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Diagnosis: Murder
Diagnosis murder title card original.png
Title screen used in seasons 1 and 2
Genre
Created byJoyce Burditt
Starring
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes178 + 5 TV movies + Pilot (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locationsDenver
Los Angeles
Running time45 minutes
Production companies
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseOctober 29, 1993 (1993-10-29) –
May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11)
Chronology
Preceded by
Related

Diagnosis: Murder is an American action-comedy-mystery-medical crime drama television series starring Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, a medical doctor who solves crimes with the help of his son Steve, a homicide detective played by Van Dyke's real-life son Barry. The series began as a spin-off of Jake and the Fatman (Dr. Mark Sloan made his first appearance in episode 4.19 "It Never Entered My Mind"), became a series of three television films, and then a weekly television series that debuted on CBS on October 29, 1993. Joyce Burditt wrote the episode in Jake and the Fatman and is listed here as the creator of the spin off series.

The series struggled at first and was almost cancelled at the end of the second season, but it returned as a midseason replacement in the third season, and was regularly renewed thereafter. 178 episodes were made and aired in the show's eight seasons on the CBS network in the United States and two more TV movies aired after the series' cancellation on May 11, 2001. The show is currently distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

In the Jake and the Fatman episode, Dr. Mark Sloan was a widower with no sons. Dr. Amanda Bentley is played by Cynthia Gibb in the TV movies and, finally, by Victoria Rowell in the TV series. Stephen Caffrey played Dr. Jack Parker in the movies, a role that went to Scott Baio as Dr. Jack Stewart in the weekly series (first two seasons).

The first two TV movies were shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the third was shot in Denver, Colorado. The first 8 episodes of the series were also shot (and set) in Denver, before quickly (and without explanation) shifting to Los Angeles for the remainder of the show's run. Since 1997, reruns of the show have been shown in syndication and on Freeform (formerly ABC Family and originally CBN Satellite Service), Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), Hallmark Channel, 10 Bold, CBS Action and MeTV.

Plot

The plot centered around Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke), a former United States Army doctor who served in a MASH unit. After his service ended, Dr. Sloan became a renowned physician and consults with the local police, and can't resist a good mystery or a friend in need. Cases often involved his son, Detective Steve Sloan (Barry Van Dyke), and Norman Briggs (Michael Tucci in seasons 1–4), a hospital administrator and a close friend of his. Also assisting Dr. Sloan are his colleagues, medical examiner/pathology Dr. Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell) and Dr. Jack Stewart (Scott Baio in the first two seasons), who is later replaced by a new resident, Dr. Jesse Travis (Charlie Schlatter from season 3 onward).[1]

Episodes

Main article: List of Diagnosis: Murder episodes

Diagnosis: Murder had a total of eight seasons and 178 episodes which were broadcast on CBS between 1993 and 2001.

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotMarch 20, 1991 (1991-03-20)
Movies 1-2January 5, 1992 (1992-01-05)February 13, 1992 (1992-02-13)
Movie 3February 13, 1993 (1993-02-13)
119October 29, 1993 (1993-10-29)May 13, 1994 (1994-05-13)
222September 16, 1994 (1994-09-16)May 5, 1995 (1995-05-05)
318December 8, 1995 (1995-12-08)May 3, 1996 (1996-05-03)
426September 19, 1996 (1996-09-19)May 8, 1997 (1997-05-08)
525September 18, 1997 (1997-09-18)May 14, 1998 (1998-05-14)
622September 24, 1998 (1998-09-24)May 13, 1999 (1999-05-13)
724September 23, 1999 (1999-09-23)May 11, 2000 (2000-05-11)
822October 12, 2000 (2000-10-12)May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11)
Movies 4-5February 6, 2002 (2002-02-06)April 26, 2002 (2002-04-26)

Cast

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Main

Character Played by Occupation Seasons
Movies (1992–93) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Movies (2002)
Mark Sloan Dick Van Dyke Doctor Main
Amanda Bentley Cynthia Gibb Doctor Main Does not appear
Victoria Rowell Does not appear Main
Jack Parker Stephen Caffrey Doctor Main Does not appear
Steve Sloan Barry Van Dyke Police detective/lieutenant Main
Jack Stewart Scott Baio Doctor Does not appear Main Does not appear
Norman Briggs Michael Tucci Administrator Does not appear Main Does not appear
Delores Mitchell Delores Hall Secretary Does not appear Main Does not appear
Jesse Travis Charlie Schlatter Doctor Does not appear Main
The cast, 1993–1995: Victoria Rowell, Michael Tucci, Barry Van Dyke, Scott Baio, and Delores Hall, with Dick Van Dyke in the center
The cast, 1993–1995: Victoria Rowell, Michael Tucci, Barry Van Dyke, Scott Baio, and Delores Hall, with Dick Van Dyke in the center

Notable guest stars

One unique aspect of the series was that it frequently appropriated characters from various classic television series, or featured veteran actors playing characters inspired by or similar to their classic roles.

Over the run of the show, various episodes guest starred at least eight different members of the Van Dyke family:

Smaller recurring roles

Locations and administrators

Denver, Colorado location

The first season’s filming commenced in July 1993 in Denver, Colorado. Much of the cast as well as the production company personnel from Viacom stayed in the (then) Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown, located at 19th Street between Curtis and Arapahoe. Among the reasons that production of Diagnosis: Murder was located in Denver was because the same production people had already been working there since about 1990 filming the new Perry Mason made for TV movies.

At that same time, Raymond Burr and his associates were busily filming their episodes for Perry Mason. In and around the Embassy Suites Hotel at that time, it was not unusual to see several semi-trailers parked street-side in support of the production at various office or exterior locations in and around downtown Denver.

Both series were produced by the Hargrove, Silverman team with Viacom. Therefore, the business decision to combine both productions at the same location was evident. While the Perry Mason series was often filmed in a special courtroom constructed for the production within The Denver City and County Building, Diagnosis: Murder was temporarily set at the then recently closed St. Luke’s Hospital on 19th Street just east of downtown.

When Raymond Burr became terminally ill later that summer, he no longer was seen at the hotel after having filmed his last episode, The Case of the Killer Kiss. (1993) In fact, upon his demise, Paul Sorvino was seen entering the hotel building to begin filming what was to be the last Perry Mason episode ever filmed in Denver, – A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives (1993). Upon completion of that filming, Viacom and the entire production company left Denver in late September, early October 1993, including that of Diagnosis: Murder. Thus, only the Diagnosis: Murder episodes filmed from mid-July through September 1993 were shot in Denver, after which production shifted permanently to Los Angeles.

Community General Hospital

Community General Hospital is the main set for the show. It is six to seven floors depending on the episode. It holds about 400 beds, with three trauma rooms, two psych wards, and one Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Mark Sloan is Chief of Internal Medicine. The Marriott Hotels & Resorts in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, was used as the exterior of Community General Hospital in the final three seasons of the show (it was also used as a casino in the pilot of CSI).

List of Administrators at Community General Hospital

  1. Russell Havilland (was The Administrator at Clairemont Hospital in the Pilot of Diagnosis: Murder, "It Never Entered My Mind". He was murdered and Dr. Mark Sloan was framed for his murder.)
  2. Kate Hamilton (was The Administrator at Community General Hospital in The 1st and 2nd Diagnosis: Murder TV Movies. It was said in the Diagnosis: Murder book "The Shooting Script" that Kate Hamilton decided to sell her home and use the proceeds to open a nonprofit food bank in the inner city.)
  3. Norman Briggs (was The Administrator of Community General Hospital for the first 4 seasons of Diagnosis: Murder. According to the book "The Shooting Script" it sounds like Norman was fired by the new owners Healthcorp International.)
  4. Harold Lomax (he appeared in a few episodes like "Do No Harm" and "Today is The Last Day of the Rest of My Life". In the book "The Shooting Script" When Community General Hospital was sold to Healthcorp International they brought in General Harold Lomax who'd spent ten years running battlefield medical operations for the U.S. Marine Corps. Harold Lomax later resigned with an Extreme case of Irritable Bowel syndrome and left behind a hospital literally in ruins, decimated by a serial bomber "Catlin Sweeney" who was stalking Mark for putting her brother "Carter Sweeney" in prison.)
  5. Noah Dent (he appeared in the books "The Shooting Script" and "The Last Word". He ended up being hired by the new owners of the hospital "Hollywood International" and had a personal vendetta against Mark Sloan for Catching "Tanya" who murdered a rapist who raped her and killed a homeless War Veteran who saw her kill him. He ended up firing Mark, Amanda, and Jesse's girlfriend Susan. Jesse ended up finding out and blackmailed him into giving everyone back their jobs. He ended up leaving Community General Hospital.)
  6. Janet Dorcott (she appeared in the book "The Last Word". She ended up firing Jesse and Susan Travis, after being framed for Murder and Amanda Bentley was also fired for selling body parts from dead bodies and fired Mark because she blamed him for all the scandal around Community General Hospital.)

