Quincy M.E.: Season 2, Episode 8

A Good Smack in the Mouth (15 Apr. 1977)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Crime
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Asten's wife picks up a 9-year-old boy out hitchhiking and both are in a car accident. Quincy finds out that the bruises on the boy's body are too old to be from the crash and is determined... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Garry Walberg ...
John S. Ragin ...
Joseph Roman ...
Allen Case ...
Stuart Harrison
Martha Harrison (as Collin Wilcox)
Monica Lewis ...
Mona Duffy
Dr. Burt Travers
Joey Kincaid Harrison
Melissa Asten
Paul Lichtman ...
Dr. Griffith
Gregg Palmer ...
Sean Duffy


Asten's wife picks up a 9-year-old boy out hitchhiking and both are in a car accident. Quincy finds out that the bruises on the boy's body are too old to be from the crash and is determined to prove that his parents are beating him, and to get them help before Joey becomes one of his patients. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Crime




Release Date:

15 April 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


On Joey's spelling assignment, his teacher has marked as correct the misspelled words "buter" and "gathur." See more »


Lt. Frank Monahan: If you had a single eyewitness, Quincy, I could help you. But those are the rules.
Dr. R. Quincy, M.E.: The rules are for the child beaters and not the children. Alright, you want a witness? I'll get you a witness, I'll find somebody who saw what happened and deliver them into your lap!
See more »

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User Reviews

Heartbreaking episode
9 August 2015 | by See all my reviews

A Good Smack in the Mouth begins with Dr. Asten's (John S. Ragin) wife, Melissa (Barbara Babcock), driving home at night and picking up a young boy named Joey (Shane Sinutko) who is hitchhiking. As Melissa is driving and trying to talk to the boy, another driver cuts them off causing the car to veer off the road and overturn into a ditch. Dr. Asten is out of town at a conference and Quincy (Jack Klugman) goes to the hospital in his place to check on Melissa and Joey, who is mistakenly assumed to be the son of the Astens. Upon further examination of Joey's injuries, Quincy identifies old bruises and scarring inconsistent with the accident leading him to determine that the child has been abused. He then embarks on a campaign to find out who is abusing Joey and make sure that the child is protected despite many obstacles and lack of cooperation from others.

There is no murder mystery featured in this episode and it is the first one of the Quincy series to deal with a social issue with many more to come. On the positive side, it addresses a horrendous problem in our society which still exists today as we see child abuse cases reported in the news daily, and therefore it remains very relevant. Shane Sinutko gives a powerful and heartbreaking performance as Joey, and his acting is definitely the highlight of this episode for me.

My criticism is that there is no mystery here, unless you count figuring out which parent was responsible for the abuse, or was it both? I found the logic used to determine this towards the end to be extremely flawed. Maybe there are some cases where the child would show more love and affection towards the abuser in an effort to placate them and win their approval, but you cannot tell me that this generalization is the norm as stated in this episode as many children are fearful of their abusers.

I also found the final scene to be quite odd where Quincy distances himself from the boy who is extremely upset and needs comfort from someone familiar that he trusts as he is placed into foster care with the Astens. Why did he react this way, did he feel he was getting too close to the boy? You would think since he has a personal relationship with the Astens outside the lab that he would still see the child and they would remain friends, so what was the point of that insensitive goodbye? It didn't make any sense to me and took away from what could have been a much more positive ending to an otherwise sad episode.

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