The Quincy M.E. television series, a popular crime drama that captivated audiences during its initial run in the 1970s, continues to bewilder and perplex fans with its DVD box set releases. Produced by Universal and Shout Factory!, the packaging and organization of the series’ seasons have left both novice Quincy M.E. enthusiasts and the general public scratching their heads. The source of this confusion lies in the way the seasons were broken up during the show’s debut in the 1976 Mystery Movie season. Let’s delve into this conundrum and shed light on the accurate classification of the Quincy M.E. season listings.

Moving from a 90-minute to 60-minute TV network series…

The NBC Mystery Movie anthology provided a break from hourly episode scripts for actors/actresses with its 90-minute post-production window per episode, as opposed to the usual 50-minute hour-long series. It also allowed them to avoid being typecast in a single long-running season and introduced new characters, settings, and storylines in each rotation. For those seeking a long-term run with a character, the fan reception quickly determined the extent of typecasting. This explains why those first few Quincy episodes were 90 minutes in length.

If we take a look at Season 6 from the box set or an IMDB reference for the series online, we discover that the airdate appears correct and yes, the episode description felt like eight seasons. How this “Last Rights” episode truly happened in the months prior to season 6 and should be indicated as season 5. Read on as to why…

The Enigma of the 1976 Mystery Movie Season:

During its first season in 1976, the Quincy M.E. series was part of the Mystery Movie rotation on NBC, which featured various shows under the umbrella of the Mystery Movie concept. While this arrangement caused the first ’76 season to be officially identified as only four episodes deep, the rotation system on the NBC anthology made it difficult to discern the true nature of the seasons because up to four different series would appear on the series simultaneously. This confusion has persisted over the years, exacerbated by those not operating with complete or using inaccurate information found on platforms such as Wikipedia and IMDB.

The TV Guide Listing: A Clear Revelation

Fortunately, there is a definitive source that clarifies the classification of the Quincy M.E. seasons and confirms the true debut of the fifth season. By examining a TV Guide listing from that era, we can shed light on this matter. The listing, which showcased the episode “Last Six Hours,” establishes that it was, in fact, Quincy’s fifth season debut not the beginning of the sixth season on the NBC/Universal affiliate networks.

This revelation provides the identification and proof necessary to rectify the misclassification of season listings.

The Quincy M.E. DVD box set series, authorized for home video use by Universal Studios and Shout Factory!, has long perplexed fans due to the confusion surrounding the classification of its seasons. Some people, in fact, most people continue to mistakenly believe the show ran for eight seasons just because the first ep was broadcast in October of 1976 while the last was in May of 1983. However, what is not taken into account is how the initial 1976 Mystery Movie season, with its rotation system on the NBC anthology, created ambiguity that has lingered for decades to this day. This is because the first season really was composed of 90-minute episodes to accommodate the network’s desire to either contract or expand the time span to fit more than an hour of NBC Mystery movie time for story development

Addressing the Lack of Knowledge and Resources:

The persistence of incorrect season listings for Quincy M.E. can be attributed to a lack of knowledge and resources available to correct this misconception. With platforms like Wikipedia and IMDB relying on community contributions, inaccuracies can often go unchallenged, further solidifying the confusion surrounding the series’ seasons. However, armed with the knowledge provided by the TV Guide listing, fans and enthusiasts now have a reliable reference to rectify this classification issue.


However, a TV Guide listing from that era has emerged as the definitive source to clarify the matter, confirming that the episode “Last Rights” marked the true debut of Quincy’s fifth season. Armed with this newfound knowledge, fans can now correct the misclassification of season listings and appreciate the Quincy M.E. series with greater clarity and understanding.

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