As a private detective, Sam has to solve a murder case, before he becomes the next victim. It is a nicely done noir-esque episode, with a not-to-subtle homage to the sleuthing film roles played by Humphrey Bogart.
Fan opinions on this episode tend to be less-then-thrilled. As the last episode in the first season, it does not really do much to answer or advance the larger story threads in the series. I appreciate why this episode gets an average or slightly above average rating.
It does not touch upon the philosophical-theological issue of whether or not God or time is directing this time traveling experiment. The audience does not really learn more about the Quantum Leap project, and it does not really address any serious social issue, . alcoholism, domestic abuse or discrimination.
The look and tone of this particular episode is unique, trying to capture the essence of a classic Hollywood films about big city, "dames" and "private dicks".
Where as other episodes generally shot for looking like a particular period in history . a University campus in 1972), this episode is less about history and more about Hollywood, namely how films in the film noir genre looked and felt.
For example, classic film noir movies did tend to have a slower pace (in comparison to modern contemporary summer Blocksters).
As a homage to the film noir genre, it is a great episode. I wish that future episodes had tried to go the film noir route, but it didn't happen. I do understand why the episode does not rank higher among many fans.
The twist at the end of the episode is that Sam really only needed to inspire a young author to write detective novels. Really? It was not enough that he saved lives and crack a murder case.
No, Sam needed to inspire a shy, neurotic kid to become semi-successful (not too successful, mind you) pulp fiction novelist. I guess that is a better fate for the young nerd them being murdered, but of all of the great (or even moderate) wrongs to help right in history....
Is God or time or the fates a big fan of 'true crime' detective novels?