Diagnosis: Murder

Originally aired April 24, 1997.  WARNING: This page contains some spoilers, because they're just too funny to pass up.  Yes, I said "funny"!

Though this is a murder mystery, it has some rather tongue-in-cheek touches, not the least of which was casting actors who used to play doctors on TV for the role of every suspect, as well as the murder victim.  But Bernie Kopell's character provided some additional laughs, as well....



     After an apparently healthy physician drops dead of a heart attack in the operating room, everyone who was in the room at the time comes under suspicion. Anesthesiologist Dr. Les Franklin (Kopell), when confronted with a possible motive (the late doctor had been having an affair with his wife), retorts that he would have had to kill half the doctors in the Boston area, because his wife has slept with so many of them.  He goes on to say that she even cheated on him while they were on their honeymoon!
     When asked the obvious question -- why on earth would he stay with this woman -- he asks if they would ask this same question of the husband of a cancer patient, saying that she "has a sickness", but he still loves her.



     The detective comes in, and -- much to Dr. Franklin's annoyance -- points out that he's learned the doctor's wife happens to be loaded...and that he has been spending a great deal of her money. (Which could explain why he's so tolerant of her "sickness"...!)
     Embarrassed and offended, Dr. Franklin stands up and declares, "I don't have to stand for this," only to be contradicted rather firmly by the detective.  So, instead, Dr. Franklin invites them to the operating room to continue their talk....



     In the OR, Dr. Franklin demonstrates how he was unable to get near the murder victim during the operation, by making the rather ominous statement that it is he, not the surgeon, who holds the patient's life in his hands...because the anesthesiologist literally holds a patient on the brink of death during the surgery procedure.
     He shows them all the machines that he must monitor throughout the duration of the surgery, and adds that there was an additional problem during that particular operation, which demanded his attention: The patient began experiencing tachycardia, so he had to reduce the amount of one of the drugs that the patient was being given, to bring the heart rate back to normal. Having his hands full with all this, he claims that he had no time to be involved in any murder. He didn't realize, though, that his alibi actually provided a clue as to who the real murderer was.



     After his questioners are convinced that he couldn't possibly have been the murderer, Dr. Franklin rather testily suggests that his colleague, Dr. Sally Crawford, could be the culprit. He points out that she was free to roam the OR during the operation, then goes on to drop some rather juicy (and potentially incriminating) gossip about her ill-fated affair with the murdered physician.
     Whether his snippy attitude during this statement can be attributed to infidelity being a touchy subject with him, embarrassment over his sob story being exposed as nothing more than a cover-up for his greed, taking offense at being considered a suspect, or a combination of all of the above, we may never know....



     Later in the program, Dr. Sloane (Dick Van Dyke) collapses with similar symptoms, reuniting the same surgical team to save his life. [Above: Jack Klugman, Kopell, and Chad Everett.] But the murderer is still at large.... So how does Dr. Sloane, the star of the program, emerge from this dangerous situation alive?
     Come on, folks, I'm certainly not going to spoil all the surprises in the show! ^_^