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Title card (seasons 3-8)
|Created by||Donald P. Bellisario
Glen A. Larson
|Written by||Donald P. Bellisario
Glen A. Larson
|Directed by||Ray Austin
Roger E. Mosley
|Narrated by||Tom Selleck|
|Theme music composer||Ian Freebairn-Smith (pilot, early season 1)
|Composer(s)||Ian Freebairn-Smith (pilot, early season 1)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||162 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Donald P. Bellisario
Glen A. Larson
Waimanalo Beach, Hawaii
|Running time||48 min. (excluding commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Belisarius Productions
Glen A. Larson Productions
|Distributor||Universal Television (original)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (current)
|Picture format||Original Broadcast:
4:3 480i (SDTV)
4:3 1080i (HDTV)
|Original release||December 11, 1980– May 8, 1988|
|Related shows||Simon & Simon
Murder, She Wrote
Magnum, P.I. is an American crime drama television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 during its first-run broadcast on the American television network CBS. According to the Nielsen ratings, Magnum, P.I. consistently ranked in the top twenty U.S. television programs during the first five years that the series was originally broadcast in the United States.
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Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, a private investigator, played by Tom Selleck, resides in the guest house of a posh, 200-acre (81 ha) 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 John Hillerman, an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, a (on the surface) stern, "by-the-book" caretaker of Robin's Nest, 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 named 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 car, a Ferrari 308 GTS, (e.g., tennis courts, wine cellar, expensive cameras).
The relationship between Magnum and Higgins was initially cool, but as the series progressed, an unspoken respect and fondness of sorts grew between the pair. Many episodes dedicated more screen time to this "odd couple" pairing after the relationship proved popular with fans. A recurrent theme throughout the last two seasons, starting in the episode "Paper War", involves Magnum's sneaking suspicion that Higgins is actually Robin Masters since he opens Robin's mail, calls Robin's Ferrari "his car", etc. This suspicion is never proved or disproved, although in at least one episode - "Déjà-Vu" S06E02 - Higgins is shown alone in a room, picking up the ringing phone and talking to Robin Masters, indicating they are two different persons.
Aside from Higgins, Magnum's two other main companions on the islands are Theodore "T.C." Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), who runs a local helicopter charter service called Island Hoppers, and so often finds himself persuaded by Magnum to fly him during various cases, and Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright (Larry Manetti), who refuses to use his birth name Orville and who owns a local bar. In the pilot episode, this was "Rick's Place" in town, inspired by Casablanca, with Rick appearing in suitable 1930s attire. However, after completing 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, who was a former Navy SEAL, served in the Vietnam War.[note 1] 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 on which he works, 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, and many other luxuries of the estate. Magnum 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.
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 off the series.
The show also recognized the existence of the fictional elite state police unit that appeared in the series Hawaii Five-O. In the pilot episode, Magnum references the unit's chief McGarrett by name. This was a tribute to the long-running show starring Jack Lord, that ran on CBS from the fall of 1968 through to the summer of 1980, to be replaced, in essence, in the fall of 1980 by Magnum, P.I. The successor series to Hawaii Five-O paid tribute to Magnum, P.I. in the 2013 episode "Hoa Pili," when the cast flew over the island in a helicopter to the sound of the Magnum, P.I. theme.
- Tom Selleck as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV
- Roger E. Mosley as Theodore Calvin, a.k.a. "T.C."
- Larry Manetti as Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright:[note 2]
- John Hillerman as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III
- Lt. Yoshi Tanaka — A homicide-division police lieutenant with the Honolulu police department (played by Kwan Hi Lim), with a slight Lieutenant Columbo-like enigmatic quality, characterized by his casual dress and ironic sense of humor. He is also, like Magnum, a Detroit Tigers fan and is murdered early in the episode Tiger's Fan. He appeared in Seasons 2–8.
- Agatha Chumley — Higgins' quintessentially English lady friend (played by Gillian Dobb), who seems to have a crush on Higgins. First appearance in the episode "Black on White." She appeared in Seasons 3–8.
- Colonel "Buck" Greene —a Marine Corps intelligence officer (played by Lance LeGault), often Magnum's nemesis. Seasons 2–8 LeGault also played John W. Newton, aka "Delta One" in Episode 1.9 "Missing in Action."
- Carol Baldwin —an assistant district attorney (played in all but the first appearance by Kathleen Lloyd). She appeared in Seasons 3–8 in this role; before playing Carol Baldwin, Lloyd guest starred in the episode "Almost Home" as Bridget Archer.
- Lieutenant "Mac" MacReynolds — a doughnut-munching Navy Intelligence Agency (NIA) lieutenant (played by Jeff MacKay), killed by a car bomb planted by "Ivan", a Russian KGB officer. Mac returns as a ghost for three episodes ("Mac's Back", "Limbo" and "Infinity and Jelly Doughnuts") and later as a look-alike character (see below). In the pilot, MacKay portrayed "Ski", a guard at the entrance gate of Pearl Harbor. He appeared in Seasons 1–3 and 7–8.
