Magnum, P.I.

Show Type: Detective Drama

First Telecast: December 11, 1980

Last Telecast: September 12, 1988


Thomas Sullivan Magnum..... Tom Selleck

Jonathan Quayle Higgins - III..... John Hillerman

Theodore "T.C." Calvin..... Roger E. Mosley

Orville "Rick" Wright..... Larry Manetti

Buck Greene..... Lance LeGault

Robin Masters (Voice Only) (1981-1985)..... Orson Welles

Mac Reynolds (1981-1982, 1984-1985, 1987-1988)..... Jeff MacKay

Lieutenant Tanaka (1982-1988)..... Kwan Hi Lim

Lieutenant Maggie Poole (1982-1984, 1986-1988)..... Jean Bruce Scott

Agatha Chumley (1982-1988)..... Gillian Dobb

Assistant D.A. Carol Baldwin (1983-1988)..... Kathleen Lloyd

Francis "Ice Pick" Hofstetler (1983-1988)..... Elisha Cook, Jr.


This series resembled the smash hit for CBS, Hawaii Five-O. It had the same beautiful backdrop - Hawaii, it was about the same time period, had a lot of action and let CBS continue to use the expensive production facilities it had constructed in the 1970's for Hawaii Five-O. Characters on Magnum P.I. even referred to Steve McGarrett and his team on occasion.

Thomas Magnum was a private investigator. In return for helping with the security for guarding the estate of wealthy writer Robin Masters - who was never seen but heard - he was provided with free living quarters at the sprawling beachfront mansion on Oahu's north shore. Masters was always away, leaving his uptight British butler, Higgins, to run the estate. Magnum's laid-back lifestyle was nothing like the military discipline of Higgins. They were constantly at each other's throats - although, deep-down, they really did care greatly for each other.

When Magnum was not driving around the island in Master's $50,000 Ferrari or romancing a pretty lady, he was a traditional detective. He was a former Vietnam naval intelligence vet. When he was in need of assistance, he used the services of two of his war-time buddies. T.C. was the owner and pilot of Island Hoppers, a helicopter charter service. Rick (who hated his real name Orville), ran a Honolulu nightclub patterned after the club in the movie Casablanca run by Humphrey Bogart - hence, the name Rick. Early in the series, he sold the club and became the managing partner, with Robin Masters, of the exclusive King Kamehameha Beach Club. Both T.C. and Rick did the legwork for Magnum, with Rick's underworld connections, including his relationship with the semi-legal businessman Ice Pick.

Other cast members included: Asst. D.A. Carol Baldwin, a friend of Magnum's, who talked him into taking cases that never seemed to pay any fees and Agatha, Higgin's English friend. The most unusual semi-regular cast member was Mac Reynolds, Tom's navy buddy. Early on in the series, Mac was a Lieutenant stationed at a local navy installation. He provided Tom with information until he was killed in a 1982 episode. Two years later, a con man who was the spitting image of Mac turned up impersonating the dead officer to get Magnum into trouble. Colonel Buck Greene also showed up here-and-there to provide extra challenges for Magnum. Zeus and Apollo were the two Doberman Pinschers who helped Higgins provide security for the palatial estate - often taking bites out of Magnum!

Anticipating that the series was going to be cancelled in the sping of 1987, the producers filmed a dramatic and surrealistic two-part finale, using almost all of the occasional characters, in which Magnum was shot and killed and went to heaven. When the series was unexpectedly renewed for a last season, it was explained that he had not died but had instead dreamed of going to heaven in his confusion. The series' real finale aired as a movie in May 1988 and was one of the season's highest rated programs - but it still left a lot of loose ends. Magnum was reunited with his long-lost young daughter, quit the private eye business and rejoined the navy, while Rick was married (or was he?) and Higgins was finally revealed to be Robin Masters (or was he?).

[Back to SHOW TITLES - M] [Back to THE MAIN PAGE]