Most of us deal with loss in many different ways. Some bury their feelings, block out the memories or wipe out all reminders. Then something reminds us of the pain of that loss and the floodgates are opened. It all comes back tenfold. This week’s “Magnum P.I.” is like that moment of recall for Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez). When the private investigator is asked by a dying man to find his estranged brother who is his bone-marrow match, Magnum is reminded of the time he tried to save a fellow brother in arms from dying in Afghanistan.
The episode “Die He Said” was written by Joe Gazzam and directed by Peter Weller, who has also been a guest star and director on “Hawaii Five-0.” William Malua (C.S. Lee) hires Magnum to find his estranged brother Bobby (Karl Yune). He wants to make amends, but William also has stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and without his brother’s bone marrow he will die.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
Magnum finds himself recalling his time in Afghanistan when his friend, Brooks, is critically injured and needs emergency surgery. Magnum’s commanding officer gives him a direct order to stay put when Magnum asks to go and get the one surgeon this side of Kabul who can help his friend. Capt. Evers (Alex Fernandez) tells Magnum he’s not going to lose four guys to save one. But Magnum, who went to Annapolis with Brooks and spent holidays with his family, knows the only way his friend will live is if he disobeys Evers’ direct order.
Once he tells his crew — Rick (Zachary Knighton), TC (Stephen Hill) and Nuzo (Domenick Lombardozzi), who is alive in the flashback — they gleefully agree to come along to help get the surgeon. It is what they would want to happen if they were in Brooks’ place.
The flashback into Magnum’s life in the Navy and his time in combat was perfectly timed as the episode aired on Veterans Day. The cast of “Magnum P.I.” also released a video for all who have served and are serving, thanking them for their service and sacrifice. In October, the cast and crew went to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and held an exclusive screening of their fifth episode “Sudden Death” for military members and their families. The show’s effort to give back and to highlight the military and its service is quite admirable.
BROTHERHOOD AND SERVICE
Two of the themes of “Magnum P.I.,” which is a continuation from the original, is one of brotherhood and service. Magnum, Rick and TC are blood brothers — they don’t share blood, but they have shed it while serving together and as former POWs. They have each other’s backs and will always come through for each other. That is definitely a theme that is relatable as well as entertaining — especially when Rick and TC back up Magnum on his cases or pay one of his many debts. While sometimes their devotion to Magnum is funny; they also take it very seriously. Especially when Magnum is in trouble and needs his friends to help get him out of harm’s way.
Their service to our country has continued to be a focal point in this version of “Magnum.” Magnum’s military past was introduced in the pilot episode and has continued throughout the episodes. What is very positive about how they treat military service in their storylines is that Magnum, TC and Rick are not at all cynical about their time in combat or as POWs. They also don’t gloss over the negative or act like it doesn’t matter. It’s obvious they all have issues they deal with after serving, but it doesn’t cripple them — at least not on a daily basis. At some point they will face their demons, which will make for even deeper storylines and character development.
HIGGINS’ MISSING NECKLACE
The episode starts with Magnum looking for Juliet Higgins’ (Perdita Weeks) necklace in the tide pool outside of Robin’s Nest. She seems to have lost it during her morning swim. As they sift through the sand, Kumu (Amy Hill) helps them by using an underwater drone. Kumu seems to be the expert at finding things for “Miss H” and later breaks out a metal detector.
While her character is the cultural heart of Robin’s Nest — she also is a major support system for both Magnum and Higgins. She certainly brings more humor to the storylines, but really Kumu helps add warmth and aloha as well. You have to love her and the good-natured grief she gives Magnum, like when she answers Magnum’s cell and tells him — “You should take this. It’s about a job.” She puts sarcastic emphasis on the word “job” because she probably knows how often Magnum works — and doesn’t work.
Before Magnum takes the job, he promises Higgins he will find her necklace and all she would owe him is a favor. She reluctantly agrees and of course, she pays him in two favors — both attached to his new case. She runs Bobby Malua’s name and Social Security number allowing Magnum to find his address and track him down. She also accesses a satellite to find a missing car — which leads Magnum to save Bobby’s life, and in a sense to save William’s life as well.
Magnum does find Higgy’s necklace — because he really is a good private investigator, and a good friend. He deduced early on that it probably got wrapped up in her rash guard after she finished her swim. He finds it in the washing machine and returns it to her — grateful for her help with the case. He asks her, “Did Robin give that to you? Because on the back of the pendant, the inscription says, ‘Love, R.’ ” She tells him it’s not from Robin, but gives Magnum little else. He takes this as a challenge to find out who R is — and in a sense, find out more about Higgins.
RIGHTING A WRONG
Magnum’s investigation turns into something much more than just a simple case searching for a lost loved one to save a dying man. When he finds Bobby, he realizes Bobby probably needs as much saving as William does. He is being pressed by a local ice dealer for stealing $104,000 from him. Magnum helps him escape and they make arrangements to get the money back from his accomplice, Devon, to return to Manny (Trevor Long) and his crew, Loto (Jason Lee Hoy) and Aleki (Jess Kaala Lundgren).
As they try to find Devon, Manny takes Bobby, and tells Magnum to find his money and he will make a trade: money for Bobby and his bone marrow. Once Higgins’ satellite search finds Devon’s car, Magnum figures out Loto is really the one double-crossing Manny. Rick finds Devon’s body in the trunk, but Magnum sees that he wasn’t killed in the car — so someone else has Manny’s money. It could only be one of his crew. When they meet for the trade, Magnum reveals his theory and in the ensuing gunfight the three genius ice dealers kill each other off.
But Bobby is hit in the gunfire and as they pull him into TC’s chopper, he recalls what happened to Major Hawthorn (Aaron Densley), the surgeon the team went to get to save Brooks in Afghanistan. He too was shot in the crossfire and Magnum recalls holding him in his arms as he bleeds out.
During the flight to the hospital, Magnum shows Bobby a video message from William — who apologizes for their separation and tells him how much he misses his brother. They make it to the hospital and Bobby is taken in by the ER doctors to surgery.
NO MORE SAD ENDINGS
The ending was happy for Bobby and his brother William — Bobby survives and is able to donate his bone marrow to his brother. They seem to have made up and William’s outlook is positive. It’s heartwarming and gives us all faith in the simple act of forgiveness.
But for Magnum, both Hawthorn and his friend Brooks died in Afghanistan. He did not get the kind of ending he wanted in his story about saving Brooks — and with Nuzo gone as well — it makes him wonder if they could have done more.
It is a question that I bet many combat veterans ask themselves every Veterans Day: Did we do everything we could to bring our friends home? It’s heartbreaking enough knowing what they have to sacrifice each day. For them to still question themselves when they are home, it makes us all wish for a different kind of ending for all those who serve — even in fiction.