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Before it grew and expanded into cable TV, American dramatic television was a much smaller world. One of the longtime inhabitants of that world was James Quinn, a director whose hands were on many episodes of the serious offerings of that era. He began his career as an assistant director on films in the 1970s, participating in the creation of the classic Martin Scorsese documentary about The Band's final concert, "The Last Waltz" (1978), among other films. In the mid-1980s he shifted almost exclusively to the small screen, working as first assistant director on the police action series and cultural phenomenon "Miami Vice" (1984). Initially working as an assistant director on that show, he finally got the chance to helm several episodes himself in 1987. His other work during this era included being first assistant director on the heart-tugging TV movie "Miracle of the Heart: A Boys Town Story" (1986). After "Miami Vice," Quinn stayed firmly planted in the director's chair, occupying it for one-offs or several-episode runs of many TV series. He helmed editions of such shows as the sprawling period crime saga "Crime Story" (1987) and the durable procedural "Law & Order " (1990), as well as one of that series' spinoffs.
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