[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/diagnosismurder.png]]

"''Diagnosis: Murder'' is a mystery/medical/crime drama television series starring Creator/DickVanDyke 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." That's directly from [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] and is probably one of the best explanations of the show. (The Van Dyke Family roadshow perhaps? Given that Dick's daughter also appears as Mark's daughter and all four of Barry's children turn up in the series and Dick's brother turns up as Mark's brother...)

In between saving people's lives, Mark as the chief of internal medicine also finds time to help the woefully inadequate LAPD find the constant murders that have been going around lately. The whole idea is that a patient will come in comatose under the reasoning that a landslide had knocked them out and caused internal bleeding so they died, yet under closer inspection these "rock bruises" look more like the shape you would expect after been repeatedly hit by heavy books. Steve, this man wasn't killed by rocks on a landslide but by books in a library; my diagnosis, murder.

It's woefully ridiculous but the fact that the show knows it's a stupid idea and pokes a lot of fun at itself just makes it that much more appealing. Mark doesn't solve the crimes by himself; Steve, Mark's son mentioned above, gives him reason to poke around. Also, depending on the season, he has doctors Amanda Bentley, Jack Stewart and Jesse Travis. The latter opens up a BBQ restaurant with the policeman Steve. So Amanda and Jack/Jesse will then get themselves into random danger with the killer while trying to solve the murder because clearly being highly trained doctors with lives to save isn't enough to keep them occupied and they don't have the brains to ask their police friend, Steve, to look into it for them.

It's not commonly known that this was a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqyUjRAy5fU spinoff of]] ''Series/JakeAndTheFatman'' (which in turn was a spinoff of ''Series/{{Matlock}}'').

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!!Contains examples of the following tropes:

* AbsenteeActor: Pushed to extremes in Season 8 when either Jesse, Amanda, or both were absent from nearly every episode. There are only 6 episodes of the entire season where all four main characters appear, and Jesse isn't even in the series finale.
* AdamWesting: Adam West himself cameos as a washed-up actor who was made famous by playing half of a crime-fighting duo, ''Tuttle and the Mummy''.
* AmateurSleuth: Dr. Mark Sloan.
* BananaInTheTailpipe: Used with a wad of cash in the tailpipe.
* BeleagueredBureaucrat: Hospital administrator Norman Briggs. Initially depicted as an ObstructiveBureaucrat, he later demonstrates that he genuinely cares for Community General but is caught between the needs of the hospital and the realities of the economy.
* BigBrotherInstinct: Steve toward his little sister Carol; in "Murder in the Family," Mark comments that this has always been their dynamic. [[spoiler:Naturally, when Carol is murdered in the movie ''Town Without Pity'', Steve takes it very hard that he couldn't protect her.]]
* BirthdayEpisode: "The Busy Body"
* BitterAlmonds: Mark identifies a glass of wine as being laced with cyanide by the aroma of almonds in one episode.
* BluffingTheMurderer: Several episodes have Mark using this trick to make the killers incriminate themselves.
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: "Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of My Life" has Dr. Sloan trying to stop a doctor who helps terminally ill patients commit suicide. The ending leaves it up to the viewer to decide who they feel is right.
* BreakingTheFellowship / PuttingTheBandBackTogether: In the two-parter "Obsession," after serial bomber Louis Sweeney, whom Dr. Sloan and his son Steve helped put away, is executed for his crimes, the killer's children pull off a series of copy-cat bombings, causing the police to suspect that they executed the wrong man. At the end of Part 1, facing a public relations nightmare, the board of executives at Community General revoke Dr. Sloan's medical license and fire Amanda Bentley and Jesse Travis, while the LAPD suspends Steve Sloan indefinitely. In Part 2, the four of them reunite after a few weeks to clear their reputations and prove that Louis Sweeney was indeed guilty of the bombings he committed, and that his children were responsible for the copy-cat bombings. By the end of the arc, Dr. Sloan's license is restored and everyone's back on the job. [[spoiler: And then Sweeney's daughter blew up the hospital.]]
* BrickJoke: In "Malibu Fire," Mark (by a reporter) is mistaken for Creator/PeterGraves. [[CelebrityCameo Guess who plays]] the Mark {{Expy}} in the ShowWithinAShow at the end of "Trash TV"?
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Dr. Sloan has raised eccentricity to a high art (he's been known to make his rounds on roller skates), but his skills as a doctor and as a consultant to the police more than make up for that.
