Quincy M.E. (1976–1983)
3 user 1 critic

Bitter Pill 

When a high school student drops dead at basketball practice, Quincy is drawn into an investigation in the dangers of "pep" pills and legal lookalike drugs and the problems in regulating the sales of such items.


Georg Fenady


Sam Egan (teleplay), David Chomsky (story) | 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 (credit only)
Robert Ito ... Sam Fujiyama
Joseph Roman Joseph Roman ... Sgt. Brill
Simon Oakland ... Keith Zagner
George DelHoyo ... Mike Garber (as George DeLoy)
William Smithers ... Sen. Al Stevenson
Peggy McCay ... Irene Jordan
Michael LeClair Michael LeClair ... Ross Yates
Dana Gladstone ... Basketball Coach
Garnett Smith Garnett Smith ... Austin Wooster
Robert Hooks ... Sergeant LeBatt
Jeb Stuart Adams ... Craig (as Jeb Adams)


When a high school student drops dead at basketball practice, Quincy is drawn into an investigation in the dangers of "pep" pills and legal lookalike drugs and the problems in regulating the sales of such items.

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Release Date:

6 January 1982 (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?


Quincy reconnects with Paramedic Mike Garber and they talk about the time before when they worked together to get a trauma center started. For some reason his last name was changed, as the time before his last name was Harvey. See more »


News reporter Larry Carrol is listed as playing Wenkel, however during the show he refers to himself as Larry Carrol. See more »

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User Reviews

Just Say No.....To This Episode!
13 December 2015 | by rayoflite24See all my reviews

Bitter Pill begins with a bunch of teenagers abusing drugs when one of them dies at basketball practice. Quincy (Jack Klugman) conducts the autopsy and determines the presence of lookalike drugs in his system which interacted with a preexisting condition and killed him. This brings to light the problem of lookalike drugs and the legal loopholes that enable their wide availability. When another teenager dies after overdosing on real drugs which he thought were the lookalikes, this leads Quincy and a group of parents to protest at a local store selling them to the public while also pleading with government officials to do something to address the problem.

We have already seen multiple episodes in this series dealing with teen drug abuse and the potentially deadly effects, so by now this is an overused story that I'm tired of seeing. Perhaps the writers and production crew were running out of ideas at this point, but they still could have done much better than this recycled script. It's a shame because there are some very good guest stars in this one including Simon Oakland, George DelHoyo, William Smithers and Peggy McCay of Days of Our Lives fame featured, but with a tired old story filled with speeches and lots of hand wringing over drug abuse their talents are wasted here.

If that wasn't bad enough, we have the most ridiculous scenes where Quincy goes into the store and starts destroying all of the property and inventory on the premises. When he is taken to jail, Dr. Asten (John S. Ragin) quietly bails him out and he is right back to work and protesting. On what planet would this happen? Any public official who broke the law in such a violent manner would have been fired on the spot and there would have been a media frenzy, but not in this goofy episode.

Overall this is a pretty bad Season 7 entry which I do not recommend watching unless you wish to see the Quincy series at its worst.

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