Good Night, Dear Heart was the 17th episode in Season 2 of Quantum Leap, also the 25th overall episode in the series. Written by Paul Brown, the episode, which was directed by Christopher T. Welch, originally aired on NBC-TV on March 7, 1990.
Sam leaps into mortician Melvin Spooner, when the police bring him the body of a young German girl named Hilla, who apparently committed suicide. She worked for a man named Roger Truesdale (played by William Cain) and his son, Greg (played by Robert Duncan McNeill). Ziggy can't figure out what Sam needs to do, but Sam believes that her death wasn't a suicide, and it's up to him to unravel the mystery and bring Hilly's killer to justice.
Sam leaps in to find himself seated at a desk with a police sheriff dangling a heart-shaped locket in front of him. Sam opens the locket to find a black-and-white photograph of a smiling family. The sheriff, Lyle Roundtree (played by W.K. Stratton), guesses that the youngest girl in the photograph must be "her". Sam turns around, and gets up in shock as he sees a young woman lying motionless on a table and covered by a sheet. He says the woman is dead, and Lyle quips that Sam should have been a detective instead of a mortician.
It's November 9, 1957, and Sam has leaped into Melvin Spooner (played by Marvyn Byrkett), the local mortician and coroner of Riven Rock, Massachusetts. The woman on the table is a nineteen-year-old German girl called Hilla (played by Suzanne Tegmann). Lyle tells Sam that Hilla's purse was found at the end of a dock, and one of her shoes was floating in the water below. Sam is horrified to hear that Hilla drowned herself, and is visibly uncomfortable at the sight of the young woman's corpse. Lyle comments that maybe the job is starting to get to Sam.
Sam and Lyle hear the buzzer of the front door, and Lyle goes out to greet a young man named Greg Truesdale and his father, Roger. Lyle had called Greg with the news of Hilla's death, but Roger insisted on coming along, explaining that Hilla was one of his best employees. Sam offers a handshake to Roger, who looks at Sam's hand and declines with a polite smile. Lyle takes Roger and Greg into the back room to see Hilla. Sam asks Greg, who is distressed at the sight of Hilla's body, if the two of them were close. Greg says they were friends, then leaves without saying anything more. Roger explains that he hired Hilla as a desk clerk at the lodge he owns, and her family was killed during the war. He offers to pay for Hilla's burial, then leaves with Lyle.
Sam finds a passport in Hilla's purse, then quickly puts it away after looking at her picture. He looks at the locket again, and a voice behind him tells him that it belonged to Hilla's mother. The voice belongs to Stephanie Heywood (played by Marcia Cross), who starts to cry as she looks at Hilla. She says that she and Hilla were friends, and that she should have stopped her. Stephanie leaves in tears, refusing Sam's request to drive her home.
Al appears, and gets a fright when he finds himself standing in the middle of an open coffin. Sam tells Al that he doesn't need him on this leap, because he arrived to late to save Hilla's life. Al says that according to Ziggy, Hilla committed suicide by drowning. Sam checks Hilla's passport again, and realizes that she died on her nineteenth birthday. He notices a small, circular wound on Hilla's left temple, and announces to Al that she was murdered. He assumes the wound was made by a bullet, but he can't find an exit wound. He guesses that the bullet never came out, and picks up a scalpel, telling Al that the bullet is the only clue they've got. Al quickly leaves when he realizes what Sam is going to do.
Later, Sam has extracted a small piece of metal from Hilla's temple. Al hesitantly returns to Sam, and asks if Sam found the bullet. Sam responds that it's shrapnel from a wound Hilla suffered during the war, and there was no bullet, but he still believes that Hilla was murdered. Al suggests that maybe Hilla shot herself, but Sam counters that if Hilla committed suicide, then he wouldn't be there.
Sam visits Greg at Truesdale Lodge. Greg smiles as he greets Sam, but declines to shake his hand. Sam asks which room was Hilla's, explaining that he needs a dress to bury her in. Greg, looking saddened, tells Sam that Hilla's favorite was a blue dress with a bow in the back. Sam asks Greg if he loved Hilla, but Greg walks away without answering.
Sam enters Hilla's room, and starts playing a record as he looks around at Hilla's belongings. He sees a book of Mark Twain stories, and a porcelain doll partially covered in burn marks. Opening Hilla's drawers, he finds a diary and starts reading. In the entries he reads, Hilla writes about needing someone to love, then about meeting Greg and going to the movies with him. In the diary's final entry, on the Fourth of July, Hilla writes that she has met someone she could fall in love with, and had an argument with somebody else over it, which ended their relationship. As Sam reads the entry, a slip of paper falls out, and Sam looks shocked when he reads it.
Suddenly, Stephanie walks in and wants to know what Sam is doing there. She turns off the record player and puts Hilla's diary away. She looks at a photo of Hilla that she took, and tells Sam she wanted to make a career out of her photography hobby. She and Hilla were going to go to New York together, Hilla as a model, and Stephanie as her photographer. Sam tells her that Hilla may have been murdered, and asks if she knows who could have done it. Stephanie says that everyone loved Hilla, and nobody would have wanted her dead. She then mentions that Roger fired Hilla after she had a fling with Greg. Sam asks her to keep that to herself for now.
After Stephanie leaves, Al, who has been listening in, guesses that Sam suspects Roger of murdering Hilla. Sam responds that it could have been Greg, guessing that Hilla's final entry was about breaking up with him. He tells Al that the slip of paper he found is the result of a blood test that proved Hilla was pregnant when she died.
