Judge P.S. Colbert will be performing his own autopsy, thank you very much.
"You are about to enter the most fascinating sphere of police work; the world of forensic medicine."
Welcome to crime scene investigation, 20th century style. Forget about DNA and slow-motion bullet trajectories. These are the days of double-takes and volleys of pizzicato-laced incidental music. Join everybody's favorite bagger-and-tagger, Quincy (Jack Klugman, The Odd Couple), on his fifth season rounds, featuring twenty two episodes on six discs.
• "No Way To Treat A Flower"
Quincy, M.E. Season 5 finds the passionate pathologist inundated with victims of suspicious death, poison, performance-enhancing drugs, a viral epidemic, a prison riot, child abuse, elder abuse, medical malpractice—you name it. Quincy gets plenty of guff about exaggeration and conspiracy theories, but it's really a matter of perception versus paranoia.
Where you see a corpse, he sees cause-and-effect. Where you see a cause, Quincy sees a crusade—to expose the danger of pot smoking ("I've got cardiac tissue in a fifteen year old girl that belongs in a 70 year old woman!"), or professional sports ("I'm telling you, if you let this game go on as scheduled, and we don't do anything about it, you'll be playing Russian Roulette with ninety thousand lives!"). Remember that young prostitute who fell from that building down on skid row? A suicide, right? Well, that's what they'd like you to think, but Quincy has news for you: "People do not jump off buildings backwards!"
If you're curious about the medical examiner's day-to-day routine, tag along on a high school biology class field trip. If you want to witness the unique magic of television's former Oscar Madison taking on ineffectual bureaucrats, clueless politicians, and international jewel thieves (You see, Quincy was heading to Las Vegas anyways, to judge the Miss Coroner beauty pageant, and—oh, never mind…), look no further.
What you see won't always be pretty. Shout! Factory has taken over distribution of this Universal Studios series, and while they're mostly fine to look at, I am grading on the Universal Studios 1970's TV curve, which allows for a certain amount of inconsistency with light and color preservation. A certain number of audio drop-outs are also to be expected—if you've turned the volume all the way up, hit replay a few times and you still can't make out the line, let it go. There are no subtitles here to help you. If you're waiting for a better presentation of these episodes, don't hold your breath.
If it's any comfort, keep in mind that an acceptable lack of polish suits the particular charm of star Jack Klugman, who always mixed an authentic grit with his likability and impressive acting chops. The worlds of television, cinema, and stage certainly lost a legend when Klugman passed on Christmas Eve 2012, at the age of ninety. Santa giveth, and Santa taketh away.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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