Diagnosis: Murder

Diagnosis: Murder Information

Diagnosis: Murder is a 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, a homicide detective played by his real-life son Barry Van Dyke. 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 TV movies, and then a weekly television series that debuted on CBS on October 29, 1993. The series struggled at first and was almost canceled at the end of the second season, 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. Since 1997, the show aired in reruns on ABC Family (formerly The Family Channel) and on the Hallmark Channel. in America, weekdays on the Hallmark Channel (UK), Alibi and BBC One in the United Kingdom and weekdays on Foxtel's TV1 channel in Australia. The show was produced by The Fred Silverman Company and Dean Hargrove Productions in association with Viacom Productions and Paramount Network Television (1995 episodes only) and is currently distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

In the Jake and the Fatman episode, Dr. Mark Sloan was a widower with no sons and Ally Walker played Dr. Amanda Bentley, a role that went to Cynthia Gibb in the TV movies and, finally, Victoria Rowell in the TV series. Stephen Caffrey played Dr. Jack Stewart in the movies, a role that went to Scott Baio in the weekly series.

The first three TV movies were shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first few episodes of the series were shot (and set) in Denver, Colorado, before quickly (and without explanation) shifting to Los Angeles for the remainder of the show's run.


The plot centered around Dr. Mark Sloan (played by Dick Van Dyke), a renowned physician who occasionally worked for the local police department as a consultant, and who could not resist a good mystery or a friend in need. Those cases often involved his son, Detective Steve Sloan (played by Barry Van Dyke). Helping him was his friend Norman Briggs (played by Michael Tucci in seasons in 1-4), a hospital administrator. Also assisting Dr. Sloan, were his colleagues, medical examiner/pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley (played by Victoria Rowell) and Dr. Jack Stewart (played by Scott Baio in the first two seasons), who later left and was replaced by a new resident, Dr. Jesse Travis (played by Charlie Schlatter from season 3 onwards).

A program similar in name and theme aired on CBS from July to September 1960. Diagnosis: Unknown starred Patrick O'Neal as pathologist Daniel Coffee, who worked with the police detective, played by Chester Morris, to solve unusual cases. Martin Huston played the handyman, Link, and Phyllis Newman portrayed Doris Hudson. The program was a summer replacement for The Garry Moore Show.


  • Dr. Mark Sloan (played by Dick Van Dyke), Chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital, and protagonist of the series. Son of a cop and father of another, in whose cases he often gets involved. He is a medical consultant to the LAPD. Dick Van Dyke was considered for the lead role after the positive reviews he received from his dramatic role in the 1990 movie Dick Tracy (although the character he played in the movie was villainous and very different from the role of Mark Sloan). In the pilot the character had interests in tap dance and clarinet playing; however, these were considered distracting and were toned down and eventually removed from the character as the series developed.
  • Lieutenant Detective Steve Sloan (played by Barry Van Dyke), a police detective (later lieutenant) in the Robbery/Homicide Division of the LAPD and Dr. Mark Sloan's son. After an earthquake destroyed his apartment, he lived in a separate apartment in his father's beach house in Malibu. Steve often uses his "patented" dive to apprehend criminals.
  • Dr. Amanda Bentley (played by Ally Walker in Jake and the Fatman episode 4.19 It Never Entered My Mind and Cynthia Gibb in the TV Movies set before the series), later Bentley-Livingston (played there by Victoria Rowell), resident Pathologist at Community General Hospital and assistant County Medical Examiner, who is also Dr. Mark Sloan's straightwoman and medical partner, involving in each of Mark's & Steve's cases, after the accident. As a favorable character of the show, she also dated Jack and was later Jesse's best friend. During the series, she married a military man, and had a son named C.J. Depending on the episode, she divorced him or he was killed in a plane crash. Later in the series, she adopted another boy, Deon.
  • Dr. Jack Stewart (played by Stephen Caffrey in the TV movies, Scott Baio in the series from 1993"1995, seasons 1"2), a doctor at Community General Hospital and Steve's best friend, whom he often helped in his cases. He left to open his own practice in Colorado.
  • Dr. Jesse Travis (played by Charlie Schlatter, 1995"2001, seasons 3"8), a resident and handsome student at Community General Hospital who Mark took under his wing and who became best friends with Amanda. Another favorable/breakout character of the series, he often got involved in Mark and Steve's cases, with good intentions but not always good results. During the series, he himself became the prime suspect of the stuntwoman's killing, hence, he badgered Mark to call his old friend Ben Matlock (played by Dick's real-life best friend Andy Griffith) for help.
  • Norman Briggs (played by Michael Tucci, 1993"1997, seasons 1"4), administrator at Community General Hospital and a close friend of Dr. Mark Sloan, even though he is often exasperated by him.
  • Delores Mitchell (played by Delores Hall, 1993"1995, seasons 1"2), Dr. Sloan's lively secretary.


