If we have learned one thing from “Magnum P.I.” is that part of solving a case, one has to trust his gut. While it seems counterintuitive for anyone investigating a crime to trust a feeling or an emotion when making a decision that could change a person’s life — it is what makes the difference in most of Magnum’s (Jay Hernandez) cases. And for the most part, Magnum’s insight into his cases truly makes a difference for his clients.
In this week’s episode “Murder Is Never Quiet,” written by Barbie Kligman and directed by David Straiton, this is certainly what sets the case in motion. Magnum is asked by Brianna Healy (Paula Newsome) to prove that her son, Josh (Wavyy Jonez), did not kill his girlfriend. The kicker is that Magnum must find the real killer within 24 hours, as her son is about to take a plea deal, even though he really is innocent of the crime.
Magnum works the case with trusty, and tougher than her size belies, Higgins (Perdita Weeks) and gets a solid hand from his reluctant friend HPD Det. Katsumoto (Tim Kang). The secondary storyline has Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC (Stephen Hill) working with Island Hoppers’ mechanic, and fellow veteran, Kenny “Shammy” Shamberg (Christopher Thornton). The trio must solve their own case, as they work to find a house full of missing appliances that were stolen from a house they built for another veteran friend, Brad Fullerton (played by real-life Iraq War veteran and triple amputee Bryan Anderson).
MAGNUM DOES HIS DUTY
The episode starts with Rick trying to coach Magnum on how best to come across so he will be dismissed from jury duty. While TC admonishes both of his friends, saying it is Magnum’s civic duty, Rick correctly states, “We already gave at the office — and by that I mean served our country.” TC reminds him the “price of freedom is never paid,” to which Rick again mentions their time in a prisoner-of-war camp, and ends the point.
To some, serving our country, and being an American POW, should mean you get a free pass when it comes to civic duties like serving on a jury. But when Magnum is actually in front of the judge, she is not having any of it. Even when he tells her he is best friends with Katsumoto, she calls him on his stretch of the truth and tells him that she can spot a fraud a mile away. Judge Marjorie Kamaka (Sumalee Montano) seems to be very well-informed about a certain Thomas Magnum.
She tells Magnum that Josh Healy, the defendant, is facing life in prison for killing his girlfriend, Libby Connor, and that his lame excuses will not get Magnum dismissed from helping to decide the fate of this man. It isn’t until Magnum finally admits the truth that we begin to understand why he really would be a poor juror. “I just wouldn’t be able to determine the innocence or guilt of a defendant in a courtroom,” he says. “Unless I find out the truth myself, I won’t believe it.”
It is this confession to the court that gets Magnum his next case, when Josh’s mother Brianna shows up at Robin’s Nest to hire Magnum to find out the truth. She knows that her son is not capable of killing, especially someone he loves, and she needs Magnum to find out the truth. “He just wouldn’t do this. I’m sorry, but you’re our last hope,” she tells him.
24 HOURS TO CLEAR A MAN
Magnum takes the case, as Higgins surmises, probably because of the similarity between Josh and Magnum’s upbringing. Like Josh, who lost his father when he was 10, Magnum’s dad died when he was 6 and his mother raised him by herself. Brianna promises to work two jobs and do whatever she needs to do to pay Magnum, who with some prompting from Higgins, takes the case pro bono.
While Magnum is giving back, the case is nothing but difficult from the start. Brianna tells him after he’s agreed to help her, that he has “24 hours to prove my son is innocent.” It seems as if the district attorney has offered Josh a plea deal for a shorter sentence and that Josh is afraid of going away for life, so he’s going to take the deal. After Josh’s attorney (Mark Wilson) sends the case file over to Robin’s Nest, even Higgins thinks the case is a “fool’s errand.”
All of the evidence in the case leads to Josh — his fingerprints were all over the murder weapon, a bat he owned; he has no alibi for the time of Libby’s murder, as he had gotten black-out drunk and doesn’t remember what happened; and the neighbors heard them fighting the night she was killed. Josh’s attorney calls the state’s case a “slam-dunk.” Even Katsumoto, Magnum’s new best friend, thinks the case was handled appropriately.
But after meeting Josh, Magnum doesn’t think the young man is capable of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death, no matter how rock-solid the case may be against him. He and Higgins begin looking at Libby’s workplace and talk to a “creepy stalker” co-worker, Trey Wilson (Hawaii actor Kenneth Baldino), but besides being a complete jerk, doesn’t seem like he would go as far as murder.
