It is always impressive when a person goes beyond their everyday makeup in order to save a stranger. While this is a well-established thematic element of “Magnum P.I.”, as Magnum often takes cases to help people who need it the most, yet this time it is a criminal who is the one who wants to do what is right.
This week’s episode, “Honor Among Thieves,” has Jin, played by special guest star Bobby Lee, an unashamed pickpocket, seeking out Magnum’s (Jay Hernandez) help in order to right a wrong.
The episode, written by Gene Hong and directed by Carlos Bernard was a smart mix of humor, suspense, and strong interplay between the special guest star and the series regulars. Lee is hilarious as the ethically challenged Jin, and Magnum’s belief in Jin’s desire to help someone rather than rip them off is what makes the episode work.
Add in a Higgins (Perdita Weeks) fight scene, as well as clever Magnum vs Higgy banter, and a secondary storyline about TC (Stephen Hill) helping Rick (Zachary Knighton) buy La Mariana definitely rounded out the episode. The appearance of Larry Manetti, who played Rick in the original version of “Magnum P.I.” all help to show how the series has continued season two on a high note.
WORTH THE RISK
The episode starts with “The Ohana Thread” — a group text which includes Magnum, Rick, and TC, as well as Higgins and Kumu — all meeting Rick at La Mariana, “the last original tiki bar on the island.” Rick explains he is making a move to buy it. In the season opener, he confessed to the gang that he had quit the King Kamehameha Club, and this looks like his new business adventure. He is not looking for a handout to buy La Mariana, he is going to a bank to get a business loan. After he worked so hard to put the King K on the map, he doesn’t think he’ll have any problems securing the money.
While they are talking, Nicky “The Kid” DeMarco (Manetti), who Rick says “comes with the place” sits at the piano tickling the ivories. Manetti plays the same character on “Hawaii Five-0,” but most know him from the first version of “Magnum P.I.” so seeing him in scenes with the current Rick is another nod to the original. Manetti is listed as a recurring cast member, so we hope this means we will see more of him in episodes to come.
Sadly, Rick has a hard time getting the loan to buy La Mariana. Like most returning Veterans, his problems include his lack of credit and his criminal record after punching out a rude customer. He tells TC, “apparently, serving in J-bad (Jalalabad, Afghanistan) doesn’t help build credit.” It’s disconcerting because he is also a former prisoner of war, and while this shouldn’t make him a high-risk borrower it does. He is turned down by several more banks until TC offers to invest with him. Rick is trepidatious about going into business with a friend, but as TC says, “Any shot at greatness is worth the risk, baby.”
HAVING THE BEST TRACK RECORD
Most of the episode focused on Magnum and Higgins helping Jin locate the owner of a phone he had stolen, which included an ominous message of warning. Jin’s habit of stealing cell phones and jewelry from unsuspecting mall shoppers has backfired on him. As Jin can’t “go to the cops because I tend to dance on the line of morality,” he comes to Magnum to see if the private investigator can help warn her or save her from the threat of whatever is coming to get her.
It doesn’t take Higgins long to unlock the phone and locate Sharon Lim (Vedette Lim) and for she and Magnum to realize she and her doctor husband Michael (Hawaii actor Andrew Sato) are both in danger. After they rescue Sharon from Baxter, (Hawaii actor Dean Schaller) a thug keeping her hostage, they search Dr. Lim’s office and figure out that her husband had begun to suspect that one of his patients was a supposedly deceased gangster named Vinnie Black (Bob Rumnock). Vinnie doesn’t want anyone to find him, and so he wants to eliminate Dr. Lim and his wife so they do not talk.
Magnum and Higgins smartly get Katsumoto (Tim Kang) to help them figure out where Vinnie could be holding Dr. Lim, and hilariously it’s Jin who gets the intel they need. He uses Katsumoto’s blazer to impersonate a lawyer sent to help Baxter. Perhaps it’s the blazer, or the fake mustache Jin likes to use over his real mustache, but miraculously he gets Baxter to give him Vinnie’s cell number. Katsumoto uses it to ping Vinnie’s location and they move to save Dr. Lin.
Later, Jin tells Magnum, “I know I don’t have the best track record, but it was really nice to do something positive for once, and I want to thank you for the chance.” It’s the kind of thing Magnum always does — helping the underdog win one for a change. Getting to laugh at Jin’s zany antics, while falling a little in love with him during the episode, was just as fun. Let’s hope he returns so he can continue to improve his track record with Magnum.