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Strong performances and lots of twists
rayoflite2426 July 2015
A Star is Dead begins with Quincy (Jack Klugman) being called to the home of a Hollywood actress, Roberta Rhodes (Donna Mills), who has been found dead of an apparent overdose. Quincy believes the death to be a suicide, but complications arise as the mother of Roberta (June Lockhart) accuses a congressman (Robert Foxworth) who had a romantic relationship with the victim to have argued with her that evening and killed her. Quincy is a friend of the congressman and does not believe he is a murderer which leads him to investigate further. This becomes more difficult when a tabloid newspaper editor (William Daniels) who was conducting surveillance of Roberta's home also implicates the congressman by reporting that he was there the evening she was killed after the congressman denies it.

This episode is a little different from the usual Quincy formula in that he is trying to prove a death was a suicide and NOT a murder, but I'm OK with this as you need to change things up a little every so often. There are good guest stars that deliver strong performances throughout which helps elevate this to being an overall good episode in my opinion. I was also pleased to see Lynette Mettey (Lee) return in this episode as Quincy's girlfriend again after only appearing in the credits of the previous episode.

One drawback is that Quincy seems a little too eager to believe his friend and conclude that this was a suicide rather than a homicide before having all of the facts which seems contrary to his usual approach. Aside from that, there are enough twists and turns to keep this one interesting and enjoyable. Be sure to stay tuned up to the very last minute as just when you think everything has concluded there is another surprising plot twist at the very end!
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The cut down 45 minutes version.
poolandrews4 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Quincy M.E.: A Star is Dead starts late one night as LA coroner Quincy (Jack Klugman) is rudely interrupted on his boat by his lab assistant Sam (Robert Ito) who says that famous Hollywwod actress Roberta Rhodes (Donna Mills) has been found dead at her home, the county want their best man on the case so Quincy gets the job. At first sight Roberta's death looks like a suicide, a simple case of barbiturate overdose but there are a few unanswered questions. The next morning & Roberta's mother (June Lockhart) accuses congressman Charles Sinclair (Robert Foxworth) of her daughter's murder, Quincy knows Sinclair personally & happens to be a close friend & is convinced he is innocent. However Lt. Monahan (Garry Walberg) files charges of murder & it's up to Quincy to discover the truth & clear a friends name...

Episode 3 from season 1 this Quincy story was directed by Noel Black & is another top episode from a top series. At this point I should say I will be basing my comments on the edited 45 minute version rather than the full feature length version which ran 75 minutes & is the one found on the DVD set currently available, I assume the shorter version was made to bring it into line with the more standard Quincy episodes when it got it's own series proper. Anyway, this is a good solid Quincy mystery which is different from the average murder mystery as this time Quincy is fighting to prove a death isn't murder for a change, he doesn't get to use his medical knowledge that much in this episode & comes across more like a lawyer as he fights his case in court. I'm not sure what was cut out of this shorter version but some scenes definitely look choppy & the story moves along at a somewhat erratic pace, I mean you can't really cut 30 minutes of material out of a film & expect it to have no impact. This is a good episode mainly because of the story because there's a lack of humour in this one & feels a bit routine in other areas like if your going to edit a tape recording why leave the original where it can be so easily found? I still liked it though.

Like any TV show from the late 70's this looks somewhat dated but it's not too bad considering. It's reasonably well made but there does seem to be a lot of dubbing going on in this one which means the soundtrack is quite jarring at times. The acting is alright although Klugman steals every scene he's in. the final impassioned speech at the end is pure gold & I reckon he could make Mother Teresa feel guilty if he wanted!

A Star is Dead is a good solid mystery for Quincy to solve & is a good episode, I think the shorter edit probably suffers from the huge cuts more than some of the other edited 90 minute episodes but it seems it's only the annoying TV channel over here in the UK which plays them.
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Preachy Quincy....not a good thing.
MartinHafer2 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have always been a big fan of "Quincy" but I am not blind to the fact that sometimes the shows were a little preachy. "A Star is Dead" is the first of these episodes where the Doctor is clearly on a soapbox and, at times, it's a bit annoying.

The show begins with an actress (Donna Mills) being discovered dead of a possible overdose. However, there are some complications. A politician (Robert Foxworth) who just happens to be an old friend of Quincy is involved AND the dead lady's mother (June Lockhart) is accusing this man of murder! To further complicate things, a sleazy editor of a tabloid newspaper (William Daniels) is sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong. So what really happened? There area couple serious problems in this episode. First, in nearly every case, Quincy is hesitant to assume anything and the cops don't want to consider any options. Here, however, it's the other way around--Quincy is VERY fast to write it off as a suicide even though there is ample reason to think it might not be a suicide! This is VERY inconsistent. Second, and I mentioned it above, is the preachiness. The final portion of the show is set at a coroner's inquest and instead of a real inquest, it's just Quincy stomping up and down and talking about how the newspaper sucks! While this might be true, this is NOT what an inquest is all about and it made me cringe. Overall, the first weak episode of the series. Fortunately, it's just an aberration and the show generally was enjoyable and well written.

Although another reviewer has pointed out that he's seen pared down episodes of "Quincy", the series, in its entirety, is on DVD.
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A Star Is Dead
Prismark108 September 2019
This would be the first episode where Quincy gets on his soapbox and takes aim at US tabloids that are more interested in chasing celebrities for kiss and tell stories.

It is also a nice mystery that sees Quincy turn investigator.

A famous actress Roberta Rhodes (Donna Mills) is found dead at her home, her mother was drunk at the time but she did call the police. The death looks like a drug overdose, but Roberta's mother later accuses Congressman Charles Sinclair (Robert Foxworth) of killing her daughter. The editor of a tabloid scandal sheet Paul Reardon (William Daniels) had already tipped Quincy about the congressman who is also a friend of Quincy.

The congressman admits to Quincy he was in a relationship with Roberta. He does not aid his case by lying to him that he did not see her on the night she died.

At the inquest Quincy cross examines Paul Reardon over his hounding of Roberta Rhodes. Quincy also found out that Reardon got a staff member from the Coroner's department to feed information to him.

The episode looks at unreliable witnesses who might have their own agendas for blaming the congressman. So we see Roberta's death from different viewpoints.

Although Quincy wants to clear the congressman's name, it is not a case of who killed Roberta but why she died.
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