Quincy M.E. (1976–1983)
4 user 1 critic

Scream to the Skies 

An Airliner crash in Santa Monica Bay springs Quincy into action fighting for airline passenger safety.


(as Ronald Satlof)


, (created by) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Garry Walberg ...
John S. Ragin ...
Joseph Roman ...
Holly Mahoney
Dr. Edward Herrera
Senate Committee Chairman
Charles Lampkin ...
Dr. Jamison
Shannon Saylor ...
Katy Christopher
Melanie Bridges
Kristina Callahan ...
Mrs. Christopher
Frank Parker ...
Mitchell Demming


An Airliner crash in Santa Monica Bay springs Quincy into action fighting for airline passenger safety.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Crime




Release Date:

11 February 1981 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exterior of the apartment used was taken from an episode of "The Rockford Files". See more »


Dr. Edward Herrera states that planes can fly up to 162 miles off the coast over water without flotation gear for the passengers. It would seem odd to use a figure like "162" which means he should have said "162 kilometers," which would be equivalent to 100 miles. See more »

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User Reviews

Great episode featuring an airline crash and a crusade
21 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

Scream to the Skies begins with passengers boarding a 747 flight and taking off only to encounter severe weather conditions as lighting strikes the plane causing it to lose an engine and crash land into Santa Monica bay. Some of the passengers and crew survive the crash and end up floating in the chilly waters of the bay waiting to be rescued. Meanwhile, Quincy (Jack Klugman) is enjoying a surprise birthday celebration at Danny's until the emergency call comes in, and the crew rushes to the scene to assist emergency personnel. Quincy is devastated to find that several passengers who initially survived the crash died later due to hypothermia from being in the chilly water and he cannot fathom why airlines do not provide inflatable life rafts as a safety precaution for these situations. This brings him to Washington to plead his case to Congress and the FAA in making this a requirement for all airlines to prevent these types of deaths.

This is an interesting and unique episode where the first half resembles a disaster in the air type flick which were popular in the 1970s, but then the second half becomes a crusade to improve airline safety measures. While I typically do not enjoy the latter type of episodes, I thought that this one was still good as it had enough other action and content to make the crusade aspect not seem as overbearing and monotonous like other plots. I also enjoyed the scenes where Quincy becomes despondent following the tragedy and retreats from work as well as his friends. There are just a handful of episodes in this series where we see the normally strong and gregarious Quincy brought to his knees in grief by an event, and I feel that Jack Klugman's acting skills are at his finest in those as we see him display the full range of emotions. The scene between him and Dr. Asten (John S. Ragin) on the boat is an especially powerful moment as we rarely ever see the two characters interact in this manner.

My only criticisms of this episode are that some of the stock footage scenes used for the crash in the beginning were pretty obvious and it seemed pretty far-fetched that Quincy was one of the first people at the accident scene given that he had to be called from Danny's. I realize Danny's is right near the water, but wouldn't whoever had called them have deployed emergency personnel to the scene immediately rather than waiting for the medical examiner crew to arrive?

These issues aside, this is still a good Season 6 episode with plenty of action and drama that manages to entertain as well as promote an airline safety issue. We don't often see a good blending of these plot elements, but in my opinion they pulled it off nicely here!

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