Libby’s job as a bank teller doesn’t seem to be the place to find answers until Magnum is at a gas station giving the Ferrari $10 worth of petrol, and a strange man approaches him and suggests that he and Higgins could get hurt if they keep looking into “matters that don’t concern you. Like dead bank tellers.” It is the confirmation Magnum needs that Josh did not kill Libby.
HIGGINS TO THE RESCUE
But what Magnum needs is more of a connection between Mr. Hitman, who Katsumoto identifies as Rudy Wong — someone who “fixes” problems for any organized crime groups. Magnum and Higgins realize he probably killed Libby, but they don’t know why, and when Magnum corners him in his high-rise apartment to question him, Rudy is shot by a sniper. Magnum is also a target and as he hides, he calls Higgins for help.
Higgins takes off after the sniper and finds him near the roof of an adjacent building, and after they engage in a super unladylike fight — Higgins high-kicks him out of a floor-to-ceiling window. When Katsumoto arrives, he identifies Higgins’ battle partner as Leo Cho, who works for the Hawaiian Syndicate, which seems to have re-emerged after several decades, but now hides behind clean businesses.
The three now know that if the Hawaiian Syndicate is involved they just need to connect the dots back to Libby’s death. They find it by looking at her bank, and Katsumoto sends forensics to look into the bank’s computers and find their connection. Katsumoto tells Magnum, “Looks like the Company was tired of finding creative ways to launder their dirty money. So they opened a bank. And then they hired the bank manager to keep an eye on things for them.”
But it seems as if Will Nash (Hawaii actor Rob Duval), the bank manager, got lazy and Libby found out what he was doing. When they sent Wong to deal with her, he saw her fighting with Josh and Wong set him up to take the fall for her murder. Only Katsumoto has no way to prove what he knows, as Wong is dead, and Nash is refusing to talk.
So Katsumoto does something out of the ordinary. He calls a meeting with the Hawaiian Syndicate, and they send someone to talk to the HPD detective. If the syndicate will convince Nash to testify, then Katsumoto will give them time to move their money. And Josh’s attorney will have the evidence he needs to give to Judge Kamaka — who seems to have a relationship with Katsumoto.
It explains how she knew Magnum was lying about Katsumoto being his best friend. When Magnum apologizes to Katsumoto for perhaps pushing him over the line, Katsumoto tells him he wasn’t pushed, he made the decision to cross it. Because in “this case everyone did their job right. And still, an innocent kid could go to prison.” Katsumoto, like Magnum, always wants to know the truth.
STEALING FROM THE HEROES
While Magnum is trying to clear an innocent man’s name, Rick and TC are trying to solve a mystery of their own. Seems as if the accessible home they helped build for their veteran friend Brad, who lost both his legs and a hand serving our country, has been stripped of all its donated appliances. The ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for the next day and the surprise for Brad has been ruined.
TC finds a neighbor with a doorbell camera and the kind woman (Hawaii actor Blossom Lam Hoffman) feeds them and lets them see her security footage. Rick and TC spot a truck that seems to be full of appliances in front of the house, and Shammy identifies the make and model. Rick gets a friend at the DMV, Lisa Port (former Miss Hawaii USA 2015 Emma Wo) to get him a list of Ford Raptors and they identify a possible suspect by focusing on drivers who live in the same neighborhood.
They think the thief, Mitch Mookini (Hawaii actor Shawn McBride), saw the appliances being delivered and knew the house was currently unoccupied and moved in for the steal. So Rick, TC and Shammy go to his house to see if they can ask for them back. They don’t want to call HPD because then it will prolong the unveiling of Brad’s new house. They are all hoping that Mitch will have a heart and return the appliances.
They tell Mitch they “don’t want any trouble, we just want the appliances you stole. That house is for a vet. And not just any vet. His name is Brad, he lost both legs and an arm fighting for our country.” Mitch chases them off but not without looking sheepishly at Shammy in his wheelchair as they leave his property.
Perhaps their plea worked, as later that night, just as they are trying to put the finishing touches on the house, they hear a car skid away and look out to see what looks like all of the appliances stacked on the lawn. They don’t have to cancel the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Brad will be able to move into his new home as scheduled.
It’s the kind of ending we all love. When one hero is freed and another hero is gifted with something he truly deserves but never asked for. When heroes are surrounded by friends, there is nothing that can’t be made right.