* ChristmasEpisode: "Murder in the Family," in which Mark is pleasantly surprised by a Christmas visit from his estranged daughter Carol. The cast is trimming a tree and singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" together at the end of the show.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Delores Mitchell and Norman Briggs.
* ChurchOfHappyology: Earthonomy, a cult with ridiculous mafia-like connections. They kill a reporter who was investigating them and attempt to kill another reporter. One suspect is even a closeted gay actor obviously based on... [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed a certain actor]]. [[spoiler:It turns out the killer was a hitman hired by the head of Earthonomy, who was having a homosexual affair with the gay actor.]]
* ConnectTheDeaths: A serial bomber wrote the name of her dead father on the city map. The absurdity of this is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Neil Burnside (the man in charge of the investigation, who is also running for District Attorney), who draws a pig in the same pattern, though of course Dr. Sloan is right.
* ContractualPurity: [[invoked]] One episode had the murder victim (the Executive Head of a [[Creator/{{ION}} PAX]]-style Christian TV network) given a fatal heart attack by video clips sliced into a show she's reviewing that had images of a lookalike practicing Satanism (which she did in college), something that would ruin anyone's career, let alone hers.
* CriminalDoppelganger: The two-parter episode "Gangland" centered on a recently paroled mob boss who bore a striking resemblance to Dr. Mark Sloan (both roles played by Dick Van Dyke)
* {{Crossover}}: With ''Series/{{Matlock}}'' in the two-parter "Murder for Two"
** "Hard-Boiled Murder" has Mark helping Joe Mannix with an old case he didn't get around to solving in his own show.
* ADayInTheLimelight: "Blast From The Past" focuses more on Steve; the episode concerns the release of a man who sent up for killing his wife, who wants revenge on Steve. It's also of a less humorous bent than usual.
* DeathInTheClouds: "Murder in the Air"
* DiabolusExNihilo: The motive of the culprit in "Rear Windows '98" is never revealed.
* DisappearedDad: Jesse's father was never there during his childhood, owing to his career as a spy for the government. In "Discards," they finally bury the hatchet and start building a relationship.
* DisposingOfABody: One episode (which was kind of a ghost story) had one corpse turned into an exhibit skeleton.
* EngineeredHeroics: One episode has a former Air Force pilot drugging the flight crew of a commercial airliner, intending to volunteer to fly the plane to safety and get himself the credibility he needs to find work as a pilot again.
%%* EverythingIsOnline
%%* EvilTwin
* TheExitIsThatWay: Happens to a sleep-deprived Jesse in in "Misdiagnosis Murder". When Amanda tells him to go home and get some sleep, he angrily says he will and turns and strides dramatically through a door... which turns out to be the broom closet.
* ForgotToGagHim: Dr. Mark Sloan - when kidnapped by the insane children of a MadBomber he got sent to the electric chair, he manages to play them against each other, while secretly sending clues to his partners-in-crimesolving, leading to his inevitable rescue. One of the agents on the case even comments that they really should've [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim shot him right away]]...
* FriendOnTheForce: Mark's son Steve.
* GangstaStyle: Played with in an episode where Mark Sloan is at a gun range being shown how to use a pistol. He fires off a few rounds normally (with realistic loudness and recoil) and then asks the man who was showing him whether he could fire it sideways "like on TV", twisting it to the side to show him what he meant. While the instructor starts saying why it's a bad idea, Mark fires the gun anyway by accident and the recoil flings it out of his hand with great ease and force - which creates a big enough diversion for another character to sneak past.
* GoldDigger: The victim in "Open and Shut."
* HappilyMarried: In the movie ''Town Without Pity'', Mark and Steve learn that with the murder of her worthless ex-husband behind her, Carol has married a good man and is genuinely happy. [[spoiler:Then she and her husband are murdered.]]
