Miscellaneous Dick Van Dyke Show Vantastix The 10th Decade Kennedy Center Honors

Diagnosis Murder

After guest starring as a murderous judge in the second episode of Andy Griffith’s new mystery-drama Matlock, Dick was approached by producer Fred Silverman about starring in his own mystery series.

Dr. Mark Sloan, the free-spirited crime-solving physician, was introduced in 1991 on Jake and the Fat Man.  Three made-for-television movies soon followed with Dick’s son, Barry, brought on as his TV son, a homicide detective.

The regular series debuted on CBS in October 1993 and ran for 178 episodes over 8 seasons.  The cast included Scott Baio, Victoria Rowell, Charlie Schlatter, and Michael Tucci.

Toward the end of the show’s run, two young executive producers tried to make the series hipper by adding more sex and violence, a move that Dick, an ardent champion of wholesome family entertainment, quickly fought in the media.  

Ten years on the air seemed proof that Dick’s views were accurate all along.

Numerous well-known television personalities—including Regis Philbin, Tim Conway, Dick Martin, Jack Klugman, and even Andy Griffith as Ben Matlock — made  appearances as special guest stars.

One of the perks of being such an important television presence was the occasional nepotism Dick practiced, casting his children, grandchildren, and even brother Jerry in guest roles.