Not Quincy himself; I mean the show. And the novelizations, even. It probably didn’t hurt that I happened to like Jack Klugman as an actor, because when you get right down to it the scripts weren’t stellar and the acting by some of the weekly extras was pretty wooden. All in all, it was a typical 70′s era crime drama that adhered to the strict formula of the day. Still, I loved the show.
These days we don’t have Quincy, M. E. We have “Body of Proof” with Dana Delany. Well, I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m more than happy to spend 42 minutes every Tuesday evening looking at Dana Delany. I like her as an actress, and I’m not opposed to the fact that they go to great lengths (pun not intended) to work a gratuitous leg shot into the scenes whenever possible. Hey, I’m not shy – the lady has a set of gams that won’t quit.
Still, while the acting from the weekly extras and peripheral cast members is far superior to that of the 70′s era shows, and the scripts are minus some of the appended melodrama that was the formula back then, they really aren’t all that much better. However, as a rule, TV shows tend to do only cursory research on topics and will adjust procedures to fit their needs at the time. Of course, that’s a wholly different topic… I’m not actually here to write about that today.
You see, there I was, standing in the back yard, chainsaw in hand, covered in wood chips and chain oil, sweating profusely, and aching all over as I went about the task of removing a dead tree from the back corner. It wasn’t a huge tree by any stretch. It only stood about 12 to 15 feet tall, and the trunk diameter was no more than 6 inches. No biggie. I’ve felled trees much larger in my day. Of course, I was younger in those days, but once again we are diverging from the topic at hand.
This particular tree had split off into a triple trunk, therefore in order to avoid turning myself into Shazam by dropping it all at once and taking out the overhead power lines, I went after it one section at a time. I had already removed the front split of the trunk and dragged it out into the yard, then taken my filthy, sweaty, tired, and achy self right back up the incline to begin sawing on the next. However, before I could start the chainsaw, I heard a thoughtful “Hmph” a few feet behind me. A second later the “Hmph” was followed by a curt, businesslike pronouncement: “This is a recent death…”
As you might expect, I was a bit perplexed, but not as much as I was about to be.
I turned and looked back over my shoulder. There, among the carnage of the fallen tree was E K, decked out in a stylish business skirt and blazer, stiletto heels, and a pair of latex gloves. For a minute I wondered if she had a sudden desire to play doctor, but she usually wears a white lab coat for that.
Even more confused I asked, “What?”
The sharply dressed redhead squatted down next to the tree and fondled the branches in a purely scientific fashion, or so it appeared. “See here?” she said, without looking up. “These branches bend without breaking, which means they are still green. This tree died recently. A month. Maybe a little more. I won’t be certain until I count the rings.”
“I thought that just told you how old the tree is,” I mused.
“Who’s the Tree Examiner here, you or me?” she snapped.
“Yes. I used to be a Tree Surgeon, but that was before the accident.”
“What accident?” I asked.
“We don’t talk about that,” she replied.
“But you brought it up.”
“That’s not important,” she grumbled. “Right now we need to get this tree to the morgue so I can perform an autopsy.”
“Mind if I ask why?”
“Because it’s my job to be an advocate for the dead trees since they no longer have a voice,” she explained.
I thought about that for a moment, then asked, “Are you feeling okay?”
She ignored the question, answering instead with, “Like I said, have them get this tree back to the morgue right away. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” With that, she stood up, stepped over the tree carcass, and began to carefully tiptoe across the yard toward the driveway, lest she skewer fallen leaves on her spiked heels. (Would have saved me a lot of raking, though…)
“Where are you going?” I called after her.
“There’s a shoe sale at the mall,” she shouted back without slowing her pace. “You don’t think I’m going to miss that, do you?”
And since they say a picture is worth a thousand words…
More to come…