DVD Review: “Magnum P.I.: Season 1 – 3”

“Magnum P.I.: Season 1 – 3”


Fifty-Six Episodes

Developed by: Peter M. Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim

Featuring: Jay Hernandez, Perdita Weeks, Zachary Knighton, Stephen Hill, Amy Hill and Tim Kang

Detective Gordon Katsumoto: “Still don’t get why you guys are doing this.”

Thomas Magnum: “Mike and Terry wanted to free these people, and it cost them their lives. We didn’t know them but they’re still our brothers. We’re going to finish what they started.”

Released recently on DVD is the reimagining of the long running 1980s television series “Magnum” (1980-1988) that featured and made a star out of its leading man Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum. This new boxset, “Magnum P.I.: Season 1 – 3”, features Jay Hernandez in the titular role as a private investigator based in Hawaii who solves cases with the help of an eclectic group of friends and other contacts he has built up over the years.

This new iteration of “Magnum P.I.” centres on Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez), a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. A charming rogue, Magnum lives in a guest cottage on Robin’s Nest, the luxurious estate where he works as a security consultant to supplement his P.I. business. The “majordomo” of the property is Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks), a beautiful and commanding disavowed MI:6 agent whose second job is to keep Magnum in line, with the help of her two Dobermans.

As with the original series, “Magnum P.I”. revolves around Thomas Magnum, an ex-United States Navy SEAL who occupies the guest house on Robin’s Nest, the Hawaiian Estate owned by famous author Robin Masters. In exchange for allowing Magnum to live in his guest house, Masters writes a fictional book series about a “White knight” centered around Magnum’s time in the military. In addition, Magnum works for Masters as a security consultant; despite this, Masters never appears in the series. Also living on the estate are Juliet Higgins, an ex-MI6 Agent who serves as the estates majordomo, and native Hawaiian Kumu Tuileta, who is the estate’s cultural curator. In his off time Magnum solves crimes as a private investigator, often with Higgins who officially joins him as his partner in the second season. The two are frequently assisted by ex-United States Marines, Orville “Rick” Wright and Theodore “T.C.” Calvin. Rick is now a bar owner, while T.C. is a pilot whose main business is running helicopter tours of the islands. Gordon Katsumoto is a detective for the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) who frequently disagrees with Magnum’s investigation methods, but nonetheless respects his crime solving expertise.

All the reboot pieces are in place: Jay Hernandez is the new Tom Selleck. He’s a private investigator living in the guest house of an unseen millionaire’s mansion, and he’s working with a team of ex-military buds to keep the peace in Hawaii. This Magnum is lacking a mustache, but he’s still a charming Lothario who fits in a few critical shirtless scenes between skydiving in outer space and jumping from a speeding car to a flying helicopter without breaking a sweat.

Hernandez gives off the natural charisma needed to carry a procedural, and his cohorts are given brief moments to shine. The action scenes are so-so, even as the special effects are not that convincing but I assume this comes to the budget of the series overall. This new reboot fits within the new CBS model: easily digestible, easy-to-follow episodic action not far-removed from the network’s mothership formula, “NCIS.” To point out the flaws is pointless, given that things like disposable characters and questionable living expenses are baked into the recipe.


Season One

I Saw the Sun Rise: Former Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum settles into his new life as a private investigator and is pulled into a quest for vengeance and a hunt for Iraqi gold when a former war comrade is murdered.

From the Head Down: Magnum helps a struggling fisherman when his 30-pound tuna worth $350,000 is stolen, and discovers that the thief needs Magnum’s help too.

The Woman Who Never Died: Magnum is hired to find out the true identity of a man’s comatose fiancée when he learns that she’s had extensive facial surgery.

Six Paintings, One Frame: Magnum is arrested as the main suspect when a close friend of Higgins, an art connoisseur who hired Thomas to test his security, is murdered.

Sudden Death: TC asks Magnum to take on a case to help acquit the father of one of his young football players who is accused of murder.

Death Is Only Temporary: An aging tycoon asks Magnum to find his lost love, who supposedly died 30 years ago; Rick and TC help an injured vet adjust to civilian life.

The Cat Who Cried Wolf: Magnum takes the case of a little girl’s missing cat and, in the process, stumbles upon another cat’s murdered owner who happens to be an FBI agent.