One unique aspect of the series was that it frequently appropriated characters from various classic television series.

  • Rob Petrie (played by Van Dyke himself in the Dick Van Dyke Show) features in a cameo in the episode "Obsession, Part 2" where Dr. Sloan is in a radio station, and walks past a studio where (through use of CGI), Rob is trying his hand at radio DJ-ing. The footage of Rob as a DJ is taken from the Dick Van Dyke Show episode "One Hundred Terrible Hours". This scene moves Diagnosis: Murder into the realm of fantasy as Petrie is shown in black and white (which Sloan visible in a color insert behind him), after which Sloan breaks the fourth wall and looks at the audience before the story continues.
  • Mike Connors reprised his titular character of Mannix in the season 4 episode "Hard-Boiled Murder". The episode's story was a sequel to the Mannix episode "Little Girl Lost".
  • Anthony Gorman starred as Dr. Sloan's estranged son in the season 5 episode "Ain't no Son-shine".
  • Andy Griffith reprised his titular role of Ben Matlock from Dean Hargrove's Matlock series in Season 4 two-parter "Murder Two" (1997). In a sense, this brought Diagnosis: Murder full circle, as its parent series, Jake and the Fatman, was inspired by a Season 1 episode of Matlock in 1986.
  • Barbara Bain reprised her role of Cinnamon Carter of Mission: Impossible in season 5 episode "Discards".
  • Peter Graves, who starred alongside Barbara Bain on Mission:Impossible as Jim Phelps did not return as his character, but did make a very brief cameo in part 1 of the Series 6 episode Trash TV Part 1 as "Dr. Sloane" [sic] in a Mission: Impossible-style illusion of his first TV pilot, later replaced during the show.
  • Robert Culp also guest starred in the episode "Discards" as Dane Travis, a retired spy, tennis professional, and Dr. Travis' father. The character was similar to his Kelly Robinson character from I Spy, though Travis was said to have worked with the Impossible Missions Force (also seen on Mission: Impossible).
  • "Discards" also featured appearances by former TV spies Patrick Macnee (The Avengers), Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and Phil Morris (the 1988 version of Mission: Impossible), though they did not play their original characters.
  • Jack Klugman also guest starred in season 4 episode "Physician, Murder Thyself", as a character very similar to his famous role on Quincy. He guest-starred again, in season 6 episode "Voices Carry" as police detective Harry Trumble, the former fiance of Dr. Mark Sloan's late wife. Trumble reappeared in Lee Goldberg's Diagnosis Murder novel "The Past Tense."
  • George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Wil Wheaton, Grace Lee Whitney and Bill Mumy were guest stars in "Alienated!" one sixth season episode, which involved an alien abduction and coverup.
  • A few members of the M*A*S*H television cast, including Jamie Farr, Loretta Swit and William Christopher, as well as Elliott Gould and Sally Kellerman from the original movie were guests in the "Drill for Death" episode. Christopher Norris also appeared who starred in the dramatic sequel series Trapper John, M.D..
  • Randolph Mantooth and Robert Fuller, who worked together on NBC's Emergency! appeared together in an 1997 episode about the Malibu brushfires.
  • The episode "Must Kill TV" features a number of small cameos by television personalities like Erik Estrada and Dr. Joyce Brothers playing themselves and a bigger one from Stephen J. Cannell as an over-the-top persiflage of a producer of action TV. The role is reprised in the two-parter "Trash TV".
  • The episode "Food Fight" (1998) features Erin Moran, Pat Morita, Don Most, David Lander, Leslie Easterbrook and Conrad Janis. All of these actors starred alongside Scott Baio in Happy Days or its spin-offs, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
  • The episode "Promises to Keep" (1998) features characters introduced in the Promised Land (a spin-off of Touched by an Angel) episode "Total Security" (1998) crossover into the show.
Over the run of the show, various episodes guest starred at least eight different members of the Van Dyke family:

  • Dick Van Dyke and son Barry Van Dyke in the lead roles.
  • Dick's brother, Jerry Van Dyke.
  • One of Dick's daughters, Stacy Van Dyke.
  • Barry's children: Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, Wes Van Dyke and Taryn Van Dyke.

