Diagnosis: Murder "Murder by Remote" (TV episode)

2/10/2000. 1 hour. Season 7 of 8 Episode 148.
Medical/Detective drama. CBS. Thursday, 8 pm.
Code: DMMR 2/2000

PLOT

When a woman is killed, Dr. Sloan fears a computer has become a serial killer.

CREDITS

Writer: Terry Curtis Fox
Director: Christopher Hibler

REGULAR CAST

Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan
Barry Van Dyke as Steve Sloan

GUEST CAST

Jonathan Banks as Bruce Locatelli aka Nardo Lucca
Charmin Lee as Dr.
Karmin Murcelo as Maria?
Dan Lauria as Donald Purdy
Bethany Bassler as Laura Kravitz
Kevin McNally as Paramedic
Richard Penn as Langston McHenry
Rochelle Swanson as Phil

BAD GUY

Serial killer

CHARACTERIZATION

Quiet, likes music. Speaks Spanish easily to Maria, his house manager. He and his computer have a close relationship, and the computer uses his first name. Pride is his failing, and it shows in the pride he has in his computer system. Motivated by revenge for the death of his son in the hospital, he kills the children of the doctors and nurses who could not save his son.

COMMENTS

"A murderer who was his own victim." "So we've got a murderer who's still killing after he's dead." These lines sum up the gimmick of the script, which has the feel of a Columbo episode. Dr. Sloan knows who did it, he just has to figure out how. Dick Van Dyke gets to embody the "old folks who don't trust computers" demographic, and, of course, he's right, the evil computer was killing people.

COSTUME

Dark trousers, blue shirt; tan trousers, purple shirt. Khaki DWP maintenance man uniform to gain access to the house.

DEATH SCENE

Dies from smoke inhalation. (Don't tune out at the death scene; he's back for a post-mortem scene.)

LINES

(You named your computer Hal?) "Yes, after the movie. It's kind of a joke." (Didn't Hal kill people?) "Well, it seemed like a good joke at the time."

"Oh, I can do anything." (about programming)

SCREEN TIME

About ten minutes in seven scenes, throughout.