First seen on October 3, 1976, as a component of the rotating crime anthology series The NBC Mystery Movie, Quincy, M.E. starred Jack Klugman as the title character, a one-time private medical practitioner who, after the death of his wife, gave up his profitable practice to become a medical examiner with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Using his vast knowledge of forensic medicine, Quincy (whose first name was never revealed on the series) frequently came up against cases of normal or "accidental" death, or suicide, that he suspected to be murders. Whenever this happened, Quincy went into full detective mode, ruffling the feathers of everyone in any sort of authority, from the police to the D.A.'s office to the medical establishment itself. Contentious and persistent, Quincy never let up until he proved his theories or solved the case at hand, even when facing public censure, the loss of his license or a stiff prison term.
Once the series ceased its sporadic NBC Mystery Movie schedule and became a weekly, one-hour NBC offering in the spring of 1977, Quincy broadened his range of outrage to include suspected cases of child abuse, drug and/or alcohol addiction brought about by flaws in the bureaucracy, governmental red tape, incompetent doctors, corrupt politicians, shifty lawyers, gangland chieftains, and those who would prey on the helpless and infirm in all walks of life. While Quincy's intentions were honorable and his results were often laudatory, he proved to be a major pain in the neck to his superior in the coroner's office, Dr. Robert Astin (John S. Ragin). Originally a pompous, preening obstructionist bureaucrat, Dr. Astin mellowed into an intelligent and avuncular character as the series wore on, and became one of Quincy's closest friends. Another "friendly adversary" was police lieutenant Frank Monahan (Garry Walberg), who frequently found himself both resisting Quincy's intrusions into his territory and welcoming his meticulous detective work and razor sharp deductions. Others in the supporting cast included Robert Ito as Quincy's young and ambitious assistant, Sam Fujiyama; Val Bisoglio as restaurateur Danny Tovo (who owned Quincy's favorite watering hole, Danny's); and Joseph Roman as police sergeant Brill.
Although he lived alone on his personal boat which he kept docked at a marina, Quincy did not want for female companionship. His girlfriend during the series' first two seasons was Lee Potter (Lynnette Mettey); she was followed by a steady stream of lovely ladies, including Dr. Emily Hanover (Anita Gillette), who ended up marrying Quincy after innumerable delays and breakups in the series' final season. Created and produced by Glen A. Larson, Quincy, M.E. remained a popular NBC attraction until its cancellation on September 5, 1983. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Jack Klugman, Garry Walberg, (more)