- Dr. Mark Sloan (played by Dick Van Dyke), Chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital, and protagonist of the series. Son of a cop and father of another, in whose cases he often gets involved. He is a medical consultant to the LAPD. Dick Van Dyke was considered for the lead role after the positive reviews he received from his dramatic role in the 1990 movie Dick Tracy (although the character he played in the movie was villainous and very different from the role of Mark Sloan). In the pilot the character had interests in tap dance and clarinet playing; however, these were considered distracting and were toned down and eventually removed from the character as the series developed.
- Lieutenant Detective Steve Sloan (played by Barry Van Dyke), a police detective (later lieutenant) in the Robbery/Homicide Division of the LAPD and Dr. Mark Sloan's son. After an earthquake destroyed his apartment, he lived in a separate apartment in his father's beach house in Malibu. Steve often uses his "patented" dive to apprehend criminals.
- Dr. Amanda Bentley (played by Ally Walker in Jake and the Fatman episode 4.19 It Never Entered My Mind and Cynthia Gibb in the TV Movies set before the series), later Bentley-Livingston (played there by Victoria Rowell), resident Pathologist at Community General Hospital and assistant County Medical Examiner, who is also Dr. Mark Sloan's straightwoman and medical partner, involving in each of Mark's & Steve's cases, after the accident. As a favorable character of the show, she also dated Jack and was later Jesse's best friend. During the series, she married a military man, and had a son named C.J. Depending on the episode, she divorced him or he was killed in a plane crash. Later in the series, she adopted another boy, Deon.
- Dr. Jack Stewart (played by Stephen Caffrey in the TV movies, Scott Baio in the series from 1993–1995, seasons 1–2), a doctor at Community General Hospital and Steve's best friend, whom he often helped in his cases. He left to open his own practice in Colorado.
- Dr. Jesse Travis (played by Charlie Schlatter, 1995–2001, seasons 3–8), a resident and handsome student at Community General Hospital who Mark took under his wing and who became best friends with Amanda. Another favorable/breakout character of the series, he often got involved in Mark and Steve's cases, with good intentions but not always good results. During the series, he himself became the prime suspect of the stuntwoman's killing, hence, he badgered Mark to call his old friend Ben Matlock (played by Dick's real-life best friend Andy Griffith) for help.
- Norman Briggs (played by Michael Tucci, 1993–1997, seasons 1–4), administrator at Community General Hospital and a close friend of Dr. Mark Sloan, even though he is often exasperated by him.
- Delores Mitchell (played by Delores Hall, 1993–1995, seasons 1–2), Dr. Sloan's lively secretary.
Read more about this topic: Diagnosis: Murder
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“However, our fates at least are social. Our courses do not diverge; but as the web of destiny is woven it is fulled, and we are cast more and more into the centre. Men naturally, though feebly, seek this alliance, and their actions faintly foretell it.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Who first seducd them to that fowl revolt?
Th infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceivd
The Mother of Mankinde, what time his Pride
Had cast him out from Heavn, with all his Host
Of Rebel Angels,”
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“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand.”
—E.M. (Edward Morgan)