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Quincy investigates the death of a man in a refinery fire. But the accident largely destroyed the victim’s body, leaving Quincy uncertain just who the victim really is, despite testimony from several people that executive William Farrell, now missing, entered and never left. Under pressure from Farrell and her attorney to declare Farrell dead, Quincy is dismayed when he learns that his mentor Dr. Herbert Stone has become a hired gun who will testify to anything for a fee. Quincy believes his evidence is irrefutable and that any attempt to rebut it will ruin his old friend and teacher’s already tarnished reputation. To keep that from happening, Quincy must discover what really happened the night of the explosion and reveal the guilty party before Dr. Stone testifies.
Astin: Right now, I want you to get over to Petrochem Refinery. They’ve had an accident.
Quincy: An oil refinery? Was it bad?
Astin: Would I be sending you over there if it were good?
Brill: How about explosion... fire... simple, direct.
Quincy: Oh, I know what destroyed the body. But is that what killed him?
(Quincy has told Sam to disobey an order from Astin.)
Sam: Quincy, I’m liable to get fired.
Quincy: Sam, you’ve got your choice: you can be fired Thursday by Astin when he finds out, or you can be fired by me right now.
(Quincy talks with his friend Max Wilbur, an insurance investigator, about Herbert Stone.)
Max: He’s hustling expert witness fees and using all kinds of ruses. I know the type.
Quincy: You’re ripping into Stone because he testified against your company. He cost you a few bucks – not even your money.
Max: Yours, Quincy! Everybody’s! We all have to foot the bill for fraud! And we all have to pay the tab in higher insurance rates.
Quincy: I’ll nail you!!
Stone: I only testify to what I believe is possible!
Quincy: It is impossible for the main who died in that fire to be Farrell!!
Stone: Who do you think you’re talking to, some third year medical student? I’m Herbert Stone! Thirty seven years of my life have been spent in the single-minded pursuit of knowledge and honesty. I can prove that, with the imitation parchment scroll given to me by the university, when I was forcibly retired at age sixty five. Oh, I had saved a little of my professor’s salary, though occasionally I... I had advanced money to students who were in some difficulty. They were not all like you, Quincy, in the matter of repaying. I left the university with three hundred dollars. I may have lost some of my certainty at that point.
Quincy: If it’s a question of money, maybe I...
Stone: Absolutely not. I’m in private practice now. I make a great deal of money by stating that all things are possible. I will not go hat in hand to anyone – ever again! My wife is terminally ill. She’s confined to bed, needing nursing care ‘round the clock. She’ll have that, Quincy. She’ll have anything she needs, or wants – and that is one point I am certain about... (pauses) I’m due at the inquest...
Quincy: Now this slide is a section of a normal arteriole from bone marrow. See how thin it is? Well-defined? Gimme the next slide, will you, Sam? This is a similar section, only this was taken from the decedent. The membrane – look how thick. It’s thick because – how do I tell you? It’s filled with sickness. We call it flocculent irregular hyaline thickening, but it’s sickness. This condition never - now, I repeat - never occurs unless the subject suffers from diabetes mellitus. The victim who died in that fire had diabetes. We’re not talking about some exotic disease that might be overlooked or misdiagnosed. A common, readily recognizable entity. A disease from which William Farrell did not suffer. And that’s why I say it’s impossible that it was William Farrell who died in that fire.
Quincy: I’ve got five minutes to make sure you guys get Farrell, or I’m in contempt of Astin!