* HollywoodHacking: "Rear Windows '98"
* {{Homage}}: DM has done episodes that honor TV doctors of the past ("Physician, Murder Thyself" with Chad Everett, Wayne Rogers, Jack Klugman and Bernie Kopell), TV spies of the past ("Discards" with Robert Culp, Barbara Bain [as her ''Series/MissionImpossible'' character of Cinnamon Carter, [[SharedUniverse which suggests]]...], Robert Vaughn and Patrick [=MacNee=]), TV cops of the past ("Murder Blues" with Fred Dryer, Angie Dickinson, Martin Milner, Kent [=McCord=] and James Darren), Emergency! ("Malibu Fire" with Emergency regulars Randolph Mantooth and Robert Fuller), ''Series/{{Mash}}'' ("Drill For Death", with a number of cast members from both [[Film/{{Mash}} the movie]] and TV versions, plus ''Trapper John, M.D.'s Christopher Norris), ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' ("Alienated", with Trek regulars Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney and Majel Barrett, plus Wil Wheaton from ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration TNG]]'' and ''Series/LostInSpace'''s Bill Mumy) and the ''Series/HappyDays''-''Series/LaverneAndShirley''-''Series/MorkAndMindy'' universe ("Food Fight" featuring Pat Morita, Don Most, Erin Moran, David L. Lander, Leslie Easterbrook, and Conrad Janis).
* HypocriticalHumor: When the hospital's computer system is brought to its knees by a virus, Norman asks the computer engineer who fixes the problem to give the staff a lecture on proper computer handling and to remind them that their computer terminals are not toys. The engineer then reveals that the virus on the system is commonly found in a particular computer game - which Norman has installed on his terminal.
* IdenticalStranger: In "Gangland", Doc Sloan turns out to have a {{Doppelganger}}.
* InconvenientHippocraticOath: In one episode, Dr. Sloan is at a retirement home disguised as a wheelchair-bound senile person in order to investigate corruption. At one point, another character needs emergency medical treatment, so Sloan has to irrevocably blow his cover in front of all the staff and residents to help.
* InheritanceMurder: In one episode, there's a millionaire who decides to leave his fortune to a hospital, but who dies before he can change his will. Naturally, suspicion falls on his three awful children.
* InterdisciplinarySleuth: Dr. Sloan uses his medical knowledge to solve crimes.
* ItWasHereISwear: In "Misdiagnosis Murder", Jesse sees a man die of a heart attack in the parking garage. When he returns with aid, the body is gone and another man is faking tachycardia. Jesse spends the rest of the episode trying to persuade people of what he saw.
** In another episode, "A Mime Is a Terrible Thing to Waste," dogsitter Randy Wolfe finds a murdered mime in her employer's bed. After running across the street to fetch Mark and Steve, she brings them back to the house to find a completely clean bed, and spends a lot of the rest of the episode trying to both solve the murder and convince everyone else that she's not crazy or lying.
* JackTheRipoff: The title character of the tie-in novel ''The Silent Partner'' is a serial copycat: one copycat each for multiple serial killers.
* KarmaHoudini: In "Rear Windows '98," Susan doesn't even apologise for falsely accusing Jesse of intentionally poisoning her.
* KidnappedDoctor: "Murder on the Run" has Mark being kidnapped by a convicted murderer who ended up in Community General following a prison transport crash. Mark is later forced to perform impromptu surgery on the kidnapper when the broken rib he suffered during the crash punctures his lung.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: Carol Sloan and her husband in the movie ''Town Without Pity''.]]
* TheKillerWasLeftHanded: Almost used in an episode where the killer must be right handed. This lets the left handed man off, until it's revealed that everyone is innocent. Since someone must be guilty, it turns out the lefty is ambidextrous.
* KillingForATissueSample: There's an episode in which the killer turns out to be a doctor who specializes in studying genetics, and his intended victim has a unique trait in her genes that he's convinced will further his research.
* LetsGetDangerous: The normally calm and [[ByTheBookCop by the book]] Mark and Steve will resort to {{Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique}}s if their friends or family are threatened.
* LockedInARoom: Happens on a number of occasions, notably to Jesse and Steve in the season 6 opener and to Jack and Steve in season 2, where Jack reveals he has {{Claustrophobia}} and has a panic attack.
* TheMovie: ''Town Without Pity''
* MurderByRemoteControlVehicle: In "Inheritance of Death", remote control is used to send an elderly millionaire's electric wheelchair crashing down a flight of stairs.
* MustHaveCaffeine: Jesse is sometimes shown to desperately want a cup of coffee. Justified, as he's a doctor who frequently works long shifts.
* MysteryOfTheWeek
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: In the episode "The Last Laugh (Part 1)" a man storms out of a hotel room after taking a shower (ItMakesSenseInContext) and his towel gets trapped in the door. Mark notes he "won't get far" and there is a comedy scream and musical laugh sting plays.
* NotSoFakePropWeapon: One episode featured a morning show staging a shooting between the hosts as a publicity stunt. Someone switched the blanks for real bullets and the co-host gets shot.