Die He Said: A man dying of lymphoma hires Magnum to find his estranged, bone-marrow-compatible brother, who also needs his help.

The Ties That Bind: Magnum draws on his past trauma as a POW when he’s called in to help a teenage kidnap victim who escaped her captors.

Bad Day to Be a Hero: Magnum must help Rick’s crush after her illegal poker game is robbed by masked gunmen.

Nowhere to Hide: Higgins’ and Kumu’s lives are put in danger when Magnum get too close to a case involving a missing Russian fugitive.

Winner Takes All: Magnum and every other private investigator and bounty hunter are tasked to track down a man accused of murder.

Day of the Viper: Magnum helps Higgins find “the Viper,” the assassin who killed her true love.

I, the Deceased: Magnum investigates the murder of a man who, pre-death, hires Thomas to find his killer.

Day the Past Came Back: After Magnum is kidnapped, he discovers that his ex is on the island planning to steal a fortune in gold.

Murder Is Never Quiet: Magnum is hired by a woman to prove that her son didn’t kill his girlfriend, and has only 24 hours.

Black Is the Widow: Magnum poses as a doctor on a dating app in order to find a killer who may be preying on wealthy men.

A Kiss Before Dying: When the Dobermans dig up what appears to be a human bone, Magnum and Higgins help Katsumoto investigate the murder of his former mentor.

Blood in the Water: Magnum and Higgins are stranded at sea after being “yacht-jacked,” and must reach land before Higgins bleeds out and the culprits return to finish them off.

The Day It All Came Together: Hannah, Magnum’s fugitive ex, asks him for help finding her missing CIA father.

Season Two

Payback for Beginners: While Magnum waits for Higgins to decide if she’ll officially become his partner, he takes the case of a missing wife who witnessed her boss’ murder during a bank robbery.

Honor Among Thieves: An incorrigible pickpocket asks Magnum for help when a cell phone he recently lifted receives a very suspicious text message; When Rick decides to make a bold career move, TC comes to the rescue.

Knight Lasts Forever: Kumu and Higgins are in danger when Robin’s Nest is under siege by mercenaries storming the estate in order to find out the true identity of the White Knight, Robin’s muse and literary hero.

Dead Inside: When Katsumoto suspects that one of his fellow cops is dirty and has stolen evidence, he begrudgingly asks Magnum and Higgins for help; Rick and TC help Los Angeles Rams defensive Aaron Donald recover his stolen tablet.

Make It ’til Dawn: On Halloween, Magnum and Jin search for a skip-tracer at a Halloween bash, just as Katsumoto tracks an escaped killer who is headed to that same party.

Lie, Cheat, Steal, Kill: Magnum must help Abby when she realizes that the client she successfully defended in a murder trial is actually guilty.

The Man in the Secret Room: While Magnum temporarily works as the head of a hotel’s security, he investigates the death of a guest who was thrown from her room’s balcony while working on a secret investigation of her own.

He Came by Night: Magnum and Higgins’ new partnership is tested when they disagree about being hired by a woman who wants them to recover her $3 million in stolen drug money in order to save her husband’s life.

A Bullet Named Fate: A guilt-ridden Magnum follows the clues Harry Brown left behind when he was shot while working a case Thomas passed onto him.

Blood Brothers: Magnum, flooded with memories of his tour in Afghanistan, helps his fallen friend’s brother search for a now-grown Afghan boy who may have been a victim of trafficking.

Day I Met the Devil: Magnum is called up from the reserves for a top secret mission, but his friends are stunned when they learn that the mission is a lie and Magnum has been set up.

Desperate Measures: Magnum and Higgins help Tani Rey and Quinn Liu rescue Junior Reigns, who’s been kidnapped as leverage for the stolen list of undercover CIA agents.

Mondays Are for Murder: Magnum and TC go undercover as efficiency experts when a corporate manager is murdered and everyone in the office is a suspect; Rick is curious why Higgins faked an injury to prevent her from investigating the case with Thomas.

A Game of Cat and Mouse: When Jin learns that an innocent woman is the target of a deadly hit, he asks Magnum and Higgins to help save her.

Say Hello to Your Past: Magnum and Higgins must find Kumu when she’s kidnapped by an injured man accused of killing his wife.

