September marked the debut season of “Magnum P.I.,” and while the new version of the beloved 1980s television show has been met with mixed reviews, many fans seem to love the reboot. Despite the ratings, and being up against perennial favorites “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice,” the show seems to have found its rhythm halfway through their freshman season. Fans love seeing the shared bond of brotherhood between Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez), Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC (Stephen Hill), and the budding friendship between Magnum and Higgins (Perdita Weeks).
Ten episodes into the first season, fans were asked to name their choices for an end of the year “best-of” list. Fans chimed in via email, Facebook and Twitter and four episodes rose to the top. In all of the fan comments, several mentioned how much they love Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum. He is a different version of the Magnum many were used to seeing in the original. This “new” Magnum’s charm and genuine concern for his crew and his clients have captured a new generation of viewers and Magnum fans.
Many of the reasons fans chose certain episodes had a lot to do with how they felt about the character of Magnum. Fans love how he treats the underdog — a theme which is definitely a holdover from the original. They also love how Magnum interacts with Rick and TC, and his relationship with Higgins — many wonder if there is a romance growing between the pair, which is certainly a departure from the original.
One of the biggest reasons fans love the show is the set up of Magnum’s military back story which is a big part of the overall storyline. The loyalty he shares with Rick and TC and the late Nuzo (Domenick Lombardozzi) is an essential plot point of the series. Fans appreciate the obvious respect the show has for all veterans and the military.
Regardless of the ratings or the Monday-night position of “Magnum P.I.,” fans still think the show has great potential and should at least be given a chance. Many who dislike the show have not even watched an episode, or have judged it based on seeing only one. Some have made their decision about the show purely on the fact that Magnum is without a mustache and not Tom Selleck. But this is not your grandfather’s Ferrari, and maybe this list of fan choices will remind us about what is shaping up to be a strong first season.
“The Ties That Bind”
The episode that had the strongest response, was the ninth episode of the season, “The Ties That Bind,” which aired on Nov. 20. The episode had Magnum and his friends helping Amanda Sako (Lyrica Okano) who had been kidnapped and held captive for five days, before she was able to escape on her own. Magnum, with the help of Higgins, Rick and TC, as former POWs, try to help Amanda recover from her trauma and find her kidnappers.
Italian fan Maria Grazia had several reasons why the episode was her choice for the best-of list. “Magnum and Higgins were truly amazing with Amanda and her family. The way Higgins looked at Magnum after Rick told her about Magnum being kept in solitary confinement (when they were POWs), and when Magnum told Amanda about how he felt and what gave him the strength to fight and escape. ‘Being brave doesn’t mean not being scared. It just means you’ve decided there’s something more important than your fear. I decided that my friends were more important than my fear.’ It goes without saying how much I loved that perfect ending! Among the lighter moments, my favorite ones were Higgins picking the lock instead of Magnum, and the whole ‘hurry up and take those clothes off’ scene was priceless! I can easily say Magnum and Higgins are one of the best ‘ships’ out there — so much chemistry and potential. I’m also loving Kumu (Amy Hill) and the Magnum and Katsumoto (Tim Kang) dynamic. This episode was gold on both fronts,” Grazia said via Twitter.
Other fans echoed Grazia’s sentiments. Many liked the fact that the episode gave Magnum and his team an opportunity to turn their POW experience into something positive, as they were able to help Amanda deal with the trauma of being held captive. It was also a way for the show to further develop the back stories of Magnum, Rick and TC. The shared experience of also being held captive gave them more credence to why they were all so eager to help solve the case.
“Bad Day to Be a Hero”
Another episode that was mentioned by fans was the last new episode for 2018, “Bad Day to Be a Hero,” which aired on Dec. 10. Suzanne Stockman from Richmond, Va., said via Facebook, “I love them all, but the last two (“The Ties that Bind” and “Bad Day to Be a Hero”) have been my favorite. They are all really coming together as a team.”
This episode was another good example of how well Magnum and his friends come together to help a friend. Rick comes to Magnum with a problem that needs a quick resolution. His friend, Toni (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), is in trouble after Rick helped her set up a high-stakes poker game in order to pay off some of her brother’s medical debt. Toni’s game is robbed by two masked gunmen and all of the money she put up as the bank, as well as all the winnings, are stolen.
Magnum helps Rick find out who robbed the game and saves Toni from mob retaliation for losing all of the winnings. With Higgins and TC’s help, Magnum is able to recover the money for Toni — and solve a bigger case involving human trafficking.
The episode is truly a show of Magnum and his friends working with HPD. The robbery uncovered another mystery for Magnum, as the two gunmen are former military men who are actually trying to save a relative who had been working on an agricultural farm as forced labor. Katsumoto (Tim Kang) joins them to help rescue the relative along with a bigger group of enslaved immigrants.
With the addition of Katsumoto, Magnum’s team has even more clout with the support of law enforcement. While Katsumoto doesn’t necessarily agree with Magnum’s methods, he seems to know that Magnum is a good guy — no matter how much he is a thorn in the side of HPD. Magnum can sometimes do a little more than Katsumoto can to chase down a suspect, and while Katsumoto may not like how he handles his cases, the HPD detective has to admit that more often than not, Magnum comes through on the right side of the law.
“Die He Said” and “The Woman Who Never Died”
Two episodes that fans also mentioned as possible bests for the season, “Die He Said” and “The Woman Who Never Died,” also shared similar elements as the top two episodes. Both gave us a good look at Magnum’s difficult back story and helped us to understand how much his relationship with Rick and TC means to Magnum.
In the episode “Die He Said,” which aired on Nov. 12, a dying man hires Magnum to find his estranged brother because he needs a bone marrow donation. He also wants to make amends and apologize for abandoning his younger brother years before. When Magnum finds William Malua’s (C.S. Lee) brother Bobby (Karl Yune), Bobby is in a bit of a bind, and Magnum and Rick help to save his life. He, in turn, reunites with William and saves his life by giving him his bone marrow.
In “The Woman Who Never Died,” which originally aired on Oct. 8, and recently replayed on Dec. 17, Magnum is asked to find the true identity of Neil Crawford’s (Jack Cutmore Scott) fiancee, Tara Moss (Catherine Haena Kim), who has slipped into a coma after they were involved in a hit-and-run accident. Because of Tara’s injuries, her doctors find that she’s had extensive facial surgery. Neil wants to know who she really is and what she is hiding.
Both episodes have Magnum relying on his friends to help him solve both cases, and prove again how they always come through for each other. That is definitely a theme that is relatable as well as entertaining — especially whenever Rick and TC back up Magnum on his cases, run down clues, or pay one of his many debts. Sometimes their devotion to Magnum makes us laugh, and sometimes it makes us cry, but we love that they take their friendship very seriously. Especially when one of their trio is in trouble and needs help to get him out of harm’s way.
This is what makes the series work — friendship, trust and loyalty. Car chases, cool stunts and snappy retorts always work as well — but overall, we are all fans of how Magnum and his friends help people and each other.