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"Catch A Falling Star"
Sam in costume

Sam in costume

Episode No.   Season
19 2x10 Two
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date December 6, 1989
Network: NBC-TV
IMDB: IMDb logo.png Catch A Falling Star
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Donald P. Bellisario
Leap Information
Leap Date: May 21, 1979
Leapee: Ray Hutton
Chronological Information
Preceded by: "So Help Me God"
Followed by: "A Portrait For Troian"

Catch A Falling Star was the tenth episode of Season 2 of Quantum Leap, also the 19th overall series episode. Written by Paul Brown, the episode, which was directed by series creator Donald P. Bellisario, originally aired on NBC-TV on December 6, 1989.


Sam leaps just seconds before curtain time, into Ray Hutton (played by Michael Carl), the understudy to an alcoholic actor in the role of Don Quixote, on a way-off-Broadway production of Man of La Mancha. He must prevent the obnoxious actor from ending his career with a drunken fall on stage that breaks his leg. This situation is greatly complicated when Sam decides he doesn't want to leap after meeting his old piano teacher, whom he had a boyhood crush on- and who is in love with Sam's host.


Nothing could be more nerve-wracking than being an actor in the theater. Unless of course, you're Sam Beckett, and leap in a minute before you're supposed to take the stage as Don Quixote in a Syracuse production of “Man of La Mancha”. Luckily, his host, Ray Hutton, is only the understudy to John O’Malley (played by John Cullum), who arrives at the last moment, drunk, but still able to act. John taking the stage causes a wave of sympathy to hit Sam from the crew for not being able to perform, but a very relieved Sam is joined by Al and they watch the play from backstage.

Al has very fond memories of joining the theater after having left the orphanage, and has a great time reminiscing. He informs Sam that he is there to stop John from getting so drunk that during the next show, in three days, he falls off the balcony, breaking his leg and ruining his career. Sam is worried that he can't get John to dry out in time, and also that he would have to perform. Al tells him not to worry, that Syracuse is a long way off Broadway, and with Sam's photographic memory and singing ability, he'd be able to pull it off, and that he can't pass up the opportunity to be a star.

Backstage, Sam recognizes a woman from his past, Nicole (played by Michele Pawk), who had been his piano teacher during his early teens, and the first woman that he'd ever loved. She left to go to Julliard when he was fifteen. He thinks that she recognizes him, but during their fond greeting, she clearly had recognized his host, Ray, who is an old friend of hers. Nicole reveals that she has been cast as an understudy to play Dulcinea. Sam and Nicole are interrupted by John, who is immediately smitten by Nicole and invites them to the after party.

At the after party, John makes a spectacle of himself, singing about going to the bar, and introduces Nicole as “the new Dulcinea”, infuriating Michelle (played by Janine Turner) who usually has that role. Sam is sent by John to the bar to get drinks. Sam tries to convince John that he has had enough, but the suggestion is laughed off. At the bar, Michelle tries to get Sam to come upstairs with her, but he refuses her advances. When he returns to Nicole, Sam finds that John has passed out, and so is removed.

Nicole takes Sam to her house, where they catch up and reminisce (or rather, Nicole reminisces while Sam pretends). Sam takes to the piano and does a scale that reminds Nicole of a student (him). Sam reveals he'd had a crush on his piano teacher, and Nicole, thinking it's adorable, says Ray must have a thing for piano teachers. It's clear that Ray and Nicole have a romantic history, and though Sam warns her that he's not the same Ray she fell in love with, she reveals she's changed over the years too but her feelings haven't, and they kiss.

At the rehearsal the next day, Al arrives with a copy of the script of “Man of La Mancha” for Sam's eyes only. Al's suspicions are raised when Sam reads the lines with a great deal of passion, as they accurately reflect his feelings for Nicole. Nicole also reads beautifully and sings “What Does He Want Of Me” flawlessly. Sam and Nicole are both praised by John, who arrives late, and immediately requests for Nicole to take on the role of Dulcinea for the next show, to which the producer agrees. Sam tells Al that he's not going to stop John from having his accident, as he is in love with Nicole, and stopping John from breaking his leg would mean he would leap and have to leave her.

Michelle, furious at having been brushed off by Sam and now losing her part, starts plotting revenge against Nicole. She entices their co-star Manny with promises of sex (he'd been trying to woo Nicole for some time) to help her. That night they make it appear that Nicole had gone back to John's house overnight, infuriating Sam. The next day he ignores and snubs Nicole, upsetting her, and tells Al that he's still not going to help John after “what he did”, and tells John to “break a leg”. Manny feels guilty and comes clean to Sam before the show though, prompting a last minute change of heart, and Sam catches John as he is falling, preventing any injury. John decides he can't perform, and Sam has to go on, giving a brilliant performance and allowing him a last minute opportunity to reconcile with Nicole. As Sam reaches the top of the staircase, on the last note of “The Impossible Dream”, Sam leaps.


  • The Man Of La Mancha
  • Dulcinea
  • What Does He Want Of Me
  • The Impossible Dream