Friendship is sometimes a delicate balance between feelings and actions. For Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez), his actions sometimes do the talking for him. In this week’s episode of “Magnum P.I.”, his friendship with Det. Gordon Katsumoto (Tim Kang) comes into question when Katsumoto hires Magnum and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) to investigate a dirty cop. Katsumoto believes that fellow detective, Richard Johnson (Sharif Atkins), has stolen evidence from one of Katsumoto’s cases.
The episode, “Dead Inside,” written by Barbie Kligman and directed by Krishna Rao, has Magnum trying to prove Katsumoto’s suspicions, mainly to convince Katsumoto to trust him again. He tells Katsumoto that he and Higgins will take the case pro bono if Katsumoto will finally forgive him for lying to him about Hannah and keeping him in the dark about Hannah’s father. Katsumoto tells him he’d rather pay, and Magnum realizes he has to work even harder to get Katsumoto’s friendship back.
Higgins is very astute in her thoughts about Magnum’s desire to make things right with Katsumoto. She tells Magnum, “when someone becomes your friend, like Gordon, you take that very seriously. And the idea that you’ve ruined something that important to you upsets you deeply.” It is one of the reasons why solving Katsumoto’s case is so important to Magnum.
HIGGINS’ FIRST CASE
Last week, Higgins agreed to become Magnum’s partner, and their first case has her doing the bulk of the work while Magnum “lives a charmed life of indulgence.” Magnum quips back “Our different skill sets are actually what makes us a great team.” It’s a moment of levity, as well as a comment on the fact that Magnum is right — Higgins is good at hacking and computers, as well as fighting and shooting, and Magnum is the observer that never lets a detail go unnoticed. And he can fight and shoot just as well. They do make a very good team.
Higgins checks out Johnson as Katsumoto thinks that Johnson stole the evidence as a payoff to free the defendant, Sean Akina. Magnum needs to find the connection between Akina and the detective. Instead, Magnum and Higgins find that Akina has a beneficiary who is funding his legal defense — his godfather, Macario Palakiko, a local drug lord. Magnum and Higgins realize that Palakiko could have gotten a cop, especially one who is dealing with addiction, to steal the murder weapon housed in the HPD evidence locker.
Johnson confronts Katsumoto about Magnum investigating him, and Katsumoto realizes he is wrong. Together, they figure out that the dirty cop is Johnson’s partner Det. Jim Dugan, who was shot trying to save two other officers the year before and is now addicted to drugs as he tries to deal with his chronic pain. His addiction led him to be used by Palakiko.
When Katsumoto confronts Dugan, who is his friend and someone he trusted, Dugan holds a gun to his own head and tells Katsumoto that he’s done and basically dead inside. Katsumoto begs him to drop the gun, and tells him “who you are inside hasn’t changed. You’re a victim of the drugs.”
Katsumoto tells him a painful story about his sister Kim, who was a drug addict. It is why Katsumoto knows what Dugan is going through, and promises Dugan he will not give up on his friend. Kang is really effective and real in this scene, where his character tells the story of giving up on his sister and cutting her off — which is the last time he ever saw her. Katsumoto’s story is heartwrenching, yet controlled so as not to come across as melodramatic. When Katsumoto visits his sister’s grave, apologizing to her for not being there for her, it’s a tearful moment, but one that perhaps brings Katsumoto some sense of peace. Both scenes show Kang at his very best.
A DELICATE BALANCE
The secondary storyline of the episode has Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC (Stephen Hill) helping to find a tablet belonging to special guest star Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who plays himself. The Rams are in Hawaii to play a preseason game, and the tablet contains his playbook. Donald wants to hire Magnum to find it. Yet, once Magnum and Higgins take Katsumoto’s case, Rick and TC take over and easily find the lost tablet.
While they are investigating, TC admits to Rick that he had been drafted into the NFL and played one season. It is how he met Rams’ defensive line coach Dawson (Paul Mabon), who helps get TC passes to a practice and tickets to the game. TC’s confesses that he was the last to be drafted, which is why he never told Rick and Magnum. As usual, the scenes with Rick and TC are too short and too infrequent. Their friendship and easy banter really make an episode special.
Likewise, the scenes between Magnum, Higgins, Rick, and TC, help put a spotlight on friendship and the aloha that exists between the group. When they all attend the Rams game, along with Katsumoto, Magnum asks Katsumoto again to forgive him. Katsumoto reminds Magnum that he has never apologized for what he did, and Magnum realizes that he is right. His sincere apology is easily given, and Katsumoto look and then his sudden smile says it all. It’s the perfect ending to the episode and one that reminds us about that delicate balance in friendship. Sometimes it is our words that speak louder than our actions.