QUINCY, M.E.: THE HILARIOUS YEARS
Number 5 -- "Jury Duty" (1981 NBC-TV/Universal)
Starring Jack Klugman, Robert Ito, John S. Ragin, Val Bisoglio, Garry Walberg, Joseph Roman. Special Guest Stars Joan Darling, Robert Alda, Sam Groom, Morgan Stevens, Joe Maross. Directed by Georg Fenady.
JURY DUTY opens with a car coming to a stop in a secluded area on a dirt road. A young couple, parked on a balmy night under the stars, arguing. Arguing? The feather-haired guy is dating the "precious daughter" (his words) of the Reverend, who apparently doesn't want her married yet. Based on what ensues, the Rev has a point: she definitely comes across as too immature for it. She bolts from the car and declares she never wants to see him again (I take that as a "no" to the proposal, Bud). The proposer chases her to the edge of a cliff, grabs her....and we dissolve to Quincy's office.
Quincy is livid about being billed for a call to Nigeria. A phone scam from pre-Internet days? He's even more perturbed about a $48. charge for an overdue book, but excited to be accepted for jury duty. Astin reminds him of the hardship they'll be under at the morgue, but Hell, the Big Q spends enough time away from the office trying to push legislation and do Monahan's job for him, so what's a few days in court Doc? Astin can't even entice Q to avoid his civic duty with a curse of a case. While we all start wondering just how many vacation days Quincy gets in a year (I'd put the over/under at 212) the action takes us to the courthouse.
|"C'mon Quincy, I'm serious! Could you please work at least 2 days this week??"|
However, Groom's charges do take a toll on Munson's father, who steals this episode's first Outrage! from the Big Q, sweating profusely....
|Careful, dude, you'll blow a gasket!|
....which is followed by chest pains and a collapse.
|Who says I'm not doing my part for the boys at the morgue?|
|Robert Alda's combover: a 6.5 on the Zero Mostel scale|
|Watch it, Hal! I'm a judge you know....|
|THIS toupee? A minus-2 on the Raymond Bailey scale.|
|"As the star, I insist on the remainder of this trial's questions, your Honor!"|
Groom is getting nervous, and despite her crush the Judge admonishes the Klug Man. "No more questions based on your special knowledge, Dr. Quincy!"
|Hey, relax, Doc. Quincy even makes Columbo look like a moron|
I have to ask--why not? Quincy is asking questions that the defense attorney should be asking. I'm not baffled as much by the DA's protests as I am the lack of any input from Alda at this point. Then again, by simply doing nothing, Alda is letting Q pick apart the DA's case. He's either incompetent or damned efficient. I just can't figure out which one, yet.
I'm also thinking that those dinners at Danny's are far more convenient for Quincy than his co-workers. Think about it. This episode clearly establishes that Quincy resides and votes in a different county than the one he works in (presumably Los Angeles County) since he's eligible for the jury. A different coroner and police Lieutenant worked this homicide--and the latter actually makes Monohan look good. (No easy task.) Yet Danny's is close enough to the courthouse for the Big Q to hurry up and eat lunch. Interestingly, while Quincy leaves, Monohan and Brill (with no lines, as usual) show up.
I could waste a lot more space figuring out who lives where and why Quincy is apparently the only qualified coroner, homicide investigator AND defense attorney within at least a hundred miles of L.A., but we've still got over half an episode to go, so I'll move on.
|"Should I hit on the Judge, or her? Decisions, decisions...."|
At recess, the Big Q phones Sam about that human semen test. He gets the answer from Sam, proving that yes indeedy, the "tissue expert" missed something. "Quince, if this is about the trial you're on you could get in a lot of trouble!"
While Quincy is breaking the law in order to preserve it, we finally hear something substantial from Mr. Alda. The combed over attorney has something to say alright--to his agent, about a lack of exposure for his book, as The Big Q glumly looks on. Probably wondering why he has to do everyone else's job. There's no time for this though, as Quince is off to the men's room. He needs an accomplice to get his questions asked now, so he talks to a tax attorney about becoming Scofflaw # 2.
Your Honor isn't convinced when he asks the first one. She goes to questions in writing beforehand. Yes, teacher--I mean Judge. But despite this public display, during the next recess we see that Quincy's professional curiosity is having an impact on Judge Darling. The dropouts now have our coroner officially on the jury, but also arm in arm with the Judge(!) and bantering about his questions(!). Then, there's that look she gives him before the fadeout.
Yep, Quince, I'm thinking you're a Slam Dunk this week.
That is, until he finds out that the victim wasn't a virgin--from her ex. Thus, our second Outrage! I spoke too soon.
The defendant is furious and frustrated, but no moreso than our star juror, who after all this time is ready to disqualify hmself. "There is evidence being accepted that has so many holes in it it looks like swiss cheese!"
Judge Darling doesn't seem to disagree with The Big Q, but she doesn't want a mistrial after all this effort. She gives Quince a classic 'open ended' answer: "You do what you have to do and I'll do what I have to do, and we'll let the chips fall where they may! They're going to be very heavy chips, and if they fall, they're gonna fall on YOUR head!"
|On Quincy's way in, the baliff is doing his job.|
|To paraphrase Al Bundy, it's only stealing...if you get caught.|
|Only I get to go on dates, Sam, not you!|
|Remember, he's been handling semen.|
|At least Combover is pleased. For now.|
If Groom looks unhappy, well, just wait until The Big Q starts tearing him and his case apart. Allowing numerous people "from a bar" to "mill around the crime scene like a Chinese fire drill". And, as expected, the scientific evidence that wasn't destroyed "didn't fit with what my experience had taught me".
"Months of work, thousands of taxpayer's dollars" is Groom's frustrated response. But as usual, Quincy is allowed to continue, and to point out the numerous mistakes made by coroners and analysts not named Quincy and Sam. Anti-human semen test doesn't work inside vagina (but it does work on clothing, we learn. So Bill Clinton wouldn't have wanted one). In addition, the contamination of the specimen has been known to "produce a false B blood type" in tests.
|You don't question me on MY show, got it???|
"Nothing stops you, does it Doctor?"
"Not when I'm looking for the truth!"
|And with THAT out of the way, let's talk about that toupee....|
Judge wants to go out with the Big Q. Hubba hubba!
|Under the robe all along!|
Classic superhero Quincy this time out: he's DA, EMT, homicide detective, pathologist, prosecutor, juror AND moral conscience rolled into one, but so damn humble about it. And can't we look past the tampering with evidence, stealing of said evidence, discussion of the case outside of court and eavesdropping considering that there's just so much damn incompetence to overcome? Hell, even the Judge is willing to bend the rules for Quince, despite the fact that she's only gonna be a one episode girlfriend for our heartbreaker in the brown station wagon. That's the power of Q! (**1/2 out of four)