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"Thou Shalt Not..."
Quantum Leap
Episode No.   Season
16 2x07 Two
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date November 15, 1989
IMDB: IMDb logo.png Thou Shalt Not...
Written by: Tammy Ader
Directed by: Randy Roberts
Leap Information
Leap Date: February 2, 1974
Leapee: David Basch
Chronological Information
Preceded by: "Good Morning, Peoria"
Followed by: "Jimmy"

Thou Shalt Not... is the seventh episode of Season 2 of the Quantum Leap TV series, also the 16th overall series episode. Written by Tammy Ader, the episode, which was directed by Randy Roberts, originally aired on NBC-TV on November 16, 1989.


As a Rabbi, Sam must prevent a Jewish family from falling apart when the wife of his brother contemplates having an affair. Her husband is a bitter man due to the loss of their son and has stopped communicating with their daughter as well. Sam has to bring them all together and save the family.


Sam has leapt in the middle of a Jewish Bat Mitzvah. This would be fine, except he is in the guise of David Basch (leapee played by John J. Reiner), the rabbi conducting the ceremony! Luckily, the main ceremony is finishing, David's niece Karen Basch (played by Lindsay Fisher) is pronounced an adult, and the service moves to the reception. Al arrives in time to help Sam get through his duties of breaking the bread and dancing the Hora – Al's third wife, Ruth, was Jewish.

All is not well at the reception though, David's brother Joe Basch (James Sutorius) is not at all happy and refuses to dance with his wife Irene (Terri Hanauer), so she dances with a friend, Bert Glasserman (Russ Tamblyn). Many of the female guests discuss their disbelief at Bert still being single and not having moved on from the death of his wife two years ago, though it appears some of these women know more than they are letting on. One of the female guests asks to speak to Sam the next day. Al tells Sam that he has leapt here because of Irene – she has a one-night stand which gets found out and destroys the family, something Karen never gets over.

Back at home, Karen is opening her presents, and Joe makes the excuse of needing to fill up his car (as there is a fuel shortage) and brushes her off when she wants to join him. Joe asks Sam to go with him though, as he wants to talk. He reminisces about his childhood with his father and brother, watching basketball games with his son, and laments having thoughts of having an affair. Al suggests to Sam that both Joe and Irene should each have a one-night stand to get it out of their systems and maybe Sam should just try to prevent each of them from finding out about the other. Sam immediately refuses this idea, as fidelity is the foundation of a marriage. Irene catches Sam talking to himself, but he covers by saying he is rehearsing for his next sermon.

Later, after losing a game of Scrabble with Karen, Sam picks up a nearby guitar to play, but this causes Karen distress, as it is “Danny’s” guitar. Sam brings this up at dinner, and finds out that Joe's and Irene's son, Danny, had recently died. Irene wants to discuss setting his headstone, but Joe doesn't want to talk about it. Sam realizes that their grief is tearing the family apart. Sam asks to spend the night, and while Irene is making his bed (in Danny's room, as it's the only spare bed) she reminisces about her son and breaks down. She blames herself for his death as it is she who allowed Danny to go on his backpacking trip which resulted in his death – the plane crashed on the way. Sam comforts her, then comes to the conclusion that he (or rather, David) is her lover.

Sam and Al discuss this, and realize that Sam can't leap until he can prevent the one night stand from ever happening once David leaps back. The next day at Temple, Irene, Sam and Karen are setting up for a bake sale. Irene's friend Bert approaches Irene, reminiscing about his late wife, and states that since her passing he has focused on his writing – a book he claims is about dealing with the loss of a loved one. He asks Irene if she would like to contribute, as she might find talking about her grief therapeutic. Meanwhile, Sam is approached by the woman who the night before had asked to talk with him. In private, she confesses that she had an affair with Bert Glasserman, who had approached her in a moment of weakness after the death of her father, saying “all the right things”.

While packing up, Sam talks to Irene, who thanks him for supporting the family through their difficult times, and he suggests that Irene and Joe spend the weekend at their beach house to clear their heads, but Joe refuses. When Irene says that Joe should listen to David as he knows what they need, Joe says “maybe you should have married David then”. Irene goes to the beach house alone, and Karen confides in Sam that she wishes her mother had married David too, as she feels that her father only loved Danny, and wishes that she had been the one to die instead.

Sam comforts her and then asks for directions to the beach house, having realized that it is actually Bert who Irene will have the one night stand with. Al tells Sam that Bert Glasserman is a real slime ball, he has never even been married and uses the story of having a recently passed wife to seduce grieving women and use them as research for his book “Women in Pain”, which would become a best seller in the 1970s. Irene is chapter six.

Sam's instincts were right, Bert had followed Irene to the beach house, and was making his moves. Sam gets to the beach house just as Bert and Irene had started kissing. He reveals the truth about Bert and his book, so Irene slaps him in the face several times and kicks him out. She then breaks down in Sam's arms, but at this moment Joe arrives and comes to the same wrong conclusion that Sam had reached earlier, that David and Irene were having an affair. Joe punches Sam a few times, but Sam is able to convince Joe that it wasn't true. Joe breaks down and finally starts talking about his grief, so Irene comforts him and they reconcile.

Al reveals that Bert's book never gets published, because Irene blows the whistle about his research techniques, but that Irene and Joe write a book and it helps many parents to deal with the loss of a child. Al thinks Sam will now leap, but Sam has one more thing to do. At the placing of Danny's headstone, he convinces Joe to be more affectionate towards his daughter Karen, stating that he has already lost a son, he shouldn't lose a daughter too. Joe tells Karen how much he loves her, and after a final hug from the newly-repaired family, Sam leaps.

Kiss with history[]

Sam performs the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man, who is revealed to be Dr. Henry Heimlich.


Sam plays Scrabble with Karen; he spells "sushi" and she calls him out, saying that is not a word.


  • The Locomotion
  • Hava Negila
  • Killing Me Softly With His Song



Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast with Sam & Dennis - Thou Shalt Not.. - February 2, 1974.