'Diagnosis Murder - The Second Season'
(Dick Van Dyke, Scott Baio, Barry Van Dyke, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (1994) 2007 / Paramount Home Entertainment)
Overview: Emmy award winner Dick Van Dyke stars as Dr. Mark Sloan, a dedicated doctor who dabbles in detective work in Diagnosis Murder. Caring and compassionate, Dr. Sloan enlists the help of his police detective son, Steve (Barry Van Dyke) whenever he suspects one of his patients is the victim of foul play. And he won’t rest until the bad guys are put to bed - permanently! Working alongside Sloan is pathologist Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell). For star performances and classic "whodunit" suspense, the right prescription is Diagnosis Murder.
DVD Verdict: Dr Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) is the eccentic and lovable head of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital. He is also medical advisor to the L.A. NYPD homicide division, which gives him the opportunity to solve murders. A number of murders also occur at Community General, which seems, judging by this series, to be a highly dangerous place to be either a patient or a member of staff, the violent death toll being high among both groups.
Dick Van Dyke is delightful and funny as Dr Mark Sloan,a nd he is ably supported by his band of helpers, particularly the devestatingly gorgeous Scott Baio as Dr Jack Stewart (be still my beating heart), who combines medical knowledge with streetwise toughness. The first and second series were by far my favorites, not only because of the presence of the divine Dr Stewart, but because they also featured two particularly likeable characters, Norman Briggs, the harassed hospital manager, and Dolores, Dr Sloan's secretary. They also featured the occasional brush with the reality of hospital life, discussions about hospital funding, whether poor patients should be treated for free, the cost of drugs etc, which brought a note of authenticity into the wildly far-fetched storylines.
Dick Van Dyke and the cast are like a huge family (no pun intended since his son Barry has a lead role) and the camaraderie comes through to make for a very enjoyable and family friendly show. Young and old, cool and nerdy, single or married, people from all walks of life can and will enjoy this wonderful show.
From maternity hospitals selling babies on the black market to dishonest tax lawyers, murderous hospital inspectors, egocentric surgery patients, and dating services whose dates are the absolute end-all, Dr. Sloan and his crew can be counted upon to pursue and solve an abundance of mysteries--and maybe even see a patient or two in the process. Guest stars include Betty White and Bo Jackson. While not one of Van Dyke's best television series, Diagnosis Murder will appeal to Dick Van Dyke aficionados and murder mystery fans alike. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1), but doesn't come with any Special Features.