- Jim Bonnick — a con man and an ex-navy pilot who was released on a medical discharge, (played by Jeff MacKay). He was also MacReynolds' look-alike. In at least one episode ("Mac's Back"), MacKay appeared in both roles. He appeared in Seasons 5–8.
- Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler — an American loan shark and major underworld figure from Chicago and a quasi-father figure to Rick Wright (played by veteran actor Elisha Cook, Jr.).
- Dr. Ibold, M.D. "Doc Ibold" — minor character (played by Glenn Cannon) who appeared in many episodes when scripts called for a physician. First referred to as "Script Writer #1", he was known for prescribing opiates for any and all ailments. He appeared in Seasons 2–8. Cannon also played Dr. Bernard Kessler in Episode 1.7, "Never Again...Never Again".
- Michelle Hue — the love of Magnum's life (played by Marta DuBois); she and Magnum married in Vietnam but the devoutly Catholic Michelle had the marriage annulled after her first husband, a North Vietnamese general who was presumed dead, resurfaced. Magnum had believed that Michelle was killed during the 1975 evacuation of Saigon.
She appeared in Seasons 2–8.
- Lieutenant. (later Lt. Commander) Maggie Poole — the successor of the deceased MacReynolds (played by Jean Bruce Scott). She dislikes her superior Col. Greene. She appeared in Seasons 3–8.
- Luther H. Gillis — a mock-film noir St. Louis private eye with a Boston accent (played by Eugene Roche), whose deception, dissembling, and disturbing capacity for violence are almost always underestimated or overlooked by Magnum; Gillis also provided the narration in the five episodes in which he appeared. He appeared in Seasons 4–8.
- Lt. Nolan Page — a hard-nosed, no-nonsense Honolulu Police Department lieutenant with a New York accent (played by Joe Santos) who assists Magnum on several cases.
- Moki — the bartender of the King Kamehameha Club in Season 1; later replaced by Keoki. He appeared in Seasons 1–2.
- Keoki — the bartender/server of the King Kamehameha Club starting in Season 2; arrested in season 4 by Lt. Tanaka for robbing the club in the episode "I Witness". He appeared in Seasons 2–4.
The following notable actors (including some future stars) appeared on the show: Sharon Stone, Frank Sinatra, Lew Ayres, Dennis Weaver, Elisha Cook Jr., Carol Burnett, Scatman Crothers, Tyne Daly, Ted Danson, Norman Fell, James Doohan, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick Macnee, Paul Burke, Pat Hingle, Robert Loggia, Alan Hale, Jr., José Ferrer, June Lockhart, Fritz Weaver, Dana Wynter, John Ireland, Vic Morrow, Darren McGavin, Annie Potts, Vera Miles, Barry Nelson, Nehemiah Persoff, Noah Beery, Jr., Barbara Rush, John Saxon, Beverly Garland, Jill St. John, Sylvia Sidney, William Windom, Samantha Eggar, Morgan Fairchild, Dana Delany, Kathleen Nolan, Marcia Wallace, Meredith MacRae, Mercedes McCambridge, Leslie Uggams, Cameron Mitchell, Ian McShane, Romy Schneider, Angela Lansbury (as Jessica Fletcher in a Murder, She Wrote tie-in, along with Jessica Walter and Dorothy Loudon), and Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker (as Rick and A.J. Simon in a Simon & Simon tie-in).
Robin's Nest is the fictional beach front estate on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, which serves as the residence of the main characters. In the series, it is portrayed as being owned by renowned novelist Robin Masters, who entrusts Jonathan Higgins as the estate's caretaker and Thomas Magnum as its security expert. Higgins resides in the estate's main house while Magnum occupies the guest house. In reality, located in Waimānalo, the 3 acres (1.2 ha) beach front property is located on the east shore of Oahu at 41-505 Kalanianaole Highway (Route 72) near Waimanalo Beach ( ). Called "Pahonu" ("turtle enclosure" in Hawaiian), it is also known locally as "The Anderson Estate". The property was originally used for hundreds of years for raising green turtles for the Hawaiian royal family, and includes a 500 by 50 foot stone wall that encircles the former turtle raising pond, which since 1978 has been on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii. Developed as a residential estate in the early 1930s, the estate comprises a 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) main house, a boathouse (which in the series appears as the guest house that Magnum occupies), a gatehouse, a private tennis court, a beach front, and the registered tidal pool.