Farewell to Love: Magnum and Higgins are undercover as a couple on a romantic bus tour when one of the love birds on the trip is murdered; TC is shaken when he runs into his ex-girlfriend who’s visiting the island on her honeymoon.

The Night Has Eyes: Magnum and Higgins search for a stolen urn of a woman’s deceased husband, but find that others believe it’s worth killing for; Rick and TC confront a man impersonating football legend Andre Reed.

A World of Trouble: As their wedding day approaches, Magnum and Higgins help a modern-day Robin Hood who, thinking she was helping a school, unknowingly steal illicit drugs; Rick helps a retired Marine re-enter the workforce as a civilian.

May the Best One Win: Magnum and Higgins are each hired by a different spouse who are in the middle of a contentious divorce to dig up dirt on the other; Rick and TC look into the death of an unidentified man.

A Leopard on the Prowl: Magnum and Higgins help Rick when his father figure, Icepick, just out of prison and battling terminal cancer, gets double crossed on one last score; Magnum makes one last bold move to help Higgins stay in the country.

Season Three

Double Jeopardy: Magnum and Higgins’ new clients hire them to find their missing brother, leading to Higgins being shot and TC abducted when a secret case of revenge is revealed during the investigation.

Easy Money: Higgins job to repo a plane goes south when she and Magnum discover that it was being used by a drug cartel who opens fire at the plane, forcing them to crash land in the jungle, where they find a stowaway on board.

No Way Out: As Magnum, Higgins and TC try to pull one over on a customs agent to get Higgins a green card, armed gunmen suddenly storm the federal building and start taking hostages.

First the Beatdown, Then the Blowback: Magnum and Higgins help an up-and-coming mixed martial arts fighter who is being pressured by a gang to throw an illegal fight. Kumu is arrested for stealing an artifact that should be returned to its resting place.

The Day Danger Walked In: As a major hurricane hits the Island, Magnum and his friends find shelter inside La Mariana, along with two armed killers also escaping the dangerous storm.

Tell No One: When a wealthy man hires Magnum and Higgins to find his missing wife, they are stunned when a tragedy occurs as a result of their investigation. Kumu’s suspicion of Maleah’s boyfriend creates a divide in their new relationship.

Killer on the Midnight Watch: When an overenthusiastic neighborhood watch group asks Magnum and Higgins to investigate a shady character living on their block, they are shocked to find that they may have inadvertently stumbled upon a serial killer on the loose.

Someone to Watch Over Me: When a young man in need of emergency surgery goes missing with a bullet lodged in his chest, Ethan asks Magnum and Higgins to find him before it’s too late. TC talks to a military recruit who may be enlisting for the wrong reasons.

The Big Payback: When Higgins is abducted, Magnum discovers it’s retaliation related to one of his first cases on the Island, and he, Rick and TC must break out an ex-client from prison in order to save her.

The Long Way Home: When an Army ranger goes missing after returning from deployment, Magnum learns of the traumatic news he received upon arriving home and must find him before survivor’s guilt consumes him.

The Lies We Tell: When a married woman asks Magnum and Higgins to find her lover’s killer, they find that the victim wasn’t who he claimed to be. Rick visits Icepick, whose health takes a turn for the worse.

Dark Harvest: When a Marine Corps vet’s SUV is stolen with her service dog inside, Magnum and Higgins must find the car, the dog and the car thief who they believe may be an escaped kidnapping victim.

Cry Murder: As Magnum and Higgins work a case to recover valuable stolen truffles, they also must care for a baby left abandoned at the gates of their estate, while Kumu tries to locate the infant’s mother.

Whispers of Death: A psychic hires Magnum and Higgins to prevent a murder she claims to have foreseen. Katsumoto questions Kumu when her information is found on recovered stolen jewels that once belonged to the infamous Imelda Marcos.

Before the Fall: Magnum’s uncle visits and reveals a shocking secret about his mother. TC asks Higgins for help when he realizes he may have witnessed a potential murder from his helicopter. Higgins decides it’s time to tell Ethan the truth about her past.

Bloodline: Magnum and Higgins work a stalking case involving a man with a past in espionage. Ethan asks Higgins to join him on an extended trip for Doctors Without Borders just as Magnum starts to open up to other possibilities.

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