* ObfuscatingDisability: [[spoiler: The culprit in "Slam Dunk Dead", who spends most of the episode claiming and acting that he has cerebral palsy.]]
* OlderThanTheyLook: Jesse Travis got this on occasion. How gracefully he reacted depended on how snotty the other person acted.
* ParanormalEpisode: The thirteenth episode of the second season, and it's a shocker. [[spoiler: "The Bela Lugosi Blues" has a real female vampire as the murderess behind a string of killings. She's in cahoots with a mortal villain. He gets the money from her crimes. She gets the blood, and help getting a new ID papers (her last passport expired in 1938).]]
* ThePerfectCrime: Nicely played with in an episode where a killer details his "perfect" plan for a murder. That's followed by the crime where ''nothing'' goes to plan. Still, he pulls it off only to be tripped up not because of any of his mistakes but because his attempt to frame an innocent person for the crime is ''too'' good. Mark notes that it's the first case where the suspect is so incredibly obvious from the start and thus got suspicious of the "evidence" to find out the truth.
* PhoneTraceRace: In one episode, the killer who had previously dodged phone traces allows the call to be traced to a pay phone to distract the police.
* PhoneyCall: In "Blood Will Out", Mark calls Steve to tell him where he and the missing patient are. Being in a room with a rogue NSA agent, Steve pretends to be having a conversation with his wife about a dinner. In a twist, the NSA had been tapping Steve's phone and got a recording of the full conversation. Steve, however, expected the them to be tapping his phone and arranged to have a squad of police waiting for them when they followed him.
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot: Several episodes featured possible pilots:
** "Retribution," a two-part episode was intended to be a pilot for "The Chief." Fred Dryer starred at the hard-nosed Los Angeles chief of police who played various political games to provide law and order. Neal [=McDonough=] would co-star as Ross Canin, a mob boss who was actually an undercover policeman acting as Masters' ultimate inside man.
** "Sister Michael Wants You" had Delta Burke as a nun solving murders.
** "A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste" featured Rachel York as Randy Wolfe, an eccentric woman with various jobs who gets involved in murder cases.
** "Blood Ties" was to be a pilot for a series called "Whistlers" with rule-bending detective Amy Devlin (Kathy Evison) and her more outrageous partner Taylor Lucas (Zoe [=McLellan=]).
** "How to Murder Your Lawyer" featuring Mitchell Whitfield as Arnold Baskin, a bumbling tax attorney by day and (Steve's) law course professor at evening, and Leah Remini as his wisecracking student Agnes Benedetto who happens to work as an assistant at his law firm. Together they would have sold crimes - if the series had been made.
* PregnantHostage: In "Baby Boom."
* RealityEnsues: In the crossover with ''Series/{{Matlock}}'', the judge had Matlock spend a night in a cell when he tried pulling [[CourtroomAntic courtroom antics]].
* ReliablyUnreliableGuns: Steve Sloan's 9mm service weapon jams up on him during a firefight, prompting his opponent to say something to the effect of "those nine millimeters really are a piece of crap." For the remainder of the episode (and the series) he carries a [[RevolversAreJustBetter revolver]] as a sidearm instead.
* RevealingCoverup: Used a few different ways in an episode where the murderer makes the death look like a suicide-by-pill-overdose. The murderer takes care to wipe their fingerprints off the pill bottle, but the victim's prints aren't on the bottle either. Also, when Mark tells the killer that it's unusual for there to not be a suicide note, the killer forges one using the victim's laptop; Mark checks the laptop's directory and finds that the note is date-stamped about 20 hours after the death, confirming that it's murder rather than suicide.
* ReverseWhodunnit
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: One episode featured a militia group trying to separate the US West Coast into a state for whites, complete with the WeAreEverywhere threat and a stolen nuke.
* SelfSurgery: In "Blood Will Out", the man who [[WakingUpAtTheMorgue wakes up in the morgue]] with a bullet in his head steals medical supplies and uses a deserted operating theatre to operate on himself and remove the slug.
* ShockJock: An episode features a vile, foul mouthed shock-jock type trying to get a squeaky-clean TV host on his show who [[spoiler: turns out to be the mother of his child. She kills him instead, of course.]]
* ShoePhone: One episode has an assassin being hired to kill someone at the hospital, using a gun concealed inside the handle of a crutch.
* ShowWithinAShow: Type 1, when Amanda wins the chance to be on her favorite show, and when they film a TV show in the hospital.