Owned for a long time by Cox Communications heiress Barbara Cox Anthony, after her death it passed to her stepdaughter, local politician Eve Glover Anderson. Placed on the market with Sotheby's International Realty for $15.750M in January 2014, it was sold for $8.7M in March 2015 to Seth Madorsky, a Chicago lawyer who has close ties to President Barack Obama, and then transferred to an LLC registered in Colorado.
The original theme music for the opening credits of the pilot episode was a mid-tempo jazzy piece by Ian Freebairn-Smith. This music was also used for the next nine regular episodes.
Beginning in Episode 12, it was replaced by a more uptempo theme typical of 1980s action series by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter with guitar by Larry Carlton. This theme had been used during the show and over the closing credits since Episode 8. A longer version of this second theme ("Theme from Magnum P.I.", clocking in at 3:25) credited to Post was released as a 7" single by Elektra Records in 1982 and charted on the Billboard Hot 100 that same year, peaking at No. 25 on 8 May 1982. This version also appeared on Post's 1982 album Television Theme Songs.
Robin Masters' cars
- ROBIN 1
- ROBIN 2
- ROBIN 3
- ROBIN ?
- Jaguar E-Type 1969
- Island Hoppers (TC's) van - Volkswagen Caravelle T3 Type 25
- Rick's convertible - Mercedes-Benz R107. (Col. Buck Green referred to it as a 450SL when Rick went missing), Internet Movie Car Database, and at least one Corvette in an early episode while Thomas and Rick drove side-by-side on a two-lane byway. Rick drove the Mercedes from the middle of Season 2 through the end of the series.
- Rick's Datsun 280ZX - Nissan S130. Rick drove this car when the series started until middle of season 2, when he got the Mercedes
- Island Hoppers (TC's) helicopter - Hughes 500D (various models)
- Ken Enderlin Charters - N9267F is a Hughes Model 369HS built in 1975 - Construction Number (C/N): 1150778S
(in the episodes "Dream a Little Dream" and "Missing Melody")
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Selleck's contract commitment to the Magnum, P.I. series famously cost him the role of Indiana Jones in the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which went to Harrison Ford. Selleck was unable to take the part of Indy as Magnum was due to start filming in March 1980. However, because of the 1980 AFTRA/Screen Actors Guild strike, the start of production on Magnum was delayed until December 1980, which would have allowed Selleck to play Indy. In the show's final season, the producers gave a nod to his sacrifice with the episode "Legend of the Lost Art", which parodied the film.
- "Ki'is Don't Lie" — Magnum works with the Simon brothers to recover a stolen Hawaiian artifact that's supposedly cursed. The plot concludes on Simon & Simon in the episode "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend".
- "Novel Connection" — Jessica Fletcher comes to Hawaii when an attempt is made on Robin's guests. The plot concludes on Murder, She Wrote in the episode "Magnum on Ice". For re-run and overseas purposes, the first half of these crossovers (the Magnum episode) also had alternate endings filmed, which wrapped the story up in a single episode and so allowed repeat showings to be shown as "stand alone" stories instead of being two-part crossovers.
Ratings and broadcast history
|Originally aired||Nielsen Ratings|
|Season Premiere||Season Finale||Viewers
|1 (1980–81)||18||Thursday at 9:00-10:00 pm||December 11, 1980||April 16, 1981||16.77||#14|
|2 (1981–82)||22||Thursday at 8:00-9:00 pm||October 8, 1981||April 1, 1982||17.03||#17|
|3 (1982–83)||23||September 30, 1982||April 28, 1983||18.80||#4|
|4 (1983–84)||21||September 29, 1983||May 3, 1984||18.77||#6|
|5 (1984–85)||22||September 27, 1984||April 4, 1985||16.66||#15|
|6 (1985–86)||21||September 26, 1985||April 10, 1986||#46|
|7 (1986–87)||22||Wednesday at 9:00-10:00 pm||October 1, 1986||April 15, 1987||#34|
|8 (1987–88)||13||October 7, 1987||May 1, 1988||#40|
- United States (first run): CBS
- Brazil : Rede Globo (as "Magnum")
- Venezuela : Radio Caracas Televisión
Selleck won an Emmy in 1984 for his portrayal of the title character. Three years later, co-star John Hillerman also won an Emmy. In 1981, series creators and writers Glen A. Larson and Donald P. Bellisario received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Episode in a TV Series.[note 3]
|This article appears to contradict the articles Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama. (August 2014)|
Golden Globe Awards
Primetime Emmy Awards
|1982||American Cinema Editors||Best Edited Episode for a Television Series||Michael Berman & Ed Guidotti||"Memories are Forever"||Won|
|1981||Edgar Allan Poe Awards||Best Television Episode||Donald P. Bellisario & Glen A. Larson||"China Doll"||Won|
|1981||People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Dramatic Program||Nominated|
|1983||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actress, Guest in a Television Series||Dana Hill||Won|
|Best Young Actress, Guest in a Television Series||Kim Richards||Nominated|
|Best Young Actor, Guest in a Television Series||Chad Sheets||Nominated|
|1984||Best Young Actor - Guest in a Television Series||R.J. Williams||Nominated|
|2003||TV Land Awards||Hippest Fashion Plate - Male||Tom Selleck||Nominated|
