When it comes to the heart of a woman, heaven help the man who breaks it. Especially if that woman is a former MI6 agent, and the reason for her heartbreak is the murder of the man she once loved. In this week’s episode of “Magnum P.I.,” Higgins (Perdita Weeks) comes face to face with “The Viper” the assassin who killed her lover, Richard Dane, and changed the course of her life. Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) helps her to discover the true identity of the killer and perhaps give her some semblance of closure.
The episode, “The Day of the Viper” fills us in on what Higgins’ life was like before she landed in Robin’s Nest. It definitely shows us a new side of the majordomo and further confirms the growing friendship and trust shared between Higgins and Magnum.
Based on a story by David Fury, with teleplay by Gene Hong and Eric Guggenheim, the episode was a perfect balance between action and intrigue. The mystery surrounding Higgins and her secret intelligence past seem to have followed her to Hawaii when her former MI6 mentor Ian Pryce (Nigel Lindsay) turns up at Robin’s estate. He sneaks in late one night with a bullet in his thigh and a story about trying to track down Higgins’ nemesis — the assassin code-named Viper.
Directed by “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.” co-executive producer Bryan Spicer, the episode moves like a well-oiled machine, smooth and thoughtful in action and interplay between the characters. Add in a subplot featuring Rick (Zachary Knighton) who masquerades as “Tommy” Magnum, and TC (Stephen Hill) who selflessly backs up Rick, as well as Higgins and Magnum — it is everything that we enjoy about the fledgling series.
From the moment we meet Ian, who is in Hawaii because “he’s on a personal mission that’s unsanctioned by MI6.” Ian explains how Viper is an assassin he has been chasing for years and they have “never been able to put a name or a face to him.”
Magnum guesses that Higgins has a connection to Viper, and when she solemnly tells him Viper was the one who “murdered the man I loved,” Magnum is ready to do whatever she needs to help her find the assassin.
Over the course of the episode, Higgins reveals more about Richard, how the two were going to leave MI6 to get married and start a family. When Richard was killed, Higgins went rogue to find Viper and she was disavowed by the British agency. This is news to Magnum and he now realizes how much Richard’s death affected his secretive friend.
He also begins to see how serious she is about finding the truth when they visit the source Ian had been trying to buy information from when he was shot. Fiona Mahoe (Yaani King Mondschein) is an information broker, and Higgins forces her, by putting a bullet into her shoulder, to tell them what she knows. All Fiona has is an IP address which leads Higgins to a computer in the Taipei consulate.
Magnum suggests using the computer’s webcam to see its primary user, and they identify Jing Kuan (James Taku Leung), a cultural attache for the Taipei government. Jing works and lives on the grounds of the consulate, so they know trying to get to him will be difficult. They devise a plan to crash a formal reception being held at the consulate in order to question Jing and find out what he really knows about Viper.
RICK PLAYS P.I.
While Higgins and Magnum are trying to find an international spy assassin, Rick has graciously offered his services to help Magnum keep his private investigative business running. Rick poses as Mr. Thomas “Tommy” Magnum and takes a meeting at Kamekona’s (“Hawaii Five-0” series regular, Taylor Wily) Shrimp Truck with Lauren (Tracy Yamamoto) and Donald Stolper (Howard W. Bishop).
The Stolpers want the Detroit-Tigers-cap-wearing, Ferrari-driving, “please call me Tommy,” private investigator to run a check on their daughter Lana’s (J’aime Spezzano) boyfriend — who she wants to marry the following week. Rick quickly falls in love with the whole idea of being a private-eye guy and immediately stakes out the boyfriend, Jeremy (Joshua Chang), with TC helping him to eavesdrop on the unsuspecting soon-to-be son-in-law.
Rick’s private-eye scenes are hilarious, but heartfelt. When Rick is exposed as the guy Lana’s parents have hired to check out Jeremy, he feels bad after Jeremy calls off the wedding. Rick had not realized the girl he caught Jeremy “seeing on the side,” was actually Lana.
Slapstick humor and private-eye jokes aside, when Rick has a heart-to-heart with Jeremy, and tells him, “I just lost out on somebody really special, somebody that could’ve been the one.
And I got to tell you, man, it hurts,” we know he’s talking about Toni (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) from “Bad Day to Be a Hero.” He is speaking from the heart, which if he learned nothing else from Magnum — it’s one of the real reasons why he is so good at what he does. He always follows his heart.
So it makes sense that Magnum understands very quickly how important finding Viper is to Higgins, which means helping figure out a way into the Taipei consulate to question Jing. Higgins helps find someone he can pose as at the reception. She finds David Gomez, a scholar and successful author, and Higgins becomes his plus one. With TC’s help, they secure Gomez’s tickets and enter the reception fairly easily.
Charming Magnum even answers a question about Gomez’s book “on multisystemic complications of South China Sea geopolitics,” with relative ease. Once they find Jing, and Higgins starts to question him, the compounds alarms go off and they are caught and arrested.
Magnum sees how desperate Higgins is to find out who the Viper is from Jing. She sticks a needle of what we can only assume is akin to a deadly poison into Jing’s arm. She demands he tell her what Viper’s name is — even as a line of consulate security and HPD point their weapons at them. Magnum tells her to stop and after several tries to get Jing to talk without any luck, she pulls the needle out of Jing’s arm.
TC TO THE RESCUE
It is really TC who is the hero in the episode. He’s always be ready to swoop in on his chopper or with a well-timed tackle. He certainly knows how to get around the island, either on land or in the air, and bonus — he probably knows where to find the best poke. His skill set is indisputable. Without TC, Higgins and Magnum would never have gotten David Gomez’s tickets or realized that Higgins’ best mate, Ian, is actually the Viper.
TC had originally driven the real David Gomez and his date to a deserted part of the island, taken their reception tickets, and left them there with a soft cooler full of water, chips and dip, and some poke. After he posed as Magnum and Higgins’ driver, he waits for them outside the gate and as the alarms are going off, he sees an HPD officer who looks a lot like Ian, limping into the consulate.
He calls Kumu (Amy Hill), who confirms that Ian is missing, just as Magnum and Higgins are shoved into a patrol car. TC stops them by ramming the town car into them, and as HPD point their guns at his town car, he hops into the patrol car and takes off with Higgins and Magnum back to the consulate. He tells them that Kumu checked the landline at the estate and the last number called was to the security office at the consulate.
It was Ian who told the consulate security about Higgins and Magnum so he could create a distraction and get to Jing himself. Higgins figures out the only reason why Ian would want to get to Jing, is to silence him. He is Viper, and Higgins thinks the only way to stop him is to do it herself.
A NEW FUTURE
Once the three get back to the consulate, they find Jing dead, and they chase after Ian, catching him in an outside alley. As Higgins holds her gun to him, he tells her it is her duty to arrest him, but she reminds him that she is no longer MI6. Magnum sees that she is really going to kill Ian and tells her to put the gun down. Higgins can’t do it, asking Ian why he killed Richard, who she loved, who was her future. Ian has no real answer — and Higgins tells Magnum that he deserves to die.
But Magnum tells her, “You don’t want to do this. You said that I don’t know you, but I think I do. And you’re not somebody who shoots a man in cold blood.”
He knows that is not who Higgins is anymore. She’s not an agent. She is Juliet or Higgy to her friends, who helps them much more than they seem to help her.
Her future might be one where she only has a necklace with an ‘R’ on it and memories of a very good man she once planned to marry. But if nothing else, she still has those cherished memories, and no one can take that away from her.