Quincy M.E. (1976–1983)
3 user

Touch of Death 

Sam's cousin Tad Kimura is a rising young star in the genre of martial arts pictures. Unfortunately, he dies unexpectedly while filming his latest motion picture. Quincy prepares to perform... See full summary »


Alexander Singer


Lou Shaw (creator), Joe Hyams | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Klugman ... Dr. R. Quincy, M.E.
Garry Walberg ... Lt. Frank Monahan
John S. Ragin John S. Ragin ... Dr. Robert Asten
Val Bisoglio ... Danny Tovo
Robert Ito ... Sam Fujiyama
Joseph Roman Joseph Roman ... Sgt. Brill
Mako ... Mr. Yamaguchi
Richard Narita ... Danny Shigeta
Frank Michael Liu ... Tad Kamura
Irene Yah-Ling Sun Irene Yah-Ling Sun ... Takayo Kamura
Keye Luke ... Otashi Hiyedo
Harold Sakata ... Master Sensei Tobi
Joanna Kerns ... Lily
Booth Colman Booth Colman ... Dr. Edwards
Ric Mancini Ric Mancini ... Jim Rudolf


Sam's cousin Tad Kimura is a rising young star in the genre of martial arts pictures. Unfortunately, he dies unexpectedly while filming his latest motion picture. Quincy prepares to perform an autopsy on the body, but it is taken before he can perform the procedure. The reason is that due to strict Buddhist beliefs, the body can't be autopsied. Quincy agrees to do an external examination, but when several questions still persist he decides to go ahead with the autopsy, which causes not only conflict within the Japanese community, but also puts a strain on his close relationship with Sam. Written by Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

2 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The story was based, in part, on the mysterious death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Lee died under mysterious circumstances a few years earlier. See more »


When the man leaps to his death at the end, the shot of the falling body is a reused shot from a Hawaii Five-O episode. The clothes don't match, as he was wearing a light colored coat but the falling man is wearing a dark coat. See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining episode where Sam takes a stand against Quincy
28 August 2015 | by rayoflite24See all my reviews

Touch of Death begins at a Hollywood studio during the filming of a martial arts movie where the lead, Tad Kamura (Frank Michael Liu), suddenly collapses and dies after completing a scene. The body is later transported to the coroner lab where Quincy (Jack Klugman) is scheduled to perform the autopsy. As he is about to do so, he finds out that Sam (Robert Ito), who was also Tad's cousin, sent the body back to the family per Buddhist tradition. Quincy maintains that an autopsy is necessary to determine if the young and otherwise healthy Tad died of natural causes and gets Sam and the family to agree to a non-invasive evaluation. This proves to be inconclusive, so Quincy proceeds with a full autopsy which uncovers evidence that Tad was in fact killed. As a result of Quincy going against the wishes of the family and defying ancient Japanese custom, Sam promptly quits his job.

I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable episode for several reasons. First off, Sam is given a much bigger role than usual and we never see him stand up to Quincy like he does here. Although his character is a man of science, when that world suddenly collides with his deeply rooted religious and cultural beliefs this sets him up for facing a compelling dilemma. While Sam and Quincy enjoy a great working relationship and friendship throughout the series, it completely breaks down in this episode with some powerful scenes that make it quite unique.

Another positive is that there is a murder mystery featured along with several suspects. Part of the plot is based on or inspired by the death of the iconic Bruce Lee, but to me there was enough original content thrown in so that it doesn't feel like a total copycat. I also found there to be a good balance of action and drama in this episode unlike other Season 3 entries which feature too much of one or the other. You will see some familiar faces among the guest stars, including a very young Joanna Kerns of Growing Pains fame as Quincy's temporary assistant.

The only criticisms I have of this episode is that the guilty party makes a very convenient confession at the end and the motive for the murder is a pretty flimsy one. These elements cause it to lose a point from me, but otherwise I would characterize this as a good, entertaining episode which is well worth watching.

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