Magnum, P.I.

Magnum, P.I. Information

Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 in first-run broadcast on the American CBS television network.

According to the Nielsen ratings, Magnum, P.I. consistently ranked in the top twenty U.S. television programs during the first five years that the series was originally broadcast in the United States. Originally appearing in a prime time American network timeslot of 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursdays, Magnum, P.I. was one of the highest-rated shows on U.S. television.


Private Investigator Thomas Sullivan Magnum resides in the guest house of a posh, beachfront estate, known as Robin's Nest, in Hawaii, at the invitation of its owner, Robin Masters, the celebrated-but-never-seen author of several dozen lurid novels. Ostensibly this is quid pro quo for Magnum's services based upon Magnum's expertise in security; the pilot and several early episodes suggest Magnum also did Masters a favor of some kind, possibly when Masters hired him for a case. The voice of Robin Masters, heard only a few times per season, was provided by Orson Welles (one last "appearance" was provided by a different actor, Reid Crandell).

With Magnum living a luxurious life on the Estate and operating as a P.I. on cases that suit him, the only thorn in the side of this seemingly perfect lifestyle on the Estate, is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III (played by Texas-born veteran actor John Hillerman), an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, a (on the surface) stern, "by-the-book" ex-officer whose strict ways usually conflict with Magnum's much more easy-going methods. He patrols Robin's Nest with his two highly trained "lads", Doberman Pinschers, Zeus and Apollo. Often as a humorous aside during various episodes of the series, Magnum must bargain with Higgins for use of estate amenities other than the guest house and the Ferrari 308 GTS (e.g., tennis courts, wine cellar, expensive cameras). The relationship between Magnum and Higgins was initially that almost of a "friendly nemesis", but as the series progressed over the seasons, an unspoken respect and fondness of sorts grew between the pair, and as such, many episodes dedicated more screen time to this "odd couple" pairing after the relationship proved popular with fans.

A recurrent theme throughout the last two seasons (starting in the episode "Paper War") involves Magnum's suspicion that Higgins is actually Robin Masters since he opens Robin's mail, calls Robin's Ferrari "his car", etc. This possibility is contradictory to numerous references throughout the series' earlier run (e.g. phone calls from abroad; the fact that Robin is recognised by famous people). Although the three of them have been together before, Magnum is convinced that Higgins hired an actor to play Robin Masters (a short rotund guy with an Orson Welles voice, as Magnum puts it). In spite of this, Higgins' dual identity remains an open question until the final episode, where he first admits he is Robin Masters, but later suggests what he had said about Robin Masters was a lie.

Aside from Higgins, Magnum's two other main cohorts on the islands are Theodore "T.C." Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), who runs local helicopter charter service Island Hoppers - and so often finds himself persuaded by Magnum to fly him during various cases; and Rick Wright (Larry Manetti) (who refuses to use his birth name, Orville), who owns a local bar. In the Pilot, this was "Rick's Place" in town, inspired by Casablanca, with Rick appearing in suitable 1930s attire. However after completion of the Pilot, executives on the series felt that audiences would be unable to fully connect with this element, and instead Rick moved to running the plush beachside King Kamehameha Club - which has exclusive membership and Higgins on the board of directors, and yet Magnum often strolls around, using the facilities and running up an ever unpaid tab, further fueling the Magnum / Higgins feud. T.C. and Rick are both former Marines from VMO-2 with whom Magnum served in the Vietnam War. The series was one of the first to deal with Vietnam veterans as "human beings" and not as shell-shocked killers, and was praised by many ex-servicemen groups for doing so. Magnum often dupes, tricks or bribes T.C. and Rick into aiding him in various ways on the cases he works on, much to their frustration, though the deep friendship between the group, including Higgins, proved to be one of the key elements of the series over its eight-season run.

Magnum seemingly lives a dream lifestyle: he comes and goes as he pleases, works only when he wants to, has the almost unlimited use of a Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole as well as many other of Robin Masters' luxuries. He keeps a mini-fridge with a seemingly endless supply of beer ("Old Dusseldorf in a long neck"), wears his father's treasured Rolex GMT Master wristwatch, is seemingly surrounded by countless beautiful women (who are often his clients, victims or connected in various other ways to the cases he solves). Other characteristics specific to Magnum are his thick mustache, a Detroit Tigers baseball hat, and a variety of colorful Aloha shirts.

