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Entertaining and different
rayoflite2430 August 2015
Matters of Life and Death begins with Quincy (Jack Klugman) driving out to a rural community after being assigned to fill in for the local town doctor over the next month following several tense confrontations with his LA colleagues. While en-route, he stops to assist at an accident scene, but the driver, Vincenzo Maggiore, has already died. It turns out the deceased and his wife were patients of the doctor Quincy is filling in for, and Mrs. Maggiore asks for Quincy's help when the autopsy results indicate that her husband was intoxicated causing the accident which will nullify a life insurance policy payout. Quincy agrees to look into Vincenzo's death further and finds that the autopsy was not conducted properly which puts him at odds with local officials who insist they did nothing wrong.

I usually don't like episodes that stray too far off the basic Quincy formula of a murder mystery that is solved through analytical work in the coroner lab, but I found this one to be very entertaining and enjoyable throughout. The premise that a busy coroner in one of the largest cities in the country would be sent off for a month to fill in for a country doctor because he has been temperamental with his coworkers and friends is pretty silly as Dr. Asten (John S. Ragin) would never have approved that, but if you can get past that the rest of the episode is very reasonable and believable.

There are several funny scenes when Quincy is dealing with patients as he is not used to the people he is examining talking back and reacting to him. There is a good balance, though, as we also see some touching scenes when Quincy handles a more delicate case of a woman in a high risk pregnancy who has suffered several miscarriages in the past. All of this along with the mystery surrounding Vincenzo's death and Quincy battling it out with local officials make for quite an interesting Season 3 episode which I highly recommend!
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"You've been with the dead too long, it's time you dealt with the living." Average Quincy episode.
Paul Andrews26 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Quincy M.E.: Matters of Life and Death starts as Asten (John S. Ragin) tells Quincy that he has become unbearable, bad tempered & grouchy. Asten tells Quincy that one of his friends a local small town Doctor named Max Gilliam (Walter Brooke) is going away on vacation for a month & he wants someone to take over his general practise for that period which Quincy agrees to. However before he even reaches the town (hell, before the opening credits even finish) Quincy runs into trouble, the dead body of Vincenzo Maggiore & if that wasn't enough Quincy finds dealing with the living can sometimes be just as difficult as dealing with the dead with all sorts of problems of it own...

Episode 14 from season 3 this Quincy story was directed by Paul Kransy & is decent enough but not one of the show's best. This is one of those Quincy episodes where all the action & incident happens outside the traditional laboratory setting for those of you who like these sorts of episodes, it works well enough I suppose but it's just a bit lethargic with a couple of pretty dull story lines about a pregnant woman with twins & the mysterious circumstances surrounding a man's death neither of which are that great or particularly hold your interest, well not mine anyway. It's a bit predictable as well if I'm honest with a pretty lacklustre ending although watching Quincy fighting against & shouting down bureaucrats & red tape is alway fun in it's own right. Don't get me wrong, Matters of Life and Death is alright but nothing special & by Quincy standards nothing to write home about.

As one would expect due to largely being set outside the laboratory & outside Los Angeles only one of the regular character's appear until the cheesy comedy happy ending at Danny's. The acting is OK but Klugman stands out as usual & he is just great in the title role.

Matters of Life and Death is an average Quincy episode, the two slim story lines aren't really enough to carry it & as it stands it's one of the poorer episodes from the third season.
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While the setup is utterly ridiculous, it is an interesting episode.
MartinHafer14 April 2013
Already by season three, the writers for "Quincy" were obviously having difficulty coming up with ideas--otherwise, an episode like "Matters of Life and Death" never would have been made. Just think about it--the premise makes no sense at all. But, if you can look past this, it IS an interesting episode.

The setup for this show is a problem. I just didn't buy it since it made no sense. Apparently Quincy has been crankier than usual (wow!!!) and was ordered to take some time off--so he gets a job covering for a rural doctor during this doctor's vacation. Okay, this doesn't make sense--and seeing Quincy playing a country doctor AND crazed pathologist really was stretching it. However, the stories were interesting and it played a lot like an episode of "Marcus Welby, MD"...if he was also a coroner! An interesting but silly change of pace.
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