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11 Surprising Facts About The Criminally Underrated 'Diagnosis: Murder'

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Diagnosis: Murder doesn't get the same recognition as other mystery shows, and that's a real shame. It ran for an impressive 178 episodes, along with five TV movies.

Throughout its long run, viewers watched Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, a doctor who solves crimes. Van Dyke had already established himself as a great comedian, but he proved he had real range on this show.

Here are 11 surprising facts about the series:

1. It was a family affair

Regular viewers will remember that Van Dyke's real-life son Barry played Dr. Sloan's son, Steve, on the show. But they weren't the only Van Dyke family members who appeared on the show. In total, seven Van Dykes acted in the series. Van Dyke's grandson, Carey, had small roles in a few episodes, and so did his brother Shane.

Then, Barry's children Wes and Taryn had guest spot's too. Jerry Van Dyke, Dick's younger brother, had a small role, and so did Dick's daughter Stacy. Did you get all that? Me neither.

2. Dick Tracy Won Van Dyke His Part

By the time Diagnosis: Murder started filming the first season, Van Dyke was 67 years old. He was also best known for lighthearted roles on his comedy series, so he wasn't exactly a shoe-in to play the lead in a "whodoneit" show.

It was his part as the wily D.A. Fletcher in the Dick Tracy movie that convinced producers otherwise. We'd say they made the right choice, because it's hard to imagine anyone else as Dr. Sloan.

3. Reunion Shows

Walter Koenig (Chekov on 'Star Trek') in "Alienated."SIMKL

Diagnosis: Murder was famous for featuring characters from other classic TV shows (more on that later) but it also reunited groups of TV stars for some very fun episodes. The episode "Alienated," about an alien abduction and coverup, featured a string of Star Trek actors including Walter Koenig, George Takei, Majel Barrett and Wil Wheaton.

The "Discards" guest stars with Van Dyke.Network 54

A similar episode called "Discards" was a sort of reunion of TV spies. Patrick Macnee from Avengers, Robert Vaughn from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Phil Morris from Mission: Impossible all appeared together (but not as their original characters).

4. McSteamy

Eric Dane's character on Grey's Anatomy was best-known as "McSteamy," but his actual name is Dr. Mark Sloan. The name was a tribute to Van Dyke's character. How do you think they measure up?

5. The Sloans Reunited...Kind Of

After the series was canceled in 2001, Dick Van Dyke returned to play Dr. Sloan in a few TV movies, then said goodbye to the role. But if you're itching for more of Dr. Sloan and Steve solving mysteries, you can get your fix with Mystery 101.

The Van Dykes in 'Murder 101.'EpisoDate

The Hallmark movie series is sort of a wink and a nod to Diagnosis: Murder, with the Van Dykes playing another father-son mystery solving team. The pair starred in four TV movies in the series, and they're still being rerun to this day.

Keep reading to find out how Dick Van Dyke pulled off a dangerous motorcycle stunt...

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