As someone who regularly watched the rebooted Magnum P.I. I was pretty saddened when it got canceled. Thankfully, NBC took a chance and brought it back with a fifth season. After watching the first episode, aptly titled “The Passenger”, I think the show is on the right track, new network and all.
My biggest concern for Magnum P.I. was based on Castle, another show that decided to put its two main characters in a relationship. I used to adore that show, as much for Nathan Fillion as for anything. But the moment he and Stana Katic became a couple, the energy in the show suffered and the show pretty much fell apart. So given that the last we saw Magnum and Higgins they shared a passionate kiss, I had some concerns.
I am happy to say those concerns were unfounded.
For those unfamiliar with the series., Thomas Magnum and Juliette Higgins had a contentious relationship. At least at first. She would sick her giant dogs on him for fun, and refer to him as an “Uncultured man child,” which is honestly a pretty fair assessment given that Hernandez’s Magnum is reckless, arrogant, and charming in equal measure.
However, what wore Higgins down was that Magnum was also a genuinely caring individual. She started to see him as an equal and they eventually became partners. Then she had some sexy dreams about him, talked with her therapist, and eventually realized she needed to embrace her desires. Which led to the big kiss.
Now Magnum and Higgins are a couple, sexy shower time and all. But since she’s also very contained and intellectual, Higgy wants to keep their new status on the DL for the time being. Magnum wants to be upfront about it, and quips that all their friends are actively rooting for them to become a couple, but Higgins says anything worth doing is worth doing right. Besides, if her and Magnum don’t work out, it would make everything that much more difficult.
Their love life quickly gets interrupted by Kumu, who brings a new case to Magnum’s attention (Higgins is hiding under the counter). The new client is a woman whose husband seemingly died in a car accident. Supposedly he was alone when it happened, but there’s images taken by the traffic cam that show some woman was in the car. Though the client trusts her now dead husband, she still wants Magnum and Higgy to look into the case.
As for the rest of the crew, most of them seem to have made the transition to the new network intact. Rick, T.C. and Katsumoto are all back with small arcs in The Passenger. Rick is a new father, and spends most of the episode with his baby daughter when he’s not giving snarky responses to Thomas. T.C. spends the episode looking into a side story about Captain Buck Greene going missing. And Katsumoto, newly fired from the HPD, does a lot of soul searching. Sadly it looks like their other friend, Shammy, didn’t make the cut. Either that or he’s just not in this episode, but IMDB does indicate his part in the show ended in 2022.
Magnum and Higgins do their usual walk and talk private investigator routine. They flirt and banter, pick locks, leverage relationships for favors and generally get into trouble. Complicating things is that their friend in the HPD, Gordon “Gordie” Katsumoto, isn’t there anymore. They quickly meet his replacement, Detective Childs. As cold as Katsumoto could be, Childs makes him look warm and loving by comparison. Though it probably doesn’t help that he catches Magnum and Higgins flashing a fake badge while looking for clues in the dead man’s office.
Our P.I.’s find a trail pointing to a possible affair between their client’s husband and the woman in the photo, Melinda Parker. They find her custom fingernail in the wreckage of the car, and it looks pretty bad. Then Magnum does his best cop impression and gets footage of the incident, and finds out someone was chasing the doctor and Melinda. When they do some due diligence on Melinda, it looks like her husband has criminal ties. They go and speak with the couple at home, and though they put on a good show, Higgins notices Melinda’s hand trembling as her husband answers all the questions.
It all culminates in a dramatic sequence, as Magnum and Higgins try to rescue the woman being held against her will by her husband. Turns out, the dead doctor wasn’t having an affair, he was trying to get Melinda away from her abusive husband, who regularly beat her. He was killed for his nobility, and it looks like Magnum and Higgy will follow suit, as Melinda’s husband draws down on them. Until, that is, the cavalry arrives, with HPD sirens going off. When Magnum asks Childs about how he knew to be there, it becomes clear the new detective is manipulative and pushed the private investigators to act a predictable way, and then reacted accordingly. Childs definitely isn’t a friend like Gordon became, and possibly a threat.
The Passenger ends with Katsumoto finally being convinced to fight for his job, Magnum courting Higgins in Robin’s wine cellar, and T.C. trying in vain to find Greene. Then right when everything seems over, we get a scene of Greene. He’s been kidnapped by men who want to hunt down the teams he put together, and they plan on forcing him to provide the names of those individuals. People like Magnum, Rick, and T.C. A great start overall for Magnum P.I. Stay tuned later tonight for our review of the next episode, The Breaking Point!