“Quincy, M.E.” was an American mystery medical drama television series that aired on NBC from October 3, 1976, to May 11, 1983. Jack Klugman starred in the title role as a Los Angeles County medical examiner (coroner) who routinely engaged in police investigations.Quincy’s job was to determine the reasons for suspicious deaths. His theories about the cause of death often put him at odds with his boss and the police. Quincy was a stubborn, crusading medical examiner who solved cases using forensic analysis, crime scene investigation techniques, and sharp intuition years before the popular “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” franchise began.
“Quincy” was originally broadcast as 90-minute telefilms as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie rotation in the autumn of 1976, alongside “Columbo,” “McCloud,” and “McMillan & Wife.” The series proved popular enough that after four episodes of “Quincy, M.E.” had aired during the 1976–1977 season in the extended format, “Quincy” was spun off into its own weekly one-hour series without a typical 60-minute pilot. Instead, a two-hour episode kicked off a thirteen-episode shortened run of the series, which concluded the 1976–1977 season, while the Mystery Movie format was discontinued in the spring of 1977.
“Quincy, M.E.” focused largely on using medical methods in criminal investigations. It was one of the first, if not the first, to use in-depth forensic methods and crime scene investigation techniques to analyze evidence, provide facts, and support theories about why crimes were committed. It was also one of the first dramatic series to use a format like this to further a social agenda. Quincy would find himself involved with police investigations that revealed situations such as a disreputable plastic surgeon and the reasons his poor surgeries were not stopped, flaws in drunk driving laws, problems caused by aviation safety issues, dumping of hazardous waste, the proliferation of handguns, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, orphan drugs, and anorexia, among others.
The “Quincy, M.E.” series was distinguished from other shows in the genre in one obvious way — the show often used the same actors and actresses in different roles in various episodes.