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"Black On White On Fire"
Sam as a doctor helping a kid who was injured during the '65 L.A. riots

Sam as a doctor helping a kid who was injured during the '65 L.A. riots

Episode No.   Season
38 3x07 Three
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date November 9, 1990
Network: NBC-TV
IMDB: IMDb logo.png Black On White On Fire
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Information
Leap Date: August 11, 1965
Place: Watts, Los Angeles, California
Leapee: Ray Harper
Chronological Information
Preceded by: "Miss Deep South"
Followed by: "The Great Spontini"

Black On White On Fire was the seventh episode of Season 3 of the Quantum Leap TV series, also the 38th overall episode in the series. Written by Deborah Pratt, the episode, which was directed by Joe Napolitano, originally aired on NBC-TV on November 9, 1990.


As a black medical student during the 1965 Watts riots, Sam must save his white fiancée.


Sam leaps into 1965 as a black man with a white girlfriend. When the Watts riot starts, Sam must keep his girlfriend from being killed by his angry brother.


August 11, 1965: The year is 1965 in Los Angeles, the time of Malcolm X and black awareness---as Sam leaps into the body of Ray Harper (Garon Grigsby), a promising African-American medical student who has the opportunity at an internship at a Boston hospital. Ray currently lives in Watts and it's the eve of the 1965 race riots.

He's engaged to Susan Brewster (Corie Henninger), a white girl, and faces not only the wrath of her father Police Captain Paul Brewster (Marc Alaimo), who questions her reason for dating Ray, but that of his older brother Lonnie (Gregory Millar) and his friends, who more vehemently, disapprove of he dating Susan. Al tells him that his purpose is to keep Ray and Susan together but there is an outside chance that Susan might die in the riots. As the violence and race hatred grows in the community, both Ray and Susan must face the arduous challenge of each communities prejudice as Sam as Ray, must keep Ray's love for a Susan alive, despite the prejudice, anger and hostility surrounding them on the eve of the Watts riots.

As the episode begins, Sam, as Ray, is getting pummled upon by his brother Lonnie's friends, who show not only disdain of Ray dating Susan, but also distrusts her dating Ray, as Lonnie says it's only because she wants to showcase Ray as "a trophy among her white liberal friends". In the original order of events before Sam's leap into Ray, the leapee, it had Ray and Susan breaking up and he giving up on his ambitions of becoming a doctor.


  1. My Girl (performed by The Temptations)
  2. Ooh Baby Baby (performed by The Miracles)
  3. The Tracks Of My Tears (performed by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)
  4. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (performed by James Brown)
  5. Baby, I Need Your Lovin` (performed by The Four Tops)