Quincy M.E.: Season 4, Episode 23

The Eye of the Needle (12 Apr. 1979)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Crime
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A woman dies because of her ulcer. It was discovered that she was seeing a doctor who practices alternative medicine. The doctor claims that she's aware of her ulcer and wouldn't have ... See full summary »


(as Ronald Satlof)


(creator), (teleplay), 3 more credits »
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Garry Walberg ...
John S. Ragin ...
Joseph Roman ...
Dr. Barrie Stoddard
John Burnett
Anthony James ...
Sally Kemp ...
Helen Burnett
Dr. Steven Chase
John Clavin ...
Thomas Bellin ...
Police Doctor
Gilbert Green ...
Dr. Benson
Karen Philipp ...


A woman dies because of her ulcer. It was discovered that she was seeing a doctor who practices alternative medicine. The doctor claims that she's aware of her ulcer and wouldn't have allowed it to get as bad as did. But the woman's husband is suing her for malpractice. And she is facing the possibility of losing her license so Quincy tries to prove her innocence. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Crime




Release Date:

12 April 1979 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In one scene, Quincy disrupts Dr. Stoddard's session to inform her that Mr. Burnett plans to sue for malpractice. Then Dr. Benson arrives to tell Dr. Stoddard that her clinic will be reviewed. As Benson leaves the hospital PA pages "Dr. Heinlein." As Quincy leaves, the PA pages "Dr. Ellison." Robert Heinlein and Harlan Ellison are science fiction writers. One of the writers of this episode, Robert Crais, is a science fiction fan whose protagonist Elvis Cole occasionally reads Heinlein. See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent episode
3 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

Eye of the Needle begins with Helen Burnett (Sally Kemp) pulling off the road in agonizing pain and attempting to call her doctor from a phone booth. A derelict drifter (Anthony James) seeing she is well-dressed and driving a Mercedes approaches first offering to help, but then steals her purse and leaves her there. Helen manages to drive herself home, but as she pulls into the garage and closes the door with a remote she loses consciousness with the car still running. The next morning she is found dead and Quincy (Jack Klugman) conducts the autopsy concluding that Helen died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being rendered unconscious by a ruptured perforated ulcer for which she should have been hospitalized. He further discovers that her doctor was Barrie Stoddard (Frances Lee McCain), a physician who promotes holistic medicine and Quincy has been interested in romantically. A furious Quincy confronts Dr. Stoddard asking how she could let this happen, but when she presents evidence that Helen's ulcer had drastically decreased only days before it becomes clear that there is more to this death and further investigation is necessary. Meanwhile, Helen's husband files a multi-million dollar malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Stoddard placing her career in jeopardy.

I found this to be an excellent Quincy episode which has everything including a complex death, an intriguing mystery with plenty of twists and turns, intense debate over a controversial method of care and good guest stars who deliver convincing performances. I thought all of the regular players were great in this one as well and very true to their characters which we don't always see consistently throughout the series. Right from the opening scenes I was drawn into the plot as you can't help but feel bad for this poor woman who was victimized, and the rest of the story managed to keep my interest throughout.

My only criticism of this episode is the scene where Quincy tells Monohan (Garry Walberg) to reward the thief with a steak dinner after he told them where he dumped the contents of the purse. While he did provide a critical piece of information, this doesn't change the fact that he was still a low life criminal who was partially responsible for Helen's death as he saw she was in severe distress and robbed her instead of calling for help or driving her to the hospital. He should have earned additional charges against him for that rather than a high end meal!

Aside from that, this is a very entertaining and interesting Season 4 Finale episode which I highly recommend viewing!

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