to the same end as most of his clients. Quincy, Me: The Final Season brings to a close the series after eight successful seasons. But he wouldn’t end this time alone. After all the funerals, Quincy would have his wedding.

The show did created episodes torn from the headlines of 1982. This was time capsule of what people feared would kill them. “Baby Rattlesnakes” probes the concept of drive-by shootings in Los Angeles. Before Boyz in the Hood, we had Quincy in the hood. He hooks up with a probation officer (Barney Miller‘s Gregory Sierra) to track down the gang member that blasted a young girl. “Ghost of a Chance” probably disturbed people waiting for surgery. Turns out surgeons were letting their residents handle surgery while they hit the golf course. Quincy has to figure out who was Dr. Badhands when a patient dies on the operating table. “Give Me Your Weak” returns to the subject of orphan drugs. The show’s focus ultimately led to President Ronald Reagan signing the Orphan Drug Act. “Unreasonable Doubt” made viewers think about Sturge-Weber syndrome. “Sleeping Dogs” sends Quincy out to the country to figure out which sweet local killed Brion James (Blade Runner).

“Next Stop, Nowhere” blew the lid of punk rock. In the middle of the mosh pit at a Mayhem show, one of the punks gets stabbed. Along with finding the killer, Quincy blames the nihilistic music of those punk rock kids. If only he had listened to REO Speedwagon, that kid would still be alive. While some mock this episode, it did serve of a great way to scare timid kids away from the Circle Jerks show at the Brewery. What ever happened to Mayhem? They really should reunite at Coachella. “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” brings Quincy to the defense of a pal who might be getting railroaded by an overzealous prosecutor. Turns out the prosecutor is so zealous that he tosses Quincy into jail. “On Dying High” is all about the dangers of freebasing cocaine. Roger Miller is the King of the blow who goes all Richard Pryor with the lighter. Oddly enough, it seems Netflix refuses to run this episode. “Quincy’s Wedding” hitches Dr. Emily Hanover (Anita Gillette) after dating her through the season. What’s interesting is that Gillette had previously played Quincy’s late wife in a early season flashback. Did he marry twins? The cool part is he gets June Lockhart (Lost In Space) as his mother-in-law. Although the wedding is in jeopardy when Quincy gets obsessed with a case.

The penultimate “Whatever Happened to Morris Perlmutter?” is the last true episode of the series. The episode deals with Alzheimer’s Disease which had mostly just been written off as “getting old.” Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove) is a vaudeville star whose comeback might fade away since he forgets his routines. He needs Quincy’s help. This was the last time Quincy shared the screen with Dr. Asten and Sam. The final episode “The Cutting Edge” was really a pilot for Dr. Hanover to explore cutting edge medical techniques. Here she learns about reattaching limbs. The show wasn’t picked up so Quincy wasn’t going to be making cameos on his wife’s show.

So now all of Quincy, M.E. is out on TV. The show served a major purpose as it brought light to various real medical and social issues that needed attention. Would anyone care about orphan drugs without the help of Quincy? Maybe the series was off base with its portrayal of punk rock. But it remains gloriously entertaining with its off beat vision. Quincy made citizens understand the role of the medical examiner as more than just the guy who passed over bodies to the funeral home. What really makes the series vital after all these decades is the work of Jack Klugman in the role. He wasn’t Oscar in the coroner’s office. Jack Klugman became Quincy and the world benefited from his medical examinations.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are sharp enough for viewers to check out the body at the crime scene with Quincy. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The gruff, but lovable voice of Jack Klugman comes out in the mix. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

Shout! Factory presents Quincy, M.E.: The Final Season. Starring: Jack Klugman, John S. Ragin, Val Bisoglio, Robert Ito and Anita Gillette. Boxset Contents: 24 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: March 10, 2015.

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