BBQ Bob's

BBQ Bob's is a restaurant that Jesse Travis and Steve Sloan co-own starting in the sixth season. Mark Sloan is also a silent partner. It is located in a small strip mall very close to Community General Hospital. Other stores around it include a jewelry store, travel agency and a bank. It is often frequented by the hospital staff as an alternative to the hospital cafeteria. All staff members get discounts. The exterior of BBQ Bob's was based on a storefront at the Whizin's Center in Agoura, California, where exterior scenes of BBQ Bob's were occasionally filmed.

Mark's house

In the first two seasons of the show Mark Sloan lived in a house in Denver, Colorado. No explanation is given when the show shifts to California for all the remaining episodes.

The Sloans' beach house

Starting in the third season, Mark and Steve Sloan live in a beach house at 3231 Beach Drive, Malibu, with Steve in the basement. The basement was often redressed to act as other sets. The actual house is on Broad Beach Road in Malibu, California. The house was later used as a filming location for the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana.

Pilot and TV movies

Pilot

The pilot episode was called "It Never Entered My Mind" from Jake and The Fatman. Mark Sloan was a widower with no sons. The hospital is called Clairemont Hospital instead of Community General Hospital, and there is no Jack or Amanda. His friends who helped him clear his name are

  1. Richard (Steven Eckholdt)
  2. Josie (Ally Walker)
  3. Thad (Kristoff St. John)

TV movies

Main article: Diagnosis: Murder (film series)

Diagnosis: Murder had five TV movies between 1992 and 2002, three of which aired prior to the TV series.

Backdoor pilots

Fred Silverman insisted that every season the series devote one episode as a television pilot. The following are known backdoor pilots.

Season One

  1. Sister Michael Wants YouDelta Burke starred as Sister Michael, a crime solving nun.[3]

Season Two

  1. How to Murder Your LawyerMitchell Whitfield and Leah Remini starred as crime solving lawyers Arnold Baskin and Agnes Benedetto.
  2. Georgia on My Mind – A possible backdoor pilot[citation needed] about a female private investigator, Georgia (Daphne Ashbrook).

Season Four

  1. An Explosive Murder – Starred Tracey Gold as undercover officer Amy Dawson.

Season Five

  1. A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste – An unsold backdoor pilot for an untitled series. Rachel York played Randy Wolfe who's apparently an expert at everything.
  2. Retribution Parts One and Two – "Retribution" was a backdoor pilot for a spinoff called The Chief that would have starred Fred Dryer as Police Chief Masters.

Season Six

  1. Blood Ties – Starred two vice unit detectives, Detective Amy Devlin (Kathy Evison) and Detective Taylor Lucas (Zoe McLellan). It was a backdoor pilot for a TV series that would have been named Whistlers.

International

Home media

On September 12, 2006, CBS Home Entertainment (with distribution by Paramount Pictures) released the complete Season 1 of Diagnosis: Murder on Region 1 DVD. The set included the Jake and the Fatman episode 4.19, "It Never Entered My Mind," which introduced the character of Dr. Mark Sloan. It did not however, include the TV movies that were made prior to the show's premiere. Seasons 2 and 3 are also now available.[4][5][6] After two years since the release of the first season on Region 1 DVD, a Region 2 DVD of Diagnosis: Murder – Series 1 was released on May 5, 2008, according to Amazon.co.uk [7]

On June 26, 2012, Visual Entertainment released "Diagnosis Murder – The Movie Collection" on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[8] In the US, the release was distributed by Alchemy. The three-disc set featured all three TV movies that aired in 1992/1993 and spawned the weekly TV series as well as the two TV movies that aired after the series ended.

On December 31, 2012, it was announced that VEI had acquired the rights to the series (via their sublicensing deal with CBS) and planned on releasing the remaining seasons on DVD in 2013.[9] They subsequently released the fourth and fifth seasons both as two-part volumes and as a complete set on August 27, 2013.[10] The sixth season was released on November 12, 2013,[11] in Canada while it was released in the US on November 26, 2013. The seventh season was released on November 19, 2013, in Canada and in the US on February 11, 2014; the eighth and final season on November 19, 2013, in Canada and in the US on May 27, 2014.[12][13] VEI also released The Complete Collection On November 12, 2013. It includes all 178 episodes, all 5 of the TV Movies, The "Jake And The Fatman" Episode "It Never Entered My Mind", and an episode of "Mannix" Called "Little Girl Lost" which was A Prequel to the Episode "Hard Boiled Murder" on a 51 Disc set. It also has an exclusive to The Complete Collection a clip of Van Dyke as Rob Petrie In Obsession Part 2.[14]

