Thursday, December 08, 2005

DVD Review - Quincy, M.E.: Seasons 1 & 2 (1976-1977)

Way back when all I cared about was Star Wars figures and what was for tea, before CSI Miami (or wherever), there was Quincy M.E.

Quincy was the first show using medical know-how, with crazy ‘futuristic’ notions like DNA testing, to solve the crime. This was a show with episodes well ahead of their time. A show that paved the way for many a contemporary series, with their staggering budgets, that use far more advanced forensic methods to catch their criminal.

Jack Klugman (remember him from The Odd Couple?) plays the thoroughly 3 dimensional Quincy. A crusading busy-body Los Angeles Medical Examiner, he’s an expert in his field who always finds something that everyone else has missed. There’s always some tiny clue that goes against all the other evidence and leads him, like some unstoppable terrier, to run foul of his world-weary boss Astin and blustering police LT Monahan. Quincy must have been a nightmare to work with. I pity poor Sam (the excellent Robert Ito), his assistant. But he’s got a truth to find, a crime to solve, and a narrow-minded system to fight.

Awash with 70’s nostalgia, this once primetime American import has dated gracefully. Still steeped in the same values, Quincy was just a straightforward crime series with a difference; here was a pathologist doing the legwork, and not some police officer or private eye. The world is very 70’s and lacking grey areas. Here were well-written and well-balanced crime stories from that classic 70’s mould.

This new DVD set could have been made just to fill in those gaps on Sunday afternoons where TV gets a bit pants and there’s not enough time for a movie before Eastenders. So grab a mug of tea, light a decent fire, curl up on the sofa away from the winter chills, and revel in how it used to be done.

I wonder what’s for tea?

Movie: 3.5 out of 5
Extras: 1.5 of 5