Diagnosis Murder

Season 3 Episode 3

All-American Murder

Aired Unknown Dec 22, 1995 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
15 votes

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Episode Summary

All-American Murder
The murder of a beautiful woman around a marine encampment raises suspicions. Dr. Sloan discovers more to her than meets the eye.

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  • The Gay Episode

    The "gay episode" is not derogatory Prior to the late 1990s, an American network television series would sometimes air an episode where the heterosexual main or supporter character had to deal with another character, typically in a one-episode role, being gay.

    If the gay character was not a villain, but a decent human being then the series was attempting to tackle the social issue of discrimination and prejudice without getting too many angry letters from advertisers or consumers.

    Typically, the results were something off a well-meaning mixed bag. This episode is a fine example of this well-meaning attitude that is something of a mixed bag, mainly because it had to be.

    Here the murdered victim, a gay man, was harassed and kicked out of the marines for being gay and then proceeded to have a sex change operation to become "Vicki".

    Yes, the episode appears to be offering up the cliche idea that gay men are all transsexuals. Yes, it is possible that a gay man was also a transsexual, but the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity are not exactly one and the same. The episode could have done a better job with that.

    When the sex-change 'secret' is found out, Dr. Sloan does not seem bothered or shocked by it. Dr. Jesse, perhaps due to his medical/worldly inexperience, clearly did not see this coming.

    Yet, they are both determined to help crack the case and the episode proceeds with the issue of his sexual orientation or gender identity largely spoken of in coded phrases that never include 'gay' or 'transsexual' and could have been written for some 1950s detective film.

    To the credit of the episode, the episode does depict the murder victim as a decent human being that did not deserve to be harassed or killed. The episode features 'Vicki' marine boyfriend, who knew that she use to be a man, and when the killed is unmasked, the audience is made to totally loath him.

    It avoids making any sort of comment on the then "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy", beyond the marine drill instruction saying that he did not object to a gay men in his unit as long as he could do the work. The issue probably could have come up, with the marine boyfriend because it was not made clear if dating a transsexual violated the military policy.

    Again, for an early 1990s episode on the evils of hate crimes against gay or transgender people, it is a noble effort. Today, it may seem unduly timid in tackling prejudice, it was forward thinking at the time.

    It is (beyond the social issue of prejudice and hate crimes) also a better then average, television detective story.

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke

Dr. Mark Sloan

Victoria Rowell

Victoria Rowell

Dr. Amanda Bentley, Medical Examiner (1993-2001)

Charlie Schlatter

Charlie Schlatter

Dr. Jesse Travis

Barry Van Dyke

Barry Van Dyke

Detective Steve Sloan

Michael Tucci

Michael Tucci

Norman Briggs

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions