Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Monday, July 15, 2024 75° Today's Paper

FeaturesMagnum Reloaded

Magnum Reloaded: ‘Hawaii Five-0’ characters do double-duty on ‘Magnum P.I.’

Swipe or click to see more


Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun), here in a scene from the season one episode “Black is a Widow,” was one of three “Hawaii Five-0” characters who crossed over into several episodes of “Magnum P.I.”

One of the biggest discussions surrounding “Magnum P.I.” since the series was rebooted in 2018, was whether or not it would cross over with “Hawaii Five-0.” As both shows are filmed and produced in Hawaii, the idea behind creating a crossover event — with characters from both shows interplaying with each other and each series sharing a plotline — seemed like a no-brainer. Yet, while they operate on the same island, each production is its own entity. During their first season, however, they did share a few characters. Hawaii actors Kimee Balmilero, Taylor Wily, and Dennis Chun, all members of the main cast of “Hawaii Five-0,” have done double-duty in several episodes of “Magnum P.I.”

Balmilero was the most notable crossover cast member as she was in seven episodes, starting in the pilot “I Saw the Sun Rise,” as medical examiner Dr. Noelani Cunha. Wily joined Balmilero as a recurring cast member in two episodes as entrepreneur Kamekona Tupuola and Dennis Chun guest-starred as Sgt. Duke Lukela in one episode. While all three also did their fair share as series regulars on “Hawaii Five-0,” their appearance in “Magnum P.I.” certainly caused renewed discussion about a potential plotline crossover, especially as the main characters of both shows, Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) both share a similar backstory.


Balmilero’s “Hawaii Five-0” character, Dr. Noelani Cunha, seems to have found a certain groove on “Magnum P.I.” that is a little different than her persona on “Hawaii Five-0.” As the medical examiner for Five-0, she doesn’t have to help Magnum when he asks for information to solve a case. He often comes with bribes of food, which she begrudgingly takes from the charming private investigator. While she is not a push-over, she tends to give him what he needs — within reason.

Their relationship starts off with Magnum taking a bit of advantage of her big heart and the fact that even Noelani understands that no matter what Magnum’s tactics — he is always trying to right some kind of wrong. It seems like this is the reason why Noelani gives in to Magnum in order to gather details for one of his cases.

In the season finale, “The Day It All Came Together,” Noelani and Magnum come to a sort of friendly truce when he calls her and begs her to help him with Hannah (Jordana Brewster) his deceiving ex-lover who has been shot and is bleeding on his couch. Magnum tells Noelani “I need your help, okay? Doc, there’s no one else I can turn to. Look you’re great to me, and sometimes, I take advantage of that, and I’m sorry.” When she tells him it’s okay and comes to help save Hannah’s life, she does it as a friend, not because she has been bribed by baked goods, but because she knows what is in Magnum’s heart.


Wily’s “Hawaii Five-0” character appeared in two “Magnum P.I.” episodes — a quick scene in “Day of the Viper,” and in “From the Head Down” when he gives Magnum and his good buddy Rick (Zachary Knighton), who he calls “Casablanca,” some important information about fish. Kamekona is seen at his shrimp truck and at his new business adventure, an Italian restaurant that he is helping to get off the ground for McGarrett and Danno (Scott Caan) of “Hawaii Five-0.” Rick and Magnum meet him at the brick and mortar spot to pick his brain about the underworld dealings of selling prized ahi, as Magnum has taken a case to find a stolen bluefin worth $350 thousand.

The scene is funny and perfectly played between the three actors. It is obvious that Rick and “Kame” are old friends, even if their connection might be linked to their nefarious pasts. Kamekona even gives Magnum a nickname, calling Rick’s private eye friend “Rockford.” After Magnum agrees to have at least one meal at the shrimp truck every week for a month to get the intel he needs. This sums up Kamekona in a nutshell — he’s always willing to help a friend, but they need to help him out as well. It is, as Kame says, just good business.


Chun’s character, the stalwart Sgt. Duke, was in a quick scene in “Black is the Widow,” when he calls Magnum to find Det. Katsumoto (Tim Kang). Magnum is working a case trying to find a black widow who has been killing her lovers and as usual, his investigation has crossed paths with Katsumoto, who is also looking into the same deaths. When Katsumoto is kidnapped, Duke finds his cell and sees that Magnum was his last phone call.

It may have been a short phone call, but Duke’s presence in the episode continues the idea that both “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.” exist in the same “universe” — where Rick and Kamekona are pals, Det. Katsumoto works with Sgt. Duke at HPD, and Magnum and Dr. Cunha have almost weekly run-ins. It could also mean that in a future episode, Magnum and his friends could give Five-0 a helping hand. Thankfully, we have a new year for both shows starting in just a few weeks to see if this crossover ever comes to fruition.

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

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.