31 July 2008 | MartinHafer
Very enjoyable yet also very formulaic
I have enjoyed Quincy for years--both when it first came on TV and in the years following its wide-spread syndication. Despite enjoying the show very much, I must, however, admit that the show was very formulaic and predictable. In 90% of the episodes, they stuck one of two very well-established plot outlines:
1. There is a death and it's assumed that it was by natural causes. In most of these cases, it's actually murder.
2. To Dr. Quincy, the case "just doesn't seem right" and he won't close the case--wanting to take more time with the autopsy or do some investigating on his own.
3. His boss, Dr. Asten, argues with Quincy to just wrap it all up due to either time constraints or pressure from outside sources. In essence, Asten is a bureaucratic weenie and Quincy a crusader for truth.
4. Quincy's friend, Lt. Monahan, wants to close the case because he KNOWS that it either wasn't a murder or he's blaming some innocent guy for the crime. Oddly, despite the Los Angeles Police Department being one of the largest ones in the world, somehow Monahan is almost always on the case--he's apparently a very, very busy guy--as is Quincy!
5. In the end, Quincy is vindicated. Yet, despite this, by the time they do the next episode, they once again begin this same process!
6. They all end up at Danny's and someone says something funny.
1. A death occurs.
2. Dr. Quincy becomes angry because the death was caused by some social issue such as spousal abuse, sexual abuse or poorly staffed emergency care centers, so he goes on a rampage and annoys practically everyone.
3. Quincy grandstands, makes speeches and preaches not just to the folks in the show but AT the audience.
4. Folks FINALLY listen to Quincy and they all end up at Danny's restaurant. But because it's a social issue program, they may or may not say something funny to end the show.
So why, despite the predictability of the show did I and so many others like it? Well, perhaps it was because although you knew what to expect in general, the shows were very creative in how they thought out the murders. Also, in a few cases, there weren't murders but the show managed to bring up excellent public health issues (though occasionally they were VERY preachy). Plus, over the years, the show evolved into a likable cast. Heck, after a while, you even grew to like Asten--especially since he mellowed and was less of a paper-pushing bureaucrat in later episodes.
Excellent writing, a likable cast and great imagination, this show has stood up well over time.
UPDATE: I just finished re-watching the entire series and think I should update my review. As the show progressed, the quality of the shows began to decline. The decline was slow at first but by season eight, the shows were just awful. I assume they ran out of ideas for crimes to solve, as more and more as the show progressed the shows became soapboxes for social ills NOT shows about forensic science. And, soapbox shows, while perhaps important, are far, far less entertaining.