During the first season of “Magnum P.I.”, several special guest stars helped the rebooted series draw enough of an audience to drive it into a second season. While it’s not unusual for a television series to feature special guest stars, the freshman show featured actors, entertainers, as well as professional athletes that helped give the show some definite star power.
The new series featured well-known faces like actor/director Carl Weathers and “BH90210” star Brian Austin Green; musical legends Ben Vereen and Cyndi Lauper; as well as several professional athletes, like former NFL running back Eddie George, NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney, and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich. Some either played a character meant for laughs or took on a more memorable character who has ties to Magnum’s (Jay Hernandez) case of the week.
Carl Weathers was a surprising treat in the episode “From the Head Down,” when he played Dan Sawyer, a former Vietnam veteran and struggling fisherman, early in season two. Weathers’ character brings Magnum a pretty fishy case when he asks the private investigator to find a highly valuable bluefin tuna. The pricey fish was stolen from him before he could sell it to save his fishing boat. Magnum takes the odd case because he can relate to Sawyer’s need for a helping hand.
Weathers is perfect as the gruff, hard-working man, who has to swallow his pride to get some help to keep his business afloat. While it was a bit of a silly storyline, it was an interesting way to show Magnum’s talent in working a seemingly impossible case. Weathers did double-duty last season, not only guest-starring in “Magnum P.I.”, but he also directed an episode of “Hawaii Five-0” for their ninth season.
Former “Beverly Hills 90210” star Brian Austin Green, played Special Agent Adam Kreshner in the season one finale, “The Day It All Came Together.” Kreshner is a bit of a villain, arresting Magnum for passing counterfeit money. Thanks to HPD Det. Katsumoto (Tim Kang), and Magnum keeping a cool head, Kreshner reluctantly lets Magnum go when he leads Kreshner to the client who passed him the bills. While Green’s part merely helped introduce the real conflict in the episode — Hannah (Jordana Brewster) and the long-convoluted reason why she betrayed Magnum — his handsome sneer was fun to watch.
Ben Vereen was really a treat to watch in “Death Is Only Temporary” when he played wealthy sugar tycoon, Henry Barr. Vereen plays Barr as a kind-hearted gentleman, who may or may not have a firm grasp on reality. Barr has dementia, but he hires Magnum to find Elizabeth Cole, a woman who went missing in 1987 because he believes she may still be alive. Magnum takes the case because he knows what it’s like to lose the woman you love.
Vereen is a big part of the episode and shares sweet scenes with both Magnum and Higgins (Perdita Weeks), who reveals to Magnum that her mother had dementia. Magnum finds out that Cole has been long dead, but that their daughter is very much alive. The scene where Barr meets his 30-year-old offspring was Vereen at his best.
Songstress Cyndi Lauper was perfect in the episode “Sudden Death.” Lauper plays a fast-talking lawyer, Vanessa Nero, who adds a dash of Queens, N.Y. to her “Aloha, honey.” She helps Magnum get into HPD lockup to see a friend of TC’s (Stephen Hill) and offers him some not-so-free legal advice. Not only did Lauper guest-star in “Magnum P.I.”, but she was also the musical guest at the 2018 “Sunset on the Beach” season premiere along with ‘Hawaii Five-0.”
Three professional athletes guest-starred in season one, but Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich’s cameo was very special, as it was a bit of a celebration for Hawaii’s 2018 win of the Little League World Series. In the episode, “Black is the Widow,” the team has been invited to Robin Master’s estate to meet the Yelich, who plays himself. Yelich’s best line was telling the real-life Little League players, “I loved watching you guys play. You guys did awesome,” as he high-fives the boys and their coaches. When Rick (Zachary Knight) tosses a pitch to Yelich, who knocks it way out of Robin’s Nest, Yelich is almost as cool as when he flirts with Higgins.
NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney, who unlike Yelich does not play himself, plays bounty hunter Shane Powell in the episode “Winner Takes All.” Powell is called to work the same case as Magnum and his friend, Luther H. Gillis (Ken Jeong). Blaney’s character greets them by saying “Nice shirt, Magnum,” about the Aloha shirt Magnum is wearing. Luther is crushed because he is wearing the exact same shirt as Magnum and gets no love from the friendly Shane.
Fellow guest star Eddie George plays Travis Leet, a bail bondsman who calls in the top private investigators and bounty hunters on Oahu to track down a skip (a person who has skipped out on a court date). George’s character turns out to be the episode villain, but it was still pretty fun to see TC tackle the former NFL star in order to disarm him and save the day. For the most part, guest stars are great in their own right, but they also allow the main cast members to shine as well.