Smaller recurring roles

  • Joanna Cassidy (Season 7) plays Madison Wesley, a doctor friend of Mark Sloan, and Dean of Community General's Medical School. She is in 8 episodes.
  • Kim Little (Seasons 5 and 6) plays Susan Hillard, Jesse's longtime girlfriend, for 11 episodes.
  • Susan Gibney (Seasons 5"7) plays Detective Tanis Archer, Steve's partner in over 7 episodes.
  • Charmin Lee (Seasons 7"8) is Steve's second partner Cheryl, who is in 7 episodes between seasons 7 and 8.
  • Martin Kove (Seasons 6"7) is Captain Newman, for 5 episodes.
  • Shane Van Dyke (Seasons 4"8) is Alex Smith, the third year medical student, who appears in 14 episodes. He is also seen as a boxing student in Never Say Die and an actor in Frontier Dad. (Both these episodes star the rest of Barry Van Dyke's children also.)
  • Carey Van Dyke (Seasons 4"8) plays various characters: Mr. Kelso, Terry Marshall, Kyle Lewis, Brendan Kelly, Carl Simpson, and Craig Wilson.
  • Kevin McNally (Seasons 3"8) as the ubiquitous EMT in 19 episodes.
  • Tim Conway plays Tim Conrad, an old friend of Mark's and a comedian, in over 4 episodes. Conway and Van Dyke had previously worked together on The Carol Burnett Show.
  • Harry J. Lennix (Seasons 5"6) plays Agent Ron Wagner in 6 episodes.

Special guest stars


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.


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 Hotel in Woodland Hills, California 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).

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.

The Sloans' beach house

Starting in the third season, Mark and Steve Sloan live in a beach house in 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, CA.

TV movies

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

  • Diagnosis of Murder, the first TV movie, aired before the regular series, January 5, 1992 on CBS.
  • The House on Sycamore Street, the second TV movie, aired before the regular series, May 1, 1992 on CBS.
  • A Twist of the Knife, the third TV movie, aired before the regular series, February 13, 1993 on CBS.
  • A Town Without Pity, the fourth TV movie, aired after the end of the regular series, February 6, 2002 on CBS.
  • Diagnosis Murder: Without Warning, the fifth and final TV movie, aired after the end of the regular series, April 26, 2002 on CBS.


Between 2003 and 2007, there have been eight original novels 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, there will be no more books based on the show. The books are, in order:

  • Diagnosis Murder: The Silent Partner
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Death Merchant
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Shooting Script
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Waking Nightmare
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Past Tense
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Dead Letter
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Double Life
  • Diagnosis Murder: The Last Word
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:

  • Lt. Ben Keoloha appears in Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii as the Kauai police lieutenant that Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger assist in solving several unsolved cases on the island.
  • Ian Ludlow appears in Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants as the private consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department. In the course of that novel, Ludlow frames several people such as Natalie, Monk's first assistant Sharona Fleming, and Sharona's ex-husband Trevor Howe, for a series of bizarre murders. But later on Monk proves that Ludlow committed all the crimes himself, .


  • Australia: TV1 and Eleven.
  • Czech republic: TV Prima
  • Estonia: TV3.
  • Finland: YLE TV1.
  • Germany: ProSieben and Kabel1.
  • Hungary: Viasat 3.
  • Italy: Rete 4 and Canale 5.
  • Japan: NHK and Super! drama TV.
  • Philippines: ABC 5
  • Slovenia: POP TV and TV3 Slovenia.
  • Spain: Telecinco, TV3 (Catalonia).
  • Sweden: Kanal 5 and Kanal 9
  • United Kingdom: BBC One (until November 2011), BBC Two (until March 2007), Alibi and the Hallmark Channel.
  • United States: CBS (original run) PAX TV ran reruns of the show from the summer of 2003 to the spring of 2005. Hallmark Channel(ran reruns until the fall of 2008), Hallmark Movie Channel (movies and 2-parts only). Currently airing on Encore Suspense weeknights at 10pm ET.
  • Turkey: TNT Turkey.
  • Ireland: RT"? Two

DVD releases

TV shows

On September 12, 2006, CBS Home Entertainment (with distribution by Paramount) 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. , the remaining seasons have not been released on DVD. 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

DVD Cover Art DVD Release Episodes Originally aired Release date
Region 1 Region 2
The Complete First Season 19 1993"1994 September 12, 2006 May 5, 2008
The Complete Second Season 22 1994"1995 June 12, 2007 February 9, 2009
The Complete Third Season 18 1995"1996 December 4, 2007 July 13, 2009

TV movies

On June 26, 2012, Visual Entertainment released "Diagnosis Murder - The Movie Collection" on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. In the US, the release was distributed by Millennium Entertainment. 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.

See also

  • Murder, She Wrote - An earlier show with a similar premise which was parodied in the sixth season episode Write, She Murdered.
  • Quincy, ME - An earlier show with a doctor and an older medical examiner.
  • Matlock - The courtroom drama about the Atlanta lawyer Benjamin Matlock who appears in the two-part episode "Murder Two".
  • Jake and the Fatman - The series that spun-off Diagnosis: Murder when Dr. Mark Sloan was introduced in the episode "It Never Entered My Mind".
  • Mannix - The series about detective Joe Mannix who appears in the episode "Hard-Boiled Murder", the sequel to the Mannix episode "Little Lost Girl".

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Diagnosis%3A_Murder" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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