Nearly every episode is narrated, in voice-over, by Magnum at various points; and Magnum and Higgins often break the fourth wall by locking eyes with or, occasionally, directly addressing the audience; other characters also do this, though less frequently.

At the end of the seventh season, Magnum was to be killed off, which was intended to end the series. The final episode of the season, "Limbo", after seeing Magnum wander around as a ghost for nearly the entire run-time, closes with him seemingly walking off into heaven. However, following outcry from fans, who demanded a more satisfactory conclusion, an eighth, final season was produced, to bring Magnum "back to life", and to round the series off. A number of other episodes also make reference to supernatural occurrences and the seeming existence of ghosts.

The show also recognized the existence of the fictional elite police unit that appeared in the series Hawaii Five-O. In the pilot episode, Magnum references the unit's chief McGarrett by name. This was a tribute to the long-running show starring Jack Lord, that ran on CBS from the fall of 1968 through to the summer of 1980"?-to be replaced, in essence, in the fall of 1980 by Magnum, P.I.. The show also did crossover episodes with Simon & Simon and Murder, She Wrote. The episodes "Ki'is Don't Lie" and "Novel Connection" begin respective plots that conclude on the Simon & Simon episode "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend" and the Murder, She Wrote episode "Magnum on Ice", both of which featured Tom Selleck as Magnum and John Hillerman as Higgins, while Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney guest starred on Magnum, P.I. as the Simon brothers A.J. & Rick and Angela Lansbury guest starred as Jessica Fletcher. For re-run and overseas purposes, the first half of these crossovers (the Magnum episode) also had alternate endings filmed, which wrapped the story up in a single episode and so allowed repeat showings to be shown as "stand alone" stories instead of being two-part crossovers.


  • Tom Selleck as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV: Growing up in Tidewater, Virginia, Magnum is a Detroit-born third-generation naval officer, the son of a deceased naval aviator killed during the Korean War. He is also a 1967 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Vietnam veteran, where he served as a Navy SEAL "operator". Magnum's specialized training includes expertise in counter-insurgency, as a sniper, and also in lock picking, safe-cracking, and assorted firearms including his favored sidearm, the Colt M1911 pistol he carried in the Navy. Magnum played quarterback for the United States Naval Academy football team. He resigned from the U.S. Navy in disillusionment after approximately ten years of service, including three tours of service during the U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War, his final post being with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), although the show referred to it as the NIA for Naval Intelligence Agency, in Hawaii. Asked why he resigned, Magnum explains, "I woke up one day at 33 and realized I had never been 23." Thomas begins the series at age 34, having resigned from the Navy one year prior. Magnum takes his job seriously and does not appreciate abbreviations such as P.I. or private eye — whenever referred to in such a manner he corrects the person and remarks that he is a "private investigator".
  • Roger E. Mosley as Theodore Calvin, a.k.a. "T.C.": a helicopter pilot who operates a tourist charter business called Island Hoppers, wherein he pilots a Hughes 500D helicopter, decked out with distinctive livery. A former Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer and rotary wing (helicopter) pilot in Vietnam, T.C.'s combat-trained flight skills are often solicited and put to good use by Magnum during the course of an investigation. T.C. is also powerfully built, a trait which Magnum often benefits from when he expects to — and often does — run into trouble. With the exception of some early season 1 episodes, T.C. avoids alcohol, instead preferring milk, soda, or juice, but mostly coffee. He often called Higgins "Higgy Baby." He is also the coach of a local peewee baseball team. The episode Missing Melody centers around his daughter who has been kidnapped. His ex-wife is called Tina and he also has a son.
  • Larry Manetti as Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright: a suave playboy who is manager of the King Kamehameha Club, an exclusive beachfront members-only club. In the pilot, Rick owned a disco themed Rick's Cafe Americaine, where the decor was styled after the nightclub in the film Casablanca and Rick dressed like Humphrey Bogart's character, Richard Blaine in the movie. Rick also maintains a number of underworld contacts (one of whom is gangland figure Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler, q.v.). Rick, a former U.S. Marine, is an expert in weaponry, particularly submachineguns and pistols. He was T.C.'s door gunner during the war in Vietnam while both served in the Marine Corps.
  • John Hillerman as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III: The majordomo of "Robin's Nest," a mansion in Hawaii. Higgins has a storied military background as a sergeant major in the British Army's elite 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards and loves order above all else. As such, he and Magnum frequently get into arguments over petty matters, often culminating in his use of the phrase "Oh my God!" in response to some outlandish act on Magnum's part. An inveterate "old war story" teller, Higgins received a Victoria Cross. He is frequently accompanied by his Doberman Pinscher guard dogs, Zeus and Apollo.

