Quincy M.E.: Season 3, Episode 15

Passing (27 Jan. 1978)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Crime
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 30 users  
Reviews: 3 user

While returning from a coroners convention, Quincy and Sam find a human skull in the desert. They immediately hire a forensic artist to use it to try to identify it. Eventually, they ... See full summary »



(teleplay), (teleplay) (as Samuel D. Shamforoff) , 4 more credits »
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Title: Passing (27 Jan 1978)

Passing (27 Jan 1978) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Garry Walberg ...
John S. Ragin ...
Joseph Roman ...
Zohra Lampert ...
Lynn Peters
Neva Patterson ...
Mrs. Lockwood
Sondra Blake ...
Meg Malloy
Mob Boss
Elizabeth Stack ...
Jody Lockwood
Sal Jarrett
Frank Maxwell ...
Ross Bricker
Phillip Pine ...
Thomas Brown
Michael Alaimo ...
Jim Winters (as Michael Laurence)


While returning from a coroners convention, Quincy and Sam find a human skull in the desert. They immediately hire a forensic artist to use it to try to identify it. Eventually, they discover that the skull belonged to a missing labor leader. Soon, his main rival finds out and he and his goons threaten to stop Quincy by hurting the artist as well as Astin. Also, as the investigation goes on, Quincy discovers a hidden secret the man had that may have been the reason for his killing. Written by Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Crime




Release Date:

27 January 1978 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Two of the quest stars on this show would later appear on the T.V. series Airwolf. Zohra Lampert would guest star in the episode Echoes from the Past. And Elizabeth Stack would guest star in the episode Firestorm. See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed murder mystery episode
30 August 2015 | by See all my reviews

Passing begins with Quincy (Jack Klugman) and Sam (Robert Ito) eating at a roadside diner while traveling back to LA from a pathologists convention. A motorcycle gang enters the diner and an uneasy Sam rushes Quincy out the door, but as they walk to the car Quincy notices a human skull on the handlebar of one of the motorcycles and begins to examine it. Following a brief confrontation with the biker, Quincy buys the skull from him and returns to the lab to investigate who the skull belonged to and whether or not they were murdered.

A forensic artist (Zohra Lampert) is called in to assist in the case by doing a facial reconstruction, and the investigation leads them to believe that the skull may have belonged to a missing union leader. The only problem with that theory is that the skull is further determined to be of an African-American male, but the union leader was white. Meanwhile, a rival union leader tries to intimidate Quincy and the department into stopping the investigation into the disappearance through scare tactics.

To me this was just an OK episode with a few problems. First off, when Monahan (Garry Walberg) presents Quincy with a huge list of names of men missing from the area over the past two years early in the episode, somehow Quincy magically pinpoints the correct person out of hundreds of names with absolutely no evidence yet to narrow it down. How was this possible?? I also found the facial reconstruction part of the plot to be a complete rehash of the story from Season 2's "...The Thigh Bone's Connected to the Knee Bone..." episode which had a very similar premise. Furthermore, I found the idea of a man being blackmailed and embezzling huge sums of money to cover up his racial ancestry which was not even apparent to anyone to be completely ridiculous. Even in 1978 which is when this episode aired, would this have mattered or changed anything in his already established life??

On the positive side, there is a murder mystery featured, but it is not compelling or interesting enough to overcome other flaws.

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