Back at the mortuary, Sam and Lyle are arguing over Hilla's death. Sam tries to convince Lyle that Hilla didn't kill herself, and that she was shot. Lyle responds that being around the young Hilla's body is having an effect on Sam's thinking. Sam angrily grabs Lyle by the arm as he turns to leave, but Al urges Sam to stay calm. Sam suggests that if Hilla shot herself, then the gun will be at the bottom of the lake, and if Lyle finds it, then he'll drop the subject and agree to bury Hilla.
After Lyle leaves, Al tells Sam that even if the gun is found and traced to somebody else, they still haven't found the bullet. Before Sam can respond, a woman named Aggie enters with a make-up kit. Al realizes that Aggie is going to prepare Hilla's face for the funeral, and quickly leaves. Aggie asks Sam what dress he's burying Hilla in, and Sam realizes he left the dress in Hilla's room at the lodge.
Later, Sam is watching a film on a projector in Hilla's room, taken of a smiling Hilla in a Statue Of Liberty costume. Al asks Sam what he's doing there, and accuses Sam of becoming obsessed with Hilla. Sam watches an earlier part of the film showing Hilla by a lake, smiling and laughing at the camera, and asks Al if Hilla looks like the kind of girl who could kill herself. Al says that unmarried pregnant girls in the fifties were treated as outcasts, which could have led to Hilla's suicide, but Sam still believes that Greg murdered Hilla after she broke up with him. Al insists that Sam is imagining what he sees in Hilla, but Sam thinks she's trying to tell him something. Al leaves without another word.
Sam and Lyle are at the lake where Hilla's body was found, and the gun is nowhere to be seen. Sam insists that someone shot Hilla, but Lyle angrily argues that Sam has no evidence and no motive. Sam tells Lyle that Hilla was pregnant, and hints that Greg was the father.
Sam and Lyle meet Greg and Roger on an archery range at the lodge, and Sam confronts Greg with Hilla's pregnancy, surprising Roger. Greg admits he knew about the pregnancy, and claims that he and Hilla were going to elope on the night she died. Sam argues that Hilla broke up with Greg on the Fourth of July, but Greg responds that he was in an archery tournament in Boston that weekend, which Lyle confirms. Greg says that he and Hilla had just started dating at that time. Roger angrily tells Sam to get his facts straight.
Back in Hilla's room, Sam is holding Hilla's locket and staring at Stephanie's picture of her. Al returns, and Sam admits that he's being a little irrational about Hilla. Al says that he agrees with Sam about Hilla being murdered, since he and Hilla are both orphans and should stick together. Al has Ziggy look into the people Sam has met on this leap, and discovers that in six years, Aggie is going to be indicted for performing an illegal abortion.
Sam confronts Aggie at her beauty shop, and Aggie admits that Hilla came to her asking for an abortion, and was accompanied by Roger Truesdale. Aggie says that Hilla couldn't go through with the abortion and left, which is the last time Aggie saw her alive.
At the mortuary, Sam tells Lyle to arrest Roger for Hilla's murder, but Lyle refuses, telling Sam he has no weapon, no bullet, and no witness. He insists that Hilla committed suicide, and orders Sam to bury her.
Hilla is lying in her coffin and wearing her blue dress. Sam puts Hilla's locket around her neck, then notices something strange as he starts putting her shoes on.
Later, Sam has gathered Lyle, Roger, Greg and Stephanie in Hilla's room at the lodge, showing them the film of Hilla he watched earlier. Sam points out that the footage of Hilla by the lake was taken by an amateur, looking pointedly at Greg, who admits that he shot it. Roger insists that it doesn't prove that Greg killed Hilla. Sam tells Roger that he suspected him of shooting Hilla with an arrow, which would leave a similar wound to a bullet hole and explain the absence of a bullet, but then discovered that the arrows Roger uses at his lodge don't match the size of Hilla's wound. Sam then points out that the murderer shot the more professional-looking footage of Hilla in her Statue of Liberty costume, and looks at Stephanie. Stephanie claims that she didn't shoot the film.
Sam says that he thought Hilla had ended her relationship with Greg on the Fourth of July, but that she actually ended her relationship with Stephanie. Greg is stunned, and Stephanie claims that she and Hilla were just friends. Not believing this, Sam says that things changed for Stephanie when Hilla fell in love with Greg. Stephanie claims that she hasn't shot anybody, and Sam shows her the shoe that was found near Hilla's body. He thought the shoe belonged to Hilla, but it wasn't her size. Sam guesses the shoe belongs to Stephanie, and that the point of the heel inflicted the wound to Hilla's temple. Sam asks Stephanie to try on the shoe, and she confesses to Hilla's murder, blaming Greg for getting Hilla pregnant so she could never leave him. Stephanie starts to cry as she says that she loved Hilla, but Hilla no longer loved her.
Sam is standing at Hilla's grave when Al joins him. Sam says he doesn't think he did Hilla any good, but Al tells him that he did. Sam asks why he's still there, and Al says that maybe Sam needs to say goodbye to Hilla. Sam reads a passage from Hilla's book of Mark Twain that Twain wrote after his daughter died. He kneels down and places a bouquet of flowers on Hilla's grave, then leaps.
Sam remembers that he can speak German.
In issue 9 ( Up Against a Stonewall ) of the 13 issue comic series of Quantum Leap, Sam leaps and takes the place of Stephanie Heywood after she is released from prison.