** The episode "Trash TV" deals with the TroubledProduction of a series based on Mark Sloan's exploits, filmed on location in Community General and initially starring Creator/PeterGraves as Doctor Sloan. After a rework, Steve "[[MyNaymeIs Sloane]]" is about [[YoungerAndHipper thirty years younger]], packs a [[{{BFG}} Magnum]], and [[HotterAndSexier sleeps with his female patients]]. [[HilarityEnsues Then people start dying on set]].
** "Hot House" is about a murder on the set of a ''Series/BigBrother''-type reality show. Mark goes undercover as the new housemate to try to figure out who killed the AssholeVictim.
* ShownTheirWork: In "Delusions of Murder," it's correctly pointed out that a person under hypnosis cannot be commanded to do something they normally wouldn't.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Murder 101'', the Hallmark Channel's series of {{Made for TV Movie}}s starring Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Jonathan Maxwell and Barry Van Dyke as Mike Bryant, a private detective (not the doctor's son this time around).
* SpringtimeForHitler: In the episode "Murder at the Finish Line," a race car owner oversells her shares to backers, figuring that with the loser race car driver she has, they'll never expect any returns. However, the driver suddenly goes on a major winning streak and thus pushes the owner to murder.
* StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder: In one episode, after a new hospital administrator announces that she plans to have Dr. Sloan fired from Community General when he protests her short-sighted budget cuts, the new administrator turns up dead, and a sociopath calls up Dr. Sloan and says, "Now you owe me a favor." Dr. Sloan refuses to play along, obviously.
* SuicideByCop: Subverted: the bad guy has a degenerative disease not covered by insurance (pre-existing condition), and spends the entire episode goading Steve into killing him. It is implied that part of Steve's refusal to do so is because the villain went a bit too far. GoodIsNotNice, perhaps?
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Dr. Jesse Travis replacing Dr. Jack Stewart for the 1995-96 season.
* SyntheticPlague: A genetically-altered strain of smallpox referred to as [=RZ1765=] serves as a MacGuffin in one episode.
* ThemeNaming: In "Inheritance of Death," murdered millionaire Jonathan Nash has three children whose names also begin with the letter J (Julian, J. Edison and Judith).
* TinkleInTheEye: The characters discuss how this always happens on TV before it actually happens.
* {{Tontine}}
* TownWithADarkSecret: "Dead in the Water", when Jesse and girlfriend Susan travel to such a town. This happens again in the movie ''Town Without Pity''. Unsurprisingly, Jesse's previous experience is [[AesopAmnesia never mentioned at all in the movie]].
* TroubledButCute: Carol Sloan, as indicated by her father and brother in "Murder in the Family." By the end of the episode, she seems to finally be turning her life around.
* TwinSwitch: A man murders his twin, then takes over his twin's life.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Justified, since Mark and Steve are real-life father and son; Mark's daughter Carol is also Dick Van Dyke's real-life daughter Stacy.
* UnsettlingGenderReveal: In one episode, the victim was a post-op trans woman, and Steve had been flirting with her before she was killed. To the show's credit, the victim was portrayed as a sympathetic character and none of the main characters freaked out about the reveal.
** The killer turns out to be [[spoiler: the victim's heterosexual ex-girlfriend, who couldn't accept that she transitioned]].
* WakingUpAtTheMorgue: In "Blood Will Out", Amanda is preparing for an autopsy when the body on her slab wakes up and chokes her into unconsciousness before escaping.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Oddly invoked and lampshaded in the episode "Blood Ties" (a backdoor pilot for a cop drama involving two female police officers). A team of renegade cops, who have taken to murdering known felons and placing "organ donor" stickers on their drivers licenses so their organs can be harvested for transplants, tries to convince the two protagonist cops to join them. One of the officers comments that this reminds her of a ''Film/JamesBond'' scene, where the villain tries to convince Bond to join him in taking over the world. She says, "All Bond had to do was say 'yes', and he could buy enough time for his fellow agents to rescue him and save the day. I never understood why he never said 'yes'... until now. The answer is 'no'."
%%* WelcomeToTheRealWorld
* WeWouldHaveToldYouBut: [[spoiler: Steve and his partner are put under involuntary lockdown for threatening suspects. Turns out it's all a ploy to get the partner to admit to murders he'd committed and blanked from his memory a year before.]]
* WhatHaveWeEar: Mark is an amateur sleight-of-hand magician as well as a doctor, and occasionally pulls this trick.
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