Recurring characters

  • Lt. Yoshi Tanaka "? Homicide-division police lieutenant with the Honolulu police department (played by Kwan Hi Lim), characterized by his casual dress and ironic sense of humor. He is also, like Magnum, a Detroit Tigers fan and is murdered early in the episode Tiger's Fan. Seasons 2"8
  • Agatha Chumley "? Higgins' quintessentially English lady friend (played by Gillian Dobb). Seasons 1-8
  • Colonel "Buck" Greene "? Marine Corps intelligence officer (played by Lance LeGault), often Magnum's nemesis. Seasons 2"8
  • Carol Baldwin "? assistant district attorney (played in all but the first appearance by Kathleen Lloyd). Seasons 3"8 (Before playing Carol Baldwin, Lloyd guest starred in the episode "Almost Home" as Bridget Archer.)
  • Lieutenant "Mac" MacReynolds "? doughnut-munching Navy Intelligence Agency(NIA) lieutenant (played by Jeff MacKay), killed off in the series by a car bomb planted by "Ivan", a Russian KGB officer and nemesis of Magnum's, for Magnum in his Ferrari, and later brought back as a ghost for three episodes ("Mac's Back", "Limbo" and "Infinity and Jelly Doughnuts") and then as a look-alike character (see below). Seasons 1"3 and 7"8
  • Jim Bonnick "? con man and an ex-navy pilot who was released on a medical discharge, (played by Jeff MacKay) who was also MacReynolds' look-alike. In at least one episode ("Mac's Back") MacKay appeared in both roles. Seasons 5"8.
  • Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler "? loan-shark and major underworld figure from Chicago and Rick Wright's father figure (played by veteran actor Elisha Cook, Jr.)
  • Dr. Ibold, M.D. "Doc Ibold" "? minor character (played by Glenn Cannon) who appeared in many episodes whenever a physician was needed in the script. First referred to as "Script Writer #1", he was known for writing prescriptions for opiates for any and all ailments. Seasons 2"8.
  • Michelle Hue "? the love of Magnum's life (played by Marta DuBois); they married in Vietnam but the marriage was erased legally and in Michelle's eyes when her presumed-dead husband, a North Vietnamese general, resurfaced); Magnum believed Michelle to have died during the 1975 evacuation of Saigon until her character was introduced in season 2's "Memories Are Forever." Seasons 2"8
  • Lieutenant. (later Lt. Commander) Maggie Poole "? successor of the deceased MacReynolds (played by Jean Bruce Scott). She dislikes her superior Col. Greene. Seasons 3"8
  • Luther H. Gillis "? mock-film noir private eye from St. Louis (played by Eugene Roche), and narrator of the five episodes in which he appeared. Seasons 4"8
  • Lt. Nolan Page "? a hard-nosed, no-nonsense police lieutenant (played by Joe Santos) with the Honolulu police department who helps Magnum on several cases. He also speaks with a New York accent.
  • Moki "? bartender of the King Kamehameha Club in Season 1. He was later replaced with Keoki. Seasons 1-2
  • Keoki "? bartender / server of the King Kamehameha Club starting in Season 2. He is arrested by Tanaka for trying to rob the club in the episode "I Witness". Seasons 2-4

Guest stars

Former Five-O cast members Kam Fong, Herman Wedemeyer, Harry Endo and Zulu guest-starred on Magnum, P.I.


Robin's Nest is the fictional beach front estate on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, which serves as the residence of the main characters. In the series, it is portrayed as owned by a renowned novelist Robin Masters, who is seldom present at the estate and entrusts Jonathan Higgins as the estate's caretaker and Thomas Magnum as its security expert. Higgins resides in the estate's main house while Magnum occupies the guest house.

