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Magnum Reloaded: Secondary characters, storylines help develop ‘Magnum P.I.’

After two weeks without a new episode or repeat of “Magnum P.I.,” fans have had a moment to think about secondary storylines and characters who may not always get the kind of attention they deserve. Since the news broke last month about the renewal of the freshman television show, fans are even more interested in how the overall storyline will play out for the rest of this first season “Magnum P.I.”

While Magnum (Jay Hernandez), Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC’s (Stephen Hill) backstory is well established, we are slowly learning more about the other main cast members, Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks), Kumu (Amy Hill) and Det. Katsumoto (Tim Kang).

Now that we know the series will have a second season, it will be interesting to watch how these characters grow and change. Still, the development of characters and their place within Magnum’s world has been very interesting and helps to establish stronger plotlines for the show.


From the start of the series, Higgins has been less of a pain in Magnum’s side and more like a sassy sister who is always right and good at everything. She also has been the one who has helped Magnum solve his cases and been his sidekick during most of his investigations. She’s the one he bounces ideas off of, who he takes to search places and who backs him up in a fight.

Most often, it is Magnum and Higgins working the case, while Rick and TC back them up when Magnum needs air support and Rick’s connections. But Higgins also has mad computer skills that most people do not possess. Her ability to access information has become invaluable to Magnum and because of Higgins, he is been able to find leads far more easily than if he does the legwork himself.

While Higgins may have started off as a bit of a mystery, Magnum correctly guesses that Higgins was once an MI6 British intelligence agent. Higgins is multitalented — she played soccer growing up, has a mean golf swing, is an expert target shooter, practices yoga and is an expert at hand-to-hand combat. Magnum understands her many talents are not innate, but based on high-level training, much like his own as a former Navy SEAL.

Higgins talents were slowly revealed but seem to come together in the episode “The Day of the Viper,” when her former MI6 mentor comes to Hawaii and is revealed to be Viper — the assassin who killed the man she loved. It confirms for Magnum that Higgins, much like himself, is using her position at Robin’s Nest to heal from great pain, and perhaps to hide a bit from the world.

Luckily, both are able to use their talents to actually help others and perhaps regain that sense of purpose they once had as special operatives. Magnum is lucky to have Higgins. She is definitely the woman you want backing you up in a fist or gunfight, in a foot or car chase and in all acts of breaking and entering. If anyone needed a sidekick, Higgins should be at the top of anyone’s list.


One character that is a new one in the “Magnum” canon is Teuila “Kumu” Tuileta, the cultural curator of Robin Masters’ estate, and the all-around “Auntie” of the group. Kumu is the team’s connection to the Hawaiian ways of the island. Hill plays Kumu with natural grace and comfortable familiarity. We all know someone like Kumu, and probably have someone like her in our own close-knit ohana. She is funny and sassy, and equally as lovable. She also helps set the rebooted version of “Magnum P.I.” apart from the original.

Kumu is the type of friend who has her Aunty Keona’s kalo poultice ready for gunshot wounds and emergency bullet removal. And when Magnum is about to be arrested she is ready to call her cousin, an HPD captain in major crimes, then her sister-in-law in the City Council and then her late tutu’s neighbor at the district attorney’s office. That’s Kumu — she knows everyone and is always going to have a friend’s back.

She is also helpful to Higgins and tries to save her when a Russian agent arrives at Robin’s Nest looking for Magnum and his new client. Kumu fires a warning shot to stop the agent from knifing Higgins in the face, but unfortunately, the Russian’s two burly buddies show up and they hold Higgins and Kumu hostage. Thankfully, Magnum, with the help of “the Lads,” Zeus and Apollo, manage to rescue his friends.

We really saw more of Kumu’s backstory in the episode “I, The Deceased,” when she meets an old high school crush who tries to ask her out. Kumu is a little surprised, but flattered, and tells Dennis Sterling (Alex Morris), that her husband “was the love of my life. I haven’t even thought about dating anyone since he passed.” It tells us that Kumu is a widow, who is surrounded by friends and family, but still alone.

Rick encourages her to take a chance. He asks her if she wants to be alone for the rest of her life. It’s been four years since her husband died, and she deserves to just go out on a date and maybe meet someone. When Kumu takes his advice and drops in at Dennis’ house, she meets his wife, Kalea Sterling (played by Hawaii actress Elissa Dulce, who also guest starred in the original “Magnum P.I.”). Dennis had told Kumu he was separated, but Kalea’s presence and attitude suggested that Dennis was very much still married.

When she tells Rick about Dennis being married — Rick is torn between wanting to rough him up or keying his car, but Kumu won’t let him. She does admit, “that it made me realize that I need to put myself out there. Maybe it’s time.” It will be a nice secondary story to see Kumu’s love life blossom. If nothing else, it will be at least one lighthearted story mixed in with all the drama.


One of the other “new” characters is Det. Gordon Katsumoto. Kang plays the dour HPD detective with a sort of soft spot for Magnum. While Magnum most likely gives him a perpetual migraine, he can’t help but appreciate the fact he is usually trying to catch a bad guy or find a missing person. Sometimes Magnum even helps him solve a murder, or two, and what police detective doesn’t like that kind of help?

A sane one, perhaps, and Katsumoto can certainly be seen as someone who is logical and wants to get the job done. It’s just too bad that Magnum seems to always want to circumvent Katsumoto, to the point of almost always being threatened with arrest. But there must be a bromance brewing because Katsumoto seems to have joined Magnum’s “friends who do favors” group.

Could it be that Katsumoto sees that Magnum’s goal is always the greater good? Still, even though Magnum has helped Katsumoto catch several murders, Katsumoto still doesn’t want Magnum breaking the law in order to solve his cases. He’s had him arrested, fined him for carrying a fake badge, and every time they deal with each other — he has threatened to charge him with something. It’s pretty funny how often Magnum calls him for help and Katsumoto tells him to forget it, yet turns around and helps the charming private investigator.

It’s nice to see Katsumoto join the team as one of their own, even while reprimanding Magnum for asking for too many favors. Rick even gets Katsumoto to side with him after Magnum’s last case, when Katsumoto drolly says, “I got to say, it’s getting a little old.” When Katsumoto gangs up with Magnum’s best friends against him, it must mean Katsumoto is in with the team.

And what a team it is shaping up to be. The next new episode, “Day the Past Came Back” airs Monday on CBS.

Wendie Burbridge writes the “Five-0 Redux” and “Magnum Reloaded” blogs for Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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