In Australia, Region 4, Season 1 was released on May 15, 2008 and Season 2 on November 6, 2008, no further releases were released. These two releases were distributed by Paramount. On October 14, 2015 Season 1[15] and 2[16] were re-released along with Season 3.[17] Season 4 followed on April 20, 2016[18] and Season 5 on July 20, 2016.[19] These were distributed by Madman Entertainment. Season 6 was released on May 3, 2017,[20] Season 7 on June 7, 2017[21] and Season 8 on July 5, 2017.[22] These were distributed by Via Vision Entertainment. The Movie Collection was released on August 7, 2019.[23]

DVD Release Episodes Originally aired Release date
Region 1 Region 2
Television Movie Collection 5 TV Movies 1992–2002 June 26, 2012 N\A
The Complete First Season 19 + Pilot 1993-94 September 12, 2006 May 5, 2008
The Complete Second Season 22 1994-95 June 12, 2007 February 9, 2009
The Complete Third Season 18 1995-96 December 4, 2007 July 13, 2009
The Fourth Season 23 1996-97 August 27, 2013 (Canada)
February 18, 2014 (USA)
TBA
The Fifth Season 24 1997-98 August 27, 2013 (Canada)
October 1, 2013 (USA)
TBA
The Sixth Season 20 1998-99 November 12, 2013 (Canada)
November 26, 2013 (USA)
TBA
The Seventh Season 22 1999–2000 November 19, 2013 (Canada)
February 11, 2014[24] (USA)
TBA
The Final Season 21 2000-01 November 19, 2013 (Canada)
May 27, 2014 (USA)
TBA
The Complete Collection 169 Episodes + Pilot + The 5 TV Movies + Little Girl Lost + Bonus Scene 1991–2002 November 12, 2013[14] TBA

Novels

Between 2003 and 2007, eight original novels were published based on the TV series. All of them were written by Lee Goldberg, a former executive producer and writer on the TV series. According to his website,[25] there will be no more books based on the show. The books are, in order:

The Past Tense is a prequel to the episode "Voices Carry", which guest-starred Jack Klugman as Harry Trumble, and chronicles Dr. Mark Sloan's first homicide investigation. The final book in the series, The Last Word, is a sequel of sorts to the episodes "Obsession" and "Resurrection" and features the return of Carter Sweeney, who was played by Arye Gross in the TV series.

Crossover with Monk

Two of the characters in The Death Merchant later reappeared in Lee Goldberg's series of novels based on the television series Monk:

References

  1. ^ Howard Rosenberg (October 29, 1993). "TV REVIEW : 'Diagnosis Murder' Is DOA". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  2. ^ "WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Diagnosis: Here's a part that came very naturally to actor Barry Van Dyke – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. June 5, 1994. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2013). Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937–2012. McFarland. ISBN 9780786474455. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  4. ^ "Diagnosis Murder – Complete 1st Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "Diagnosis Murder – The Second Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Diagnosis Murder – The Third Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  7. ^ "Diagnosis Murder – Season 1 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Diagnosis Murder: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  8. ^ "Diagnosis Murder DVD news: Update about Diagnosis Murder – Television Movie Collection". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  9. ^ "Diagnosis Murder DVD news: DVD Plans for Diagnosis Murder - The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  10. ^ "Diagnosis Murder DVD news: Seasons 4 and 5 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  11. ^ "Diagnosis Murder DVD news: Release Date for Seasons 6 and 7 in Canada - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Diagnosis Murder Season 7 complete 6 DVD set". November 19, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  13. ^ "Diagnosis Murder Season 8 complete 6 DVD set". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Diagnosis Murder: The Complete Collection on DVD – Visual Entertainment Inc". Visual Entertainment Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  15. ^ "Diagnosis Murder - Season 1".
  16. ^ "Diagnosis Murder: Season 2 - DVD".
  17. ^ "Madman Entertainment".
  18. ^ "Diagnosis Murder - Season 4".
  19. ^ "Madman Entertainment".
  20. ^ "Diagnosis Murder Season Six | Via Vision Entertainment". July 12, 2021.
  21. ^ "Diagnosis Murder Season Seven | Via Vision Entertainment". July 12, 2021.
  22. ^ "Diagnosis Murder Season Eight | Via Vision Entertainment". July 12, 2021.
  23. ^ "Diagnosis Murder - the Movie Collection".
  24. ^ "Diagnosis Murder – Complete 7th Season". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  25. ^ www.xuni.com. "The Official Website of Lee Goldberg". Diagnosis-murder.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.

TV movies