|2005||Favorite Private Eye||Tom Selleck||Nominated|
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all eight seasons of Magnum, P.I. on DVD in Region 1, 2 and 4.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2*||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season*||18||September 7, 2004[note 4][note 5]||September 13, 2004||December 1, 2004|
|The Complete Second Season||22||April 12, 2005||July 4, 2005||September 19, 2005|
|The Complete Third Season*||23||January 31, 2006||January 30, 2006||July 12, 2006|
|The Complete Fourth Season||21||April 4, 2006||June 26, 2006||September 20, 2006|
|The Complete Fifth Season||22||October 10, 2006||February 12, 2007||March 21, 2007|
|The Complete Sixth Season||21||February 27, 2007||May 7, 2007||July 4, 2007|
|The Complete Seventh Season**||22||October 30, 2007||March 31, 2008||June 4, 2008|
|The Complete Eighth Season***||13||March 4, 2008||May 19, 2008||September 3, 2008|
|Seasons One, Two****, Three & Four||84||N/A||November 20, 2006||N/A|
|The Complete Series||162||October 1, 2013||March 7, 2016||TBD|
- Region 2 release dates refer to the United Kingdom market only.
* Includes the crossover Season 2 episode from Simon & Simon titled "Emerlads Are Not a Girl's Best Friend".
** Includes the crossover Season 3 episode from Murder, She Wrote titled "Magnum On Ice".
*** Includes the bonus Season 5 episode from The Rockford Files titled "White on White and Nearly Perfect" featuring Tom Selleck.
****Includes bonus episodes from The A-Team, Season 2 titled "Diamonds 'n' Dust" and Knight Rider, Season 2 titled "Brother's Keeper".
- The three buddies wear a gold Team Ring, which bears a Croix de Lorraine on a black field, as a bond of wartime camaraderie
- In the final episode, "Resolutions 2", the priest at Rick's wedding announces his full name as Orville Wilbur Richard Wright. Rick disliked being named after both of the Wright brothers, and preferred his nickname. The series ended in a cliffhanger, as the audience never sees whether Rick actually says "I do". The name may be a discontinuity, as early on in the series Roger E. Mosley's character had referred to him as "Elliot," though in the first episode he is identified as Orville.
- The 1981 Edgar Award was won for an episode entitled "China Doll."
- The Region 1 version of the Season 1 DVD release comes with an extra disk, featuring extra episodes from later in the series.
- The Season 1 release (both Regions 1 and 2) has an error in the episode "China Doll": the musical cues are about 30 seconds off throughout much of the episode.
- Magnum, P.I details, Museum of Broadcast Communications website; accessed December 29, 2015.
- "Homes for the Luxury Lifestyle". Hawaiiislandhomes.com. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "Isles' richest person, with $12.6 billion, dies". The.honoluluadvertiser.com. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
-  Archived April 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
- Writers Lola Landekic Will Perkins Published May 11, 2013 (2013-05-11). "Magnum, P.I. (1980) — Art of the Title". Artofthetitle.com. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- Mike Post, Theme From Magnum P.I./Gumbus Red at Discogs.com; retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Billboard-Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "Mike Post-Television Theme Songs (Vinyl, LP, Album) at". Discogs.com. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "The Ferrari". Magnum Mania. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- ""Magnum, P.I., 1980-1988": cars, bikes, trucks and other vehicles". IMCDb.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "1969 Jaguar XK-E Series II in "Magnum, P.I., 1980-1988"". IMCDb.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL [R107] in "Magnum, P.I., 1980-1988"". IMCDb.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "1980 Datsun 280ZX GL [S130] in "Magnum, P.I., 1980-1988"". IMCDb.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "T.C.'s Chopper". Magnum Mania!. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "N9267F Aircraft Registration FlightAware". Flightaware.com. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark | Making Raiders of the Lost Ark". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2003-12-07. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
- Nixon, Agnes (2007). "Tom Selleck: More Than Magnum". Biography. A&E. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- "John Hillerman Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
- "Magnum, P. I. | Golden Globes". Hfpa.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- "All 8 Seasons with Tom Selleck Come Together with The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Bigger, Better Box Cover Art for The Complete Series DVD Set". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- TV.com (2010-12-28). "Simon & Simon - Season 2, Episode 1: Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend (2)". TV.com. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- Andreeva, Nellie. "'Magnum P.I.' Sequel About His Daughter In Works At ABC From John Rogers & Eva Longoria". Deadline.com. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
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