Dreams was the 7th episode of Season 4 of the Quantum Leap TV series, also the 61st overall series episode. Directed by Anita W. Addison and written by Deborah Pratt, the episode originally aired on NBC-TV on November 11, 1991.
Sam leaps into the body of a police detective that is working on a gruesome murder and must deal with flashbacks from the mind of his leapee.
February 28, 1979 - Sam leaps into a cop Jack Stone just as he discovers the body of a violently murdered woman (Janice) and her two traumatized children (Lea and P.J.) hiding in the next room. The husband of the woman, Peter Decaro, is crazed and asking to speak to his wife before he shoots himself with the gun he has pointed at his head. Sam tries to talk him down and ultimately must tackle him to save his life. The sound of the shot brings several more officers running and Peter is arrested.
Al shows up and tries to talk to Sam, mentioning something about how Sam was hard to find because his brain was scrambled. Sam isn’t really listening, though. He tries but cannot bring himself to go back into the room with the body. He’s having flashbacks to a different body that he’s never seen before and it’s leaving him shaken. Al tells him that he was sent to save Peter who goes on to die in the electric chair for Jack’s murder in two days and then Sam has nightmares of being eviscerated. He speculates that some unconscious trauma that Jack’s mind couldn’t handle is still affecting him and asks Al to do a thorough background check on Jack. Sam goes back to the bathroom he found the body in but still can’t bring himself to open the door. Al watches, concerned.
Sam goes over the case with his partner, Pamela Roselli, and learns that Peter met with his therapist, Dr. Mason Crane, and then cleared the rest of his schedule before apparently murdering his wife. Janice’s heart was also evidently removed by her killer. Roselli reminds Sam that they have dinner plans and Sam, with heavy urging from Al, reluctantly agrees to keep them. Sam stops by the hospital and tries to ask P.J. about who he saw since the sister was unable to do something but P.J. is practically catatonic and gives them nothing. Sam promises to come back later.
Wondering if the murder was premeditated and if the doctor had known, Sam goes to meet with Crane at his office and catches them as he leaves the building (mistakenly identifying himself as ‘Sam’ at first). He claims that he wants to make an appointment because of the strange dreams keeping him awake and that Peter recommended him. Crane claims to be able to see through lies but agrees to make an appointment the next day anyway. Crane has his driver circle back around the building and so watches Sam break in.
Sam and Al find nothing useful in the office until finally in the rolodex, they discover that Crane was treating both husband and wife. This new development in the case is all that Sam wants to talk about over dinner even though Roselli had clearly wanted a date and, at minimum, to put work aside. Sam is unable to stop fixating on the case, however, and he won’t remove himself from the case like Roselli suggested when she saw how overly invested he was in the outcome. Sam leaves prematurely and the evening was ruined.
The very next day, Crane reminds Sam that they had met when Sam was dazedly leaving the crime scene and that’s how he knows that Sam is an officer investigating the crime. He agrees to trade answer for answer, admitting that Peter loved his wife but that she was planning on divorcing him. He speculates that since most bits of love such as kisses cannot be made tangible and the heart can be possessed, Peter could not take the rejection and quite literally claimed his wife’s heart. Crane puts Sam under hypnosis where he sees bright lights in a hallway, a door he can’t open and words he can’t read. He knows that SHE is behind there but not who that is. Sam gets out of there when Al arrives telling him that they need to talk.
According to Al, the reason Peter kills him is that Jack (who slept with Janice years before but lost contact with her until the day of the murder when she’d called him) was the killer and her husband was returning the favor. Jack doesn’t remember doing it but given the Swiss-cheese effect, Al doesn’t feel that is conclusive proof. Sam decides to go visit P.J. again and try to get some answers this time. Al thinks this is a very bad idea as it will traumatize P.J. even more if Jack were the killer. Sam reasons that if Jack were the killer then he never would have gotten P.J. out of the bathtub they were hiding in when Sam first found them.
Sam makes an impassioned plea for P.J. to help him, calling him his last hope but P.J. barely looks at him. Eventually, he gives him a picture of two gloves. He calls Crane and takes him to the Decaro house for stage two of the therapy. Standing in front of that bathroom door, Crane helps Sam recover Jack’s memory of being at a hospital after his mother died when he was nine and accidentally walking in on his mother’s autopsy. This had been similar enough to Janice’s murder that he started having flashbacks.
Crane is almost giddy this entire scene but when Sam, still hypnotized and in his ‘I’m nine’ voice, accuses Crane of murdering Janice when she ended things with him, Crane pulls out a knife. Al keeps trying to snap Sam out of it while Crane takes Sam’s gun and orders him to shoot himself with it, the same way he had done with Peter on the night Janice died. Sam nearly does but in the end turns the gun around and refuses. He is forced to shoot Crane and, as he collapses against the bathroom wall, he leaps.