In reality, Robin's Nest is a private residence owned by local Hawaiian politician Eve Glover Anderson, who is the stepdaughter of Cox Communications heiress Barbara Cox Anthony, the wealthiest Hawaiian resident until her death on May 28, 2007. The property is known locally as "The Anderson Estate."

The Anderson Estate is located on the east shore of Oahu at 41-505 Kalanianaole Highway (Route 72) near Waimanalo Beach (. It was built in the early 1930s, and comprises a large main house, a boathouse (which in the series, appears as the guest house that Magnum occupies), a gatehouse, a private tennis court, a beach front and the tidal pool.

In the Magnum P.I. series the estate was primarily used for exterior scenes set at Robin's Nest. Virtually all of the indoor scenes set at Robin's Nest were filmed at the Hawaii Film Studio.



Robin Masters' cars

  • ROBIN 1 -
    • Season 1: Ferrari 308GTS
    • Seasons 2-3: Ferrari 308GTSi
    • Seasons 4-6: Ferrari 308GTSi
    • Seasons 7-8: Ferrari 308GTSi QV
  • ROBIN 2
    • Audi 5000 Type 43 (C2) (1980)
    • Audi 5000 Type 44 (C3) (1985)
    • Jaguar XJ Series II (1974) (Season 4 "Holmes Is Where The Heart Is")
  • ROBIN 3 -
    • GMC Jimmy
    • Jeep Wagoneer (XJ Model)

  • Island Hoppers (TC's) van - Volkswagen Caravelle T3 Type 25
  • Rick's convertible - Mercedes-Benz R107


  • Island Hoppers (TC's) helicopter - Hughes 500D (various models)


Selleck's contract commitment to the Magnum, P.I. series famously cost him the role of Indiana Jones in the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which went to Harrison Ford. Selleck was unable to take the part of Indy as Magnum was due to start filming in March 1980. However, because of a writer's strike, the start of production on Magnum was delayed until December 1980, which would have allowed Selleck to play Indy. In Magnum, P.I.'s final season, the producers gave a nod to his sacrifice with the episode "Legend of the Lost Art", which parodied the film.

List of episodes

Main article: List of Magnum, P.I. episodes


  • United States (first run): CBS
  • Brazil : Rede Globo (as "Magnum")
  • Venezuela : Radio Caracas Televisión


  • Season 1 - #14, 16.77 million viewers
  • Season 2 - #17, 17.03 million viewers
  • Season 3 - #04, 18.80 million viewers
  • Season 4 - #06, 18.77 million viewers
  • Season 5 - #15, 16.66 million viewers
  • Season 6 - not in top 30
  • Season 7 - not in top 30
  • Season 8 - not in top 30


Selleck won an Emmy in 1984 for his portrayal of the title character. Three years later, co-star John Hillerman also won an Emmy. In 1981, series creators and writers Glen A. Larson and Donald P. Bellisario received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Episode in a TV Series.

DVD releases

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all eight seasons of Magnum P.I. on DVD in Region 1, 2 and 4.

DVD name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2* Region 4
The Complete First Season* 18 September 7, 2004 September 13, 2004 December 1, 2004
The Complete Second Season 22 April 12, 2005 July 4, 2005 September 19, 2005
The Complete Third Season* 23 January 31, 2006 January 30, 2006 July 12, 2006
The Complete Fourth Season 21 April 4, 2006 June 26, 2006 September 20, 2006
The Complete Fifth Season 22 October 10, 2006 February 12, 2007 March 21, 2007
The Complete Sixth Season 21 February 27, 2007 May 7, 2007 July 4, 2007
The Complete Seventh Season** 22 October 30, 2007 March 31, 2008 June 4, 2008
The Complete Eighth Season*** 13 March 4, 2008 May 19, 2008 September 3, 2008
Seasons One, Two****, Three & Four 84 N/A November 20, 2006 N/A
  • Region 2 release dates refer to the United Kingdom market only.
* Includes the crossover Season 2 episode from Simon & Simon titled "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend".
** Includes the crossover Season 3 episode from Murder She Wrote titled "Magnum On Ice".
*** Includes the bonus Season 5 episode from The Rockford Files titled "White on White and Nearly Perfect" featuring Tom Selleck.
****Includes a bonus episode from The A-Team titled "Diamonds 'n' Dust" and Knight Rider titled "Brother's Keeper".

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Magnum%2C_P.I." and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.66688299179077 seconds