Original Story by Phil Deguere and Steven Bochco
Teleplay by Alan Brennert
Directed by Martha Coolidge
Original Airdate - February 7, 1986
Scott Wilson - Matthew Foreman
Tess Harper - Sarah
Larry Riley - Joshua
D. W. Brown - John
Jeanne Mori - Irene



A nuclear scientist is thawed out, hundreds of years after he had been frozen due to inoperable cancer, just before a cataclysmic nuclear holocaust. He is unsure exactly why he was chosen to be thawed out, but his tumor is taken out by a completely unknown form of surgery: the "surgeon" is able to rearrange the matter in her hands, and can enter his body without any kind of scalpel, while a psychic gives her a mental picture of where the tumor is, and another psychic takes the pain for the patient, so he is completely unaware that he's being operated on. The operation is a success.

The nuclear scientist is now told why he was thawed out. They need him to deflect an asteroid, using the outdated and still functioning orbiting weapons from his own time, which is threatening to hit Earth. He takes care of the initial targeting, but when the time comes to hit the button, he realizes that the leaders of the commune have been steering him in another direction. The people who survived after the nuclear holocaust have evolved past war and death, and are incapable of killing. They had to bring back a person from the violent 21st century to take care of their problem. A group of people had left the Earth before nuclear blast, hidden out on another planet, and are now on their way back to Earth with more nuclear weapons. This is what he is supposed to destroy.

He balks at this, understanding these returning people more than the current citizens, and tries to stop it, but the leader of the commune removes the communication device from the equipment, so he can't stop the orbiting weapon. The ship explodes, but this does show that nuclear weapons were on board. The man realizes he's an ancient relic, and wonders what a man of violence can do in a peaceful future. One of the psychics show him how they can walk on a planet without leaving Earth, by using their psi abilities, and he sees new horizons for himself that he never dreamed he would.



A compelling and interesting story, "Quarantine" offers us many views of the future that are filled with hope and peace. Thanks to the new DVD set and the commentary by Phil DeGuere, we know much more about this story now than we ever did. He wrote it with Steven Bochco many, many years ago, with the idea of doing a TV series. Nothing ever came of it, so when he began working on the NTZ he thought of this story. He asked Alan Brennert to write a teleplay from the story, and Phil gives Alan full credit for the success of the teleplay. Alan changed a good deal of the story, and changed the ending completely. Phil mentioned that his story had been dark and ultimately tragic.

As the violence-prone scientist from the past, Scott Wilson isn't quite menacing enough but if he had been his transformation would have been tough to believe. Tess Harper is the stand-out of the episode. She exudes confidence and seems completely at ease with what has to be done to protect their hard-won peace. The special effects of the episode are beyond reproach as well. The hanging balloons that the psi monkeys live in are wonderful; they look perfectly plausible even today. One of the series' superior efforts, though it's never gotten much attention. Hopefully the DVD release will change this.