Quincy M.E.: Season 8, Episode 2

Ghost of a Chance (6 Oct. 1982)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Crime
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When a man dies during bypass surgery, Quincy believes the operation was performed by resident instead of the renowned heart surgeon who was contracted to do the procedure.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Garry Walberg ...
John S. Ragin ...
Joseph Roman ...
Harry Townes ...
Dr. Herb Martin
Frank Marth ...
Al Werbin
Ted Markham
Sarah Markham
Dr. Stanley Royce (as Jose Ferrer)
Nurse Jane Mathers (as Carol Russell)


Eminent heart surgeon, Stan Royce, M.D., is one of an elite group who developed a special new procedure for patients where a plaque is inserted in the heart in an area where a side-branch divides off an artery. When the doctor's cutting-edge procedure does not save patient, Hal Markham, the Markham family asks for an autopsy. Dr. Quincy is shocked to find Markham was not treated with the new procedure, as promised, but an older version. Quincy is certain the new procedure was not done because the plaque he and Sam found in Hal Markham was in the wrong place. Dr. Quincy believes Dr. Royce is allowing one of his more gifted, but less experienced, residents (played by a young Jonathan Frakes) to perform Royce's procedures... but without Royce's supervision. Quincy is very unhappy about this state of affairs and sets out to hold these doctors to the standards to which they once swore an oath, just as any professional would do. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Crime




Release Date:

6 October 1982 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Where's the crime?
2 June 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is yet another relatively weak episode of "Quincy". I say relatively weak because there really is no crime involved and Quincy mostly spends the show yelling and pushing for social changes--a sure recipe for a sub-par show. Although "Quincy" began as a show about forensics, over the years it became more and more a show about social issues--and in the process became far less entertaining. "Ghost of a Chance" is a great example of these less entertaining shows.

A patient dies following heart surgery. The family thinks it might be a case of malpractice, so they pay to have an autopsy. While no real incompetence is seen, the surgery appears to have been done by a different doctor than the doctor of record. The rest of the show is about Quincy's campaign against so-called 'ghost surgeries'--operations performed by inexperienced interns instead of the doctor that patients THINK are doing the job.

Because ghost surgeries might be unethical but not necessarily illegal, the impact of this episode is pretty slight. Sure, it might be a problem but it might not--so the audience is left confused and flat. Not terrible but it's hard to get excited about this one.

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