Magnum, P.I.

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Magnum, P.I.
Magnum PI-Logo.jpg
Premiere December 11, 1980
Finale May 1, 1988
Creator Donald P. Bellisario and
Glen A. Larson
Network CBS
Style 60-minute crime drama
Company Belisarius Productions,
Glen A. Larson Productions,
Universal Television
Seasons 8
Episodes 162
Origin USA

Magnum, P.I. is a crime drama that aired on CBS.

Private Investigator Thomas Sullivan Magnum resides in the guest house of a posh, 200-acre (0.81 km2) beachfront estate, known as Robin's Nest, in Hawaii, at the invitation of its owner, Robin Masters, the celebrated-but-never-seen author of several dozen lurid novels. Ostensibly this is quid pro quo for Magnum's services based upon Magnum's expertise in security; the pilot and several early episodes suggest Magnum also did Masters a favor of some kind, possibly when Masters hired him for a case. The voice of Robin Masters, heard only a few times per season, was provided by Orson Welles (one last "appearance" was provided by a different actor, Reid Crandell).

With Magnum living a luxurious life on the Estate and operating as a P.I. on cases that suit him, the only thorn in the side of this near-perfect lifestyle on the Estate, is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III (played by Texas-born veteran actor John Hillerman), an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, a (on the surface) stern, "by-the-book" ex-soldier whose strict ways usually conflict with Magnum's much more easy-going methods. He patrols Robin's Nest with his two highly trained "lads", Doberman Pinschers, Zeus and Apollo. Often as a humorous aside during various episodes of the series, Magnum must bargain with Higgins for use of estate amenities other than the guest house and the Ferrari 308 GTS (e.g., tennis courts, wine cellar, expensive cameras). The relationship between Magnum and Higgins was initially that almost of a "friendly nemesis", but as the series progressed over the seasons, an unspoken respect and fondness of sorts grew between the pair, and as such, many episodes dedicated more screen time to this "odd couple" pairing after the relationship proved popular with fans.

Aside from Higgins, Magnum's two other main cohorts on the islands are Theodore "T.C." Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), who runs local helicopter charter service Island Hoppers - and so often finds himself persuaded by Magnum to fly him during various cases; and Rick Wright (Larry Manetti) (who refuses to use his birth name, Orville), who owns a local bar. In the Pilot, this was "Rick's Place" in town, inspired by Casablanca, with Rick appearing in suitable 1930s attire. However, after completion of the Pilot, executives on the series felt that audiences would be unable to fully connect with this element, and instead Rick moved to running the plush beachside King Kamehameha Club - which has exclusive membership and Higgins on the board of directors, and yet Magnum often strolls around, using the facilities and running up an ever unpaid tab, further fueling the Magnum / Higgins feud. T.C. and Rick are both former Marines from VMO-2 with whom Magnum served in the Vietnam War.[2] The series was one of the first to deal with Vietnam veterans as "human beings" and not as shell-shocked killers, and was praised by many ex-servicemen groups for doing so. Magnum often dupes, tricks or bribes T.C. and Rick into aiding him in various ways on the cases he works on, much to their frustration, though the deep friendship between the group, including Higgins, proved to be one of the key elements of the series over its eight-season run.

Magnum lives a dream lifestyle: he comes and goes as he pleases, works only when he wants to, has the almost unlimited use of a Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole as well as many other of Robin Masters’ luxuries. He keeps a mini-fridge with a seemingly endless supply of beer ("Old Dusseldorf in a long neck"), wears his father's treasured Rolex GMT Master wristwatch, is surrounded by countless beautiful women (who are often victims of crime, his clients or connected in various other ways to the cases he solves). Other characteristics specific to Magnum are his thick mustache, a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, a rubber chicken, and a variety of colorful Aloha shirts.

Nearly every episode is narrated, in voice-over, by Magnum at various points; and Magnum and Higgins often break the fourth wall by locking eyes with or, occasionally, directly addressing the audience; other characters also do this, though less frequently.

At the end of the seventh season, Magnum was to be killed off, which was intended to end the series. The final episode of the season, "Limbo", after seeing Magnum wander around as a ghost for nearly the entire run-time, closes with him appearing to walk off into heaven. However, following outcry from fans, who demanded a more satisfactory conclusion, an eighth, final season was produced, to bring Magnum "back to life", and to round the series off. A number of other episodes also make reference to supernatural occurrences and the seeming existence of ghosts.

Contents

Cast

Actor Character Duration
Main Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Tom Selleck Thomas Magnum IV * * * * * * * *
John Hillerman Jonathan Higgins III * * * * * * * *
Roger E. Mosley Theodore "T.C." Calvin * * * * * * * *
Larry Manetti Richard "Rick" Wright * * * * * * * *
Supporting/Recurring Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Jeff MacKay Lt. Mac McReynolds * * * * * *
Kwan Hi Lim Lt. Yoshi Tanaka * * * * * * *
Glenn Cannon Doc Ibold * * * * * *
Lance LeGault Col. Buck Greene * * * * *
Gillian Dobb Agatha Chumley * * * * * *
Jean Bruce Scott Lt. Com. Maggie Poole * * * *
Elisha Cook, Jr. Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler * * * * *
Kathleen Lloyd ADA Carol Baldwin * * * * *

Seasons

Season  Premiere Finale #
CBS
Season One December 11, 1980 April 16, 1981 18
Season Two October 8, 1981 April 1, 1982 22
Season Three September 30, 1982 April 28, 1983 23
Season Four September 29, 1983 May 3, 1984 21
Season Five September 27, 1984 April 4, 1985 22
Season Six September 26, 1985 April 10, 1986 21
Season Seven October 1, 1986 April 15, 1987 22
Season Eight October 7, 1987 May 1, 1988 13

In-Depth

DVD Releases

Title Release Discs
Season Sets  (Region 1)
The Complete First Season September 7, 2004 purchase 4
The Complete Second Season April 12, 2005 purchase 3
The Complete Third Season January 31, 2006 purchase 3
The Complete Fourth Season April 4, 2006 purchase 3
The Complete Fifth Season October 10, 2006 purchase 5
The Complete Sixth Season February 27, 2007 purchase 5
The Complete Seventh Season October 30, 2007 purchase 5
The Complete Eighth Season March 4, 2008 purchase 5

External Links