After the heated two-episode return of Magnum P.I. last week, episode three, “Number One with a Bullet”, picks up the pace and tries something a little different.
Last time, Magnum and Higgins were always teamed up (in more ways than one). This week, Juliette goes on a mission with Rick, and Magnum and T.C. spend most of the episode together. Also interesting, Katsumoto gets a new temporary gig.
“Number One with a Bullet” starts with a flashback. Two years ago, Magnum and Greene were talking, and Thomas’ CO apologized for betraying him after his son was kidnapped. He says he should have known better than to trust the word of a criminal, but Magnum forgives the man entirely. Then we cut to modern day, with Magnum looking at Greene’s washed-up corpse. He identifies the body and is shocked when he hears no autopsy has been scheduled. The scene was clearly staged, but it worked and it’s believed Greene committed suicide. Luckily, Thomas pulls rank and demands an autopsy gets done and walks off furious and overwrought.
As for Katsumoto, he got a gig as private security to a K-Pop star named Rae Song. We get to see her in action in a catchy beach number and he drives around with her to prove his worth. At first, Rae seems like a pushy Korean diva, jaded and cynical, but we get to see a different side to her over the course of the episode. She’s kind and cares deeply about her fans, even though her usual security detail seems irritated by her.
Juliette rides with Rick to help him with a situation involving his liquor supplier, Kona. On the drive there, Rick tells Higgins his suspicions about Magnum having a new love in his life, though she plays coy since it’s obviously her. Then Rick worries this will be another brief fling for his buddy Thomas. It’s cute and we can tell Higgins is a little worried by Rick’s assessment. But that all gets swept under the rug as the situation gets complicated very fast. They arrive at Kona’s place and discover him dead on the floor, with several bullet holes and pooling blood. Worse, the men who shot him are still there and take Rick and Higgins hostage.
Initially, Magnum is only thinking about Greene’s death. He looks at his effects, a watch set to the wrong date. Then he gets to talking with T.C. and they both start to worry about why they haven’t heard from Higgins and Rick yet. Which is smart, since they’re busy digging their own graves as the two men that killed Kona holds them at gunpoint.
They try to buy time by informing the goons they can help them find what they were looking for at Kona’s place, a case of incredibly expensive whiskey. Rick even tries to pretend to be Magnum, but it doesn’t fly. Later when Magnum and T.C. follow their footsteps, they discover a cleaned crime scene before Higgins is allowed to call them and catch them up. Magnum only has a few hours to find the whiskey before both of his friends are killed in cold blood.
Back in private security, a super shifty-looking fan tries to suddenly attack Rae, but luckily Katsumoto intervenes. For his trouble, he gets stabbed, but he manages to keep the guy away from the pop star before he gets taken down by her regular security. As thanks, Rae and her manager come to check on Gordon in his hospital room, and his son Dennis nearly explodes in excitement. He tries to play it cool, but then his ringtone plays, and it’s one of her songs. As he leaves in embarrassment, Rae asks if Katsumoto would consider working for her full-time, but he declines, saying his life is in here. Though he promises to come see her live next time she’s on tour.
Magnum almost instantly discovers the trail of the stolen whiskey on social media. He then pretends to be his benefactor, Robin Masters, to deal with the man who posted about it. After a few questions and showing the man to be the poser he is, they find the guy who actually has the whiskey, and he’s somehow even more of a tool. He asks for Magnum’s sweet ride as collateral to get the whiskey. By way of a counteroffer, Magnum tapes him to a chair and takes his phone, along with the booze.
Though Gordon’s role seems finished, his cop instincts are bothering him, so he goes to HPD to get more details about Rae’s attacker. He meets up with his replacement, Detective Childs, and finds there’s no suspect. This means Rae’s security didn’t let the man go after they grabbed him. Something’s fishy, and it gets worse. When Katsumoto goes to talk with the head of security, he spots a star tattoo on his neck. The man evades his questions and throws money at him, hoping it will shut Gordon up. Instead, he keeps pushing with Childs and finds out that Rae’s entire security team are Korean mob. If that wasn’t bad enough, so was the man who attacked Rae.
Higgins and Rick try and fail to escape using Kona’s belt, and Magnum and T.C. arrive with the whiskey. That’s not all they have. They also know who stole the whiskey in the first place from Kona, and it was one of the men who took Higgins and Rick hostage. A shootout ensues, and both men end up deceased. Thankfully the Magnum crew get out relatively unscathed.
Cut to Rae at the airport and a frenzied swarm of cops descending on the scene. Gordon and Childs warn Rae not to leave, and that she’ll be killed by her own security. Apparently, she was going to leave her label, and in response, her manager concocted a plan to kill her and keep the money flowing with her music.
The episode ends with Magnum and friends drinking some well-deserved whiskey (thanks from the owner, not purloined booze) and relaxing. Suddenly the man from the morgue calls and the autopsy shows Greene died while being waterboarded, with broken ribs and a fatal heart attack. This means he didn’t give any information before he died, but it also means there’s a target on all their backs. As for the watch, it indicates April 5th, 2016, the same day the team was on a covert op in Afghanistan to take out someone named Hadid.
Overall “Number One with a Bullet” was another solid Magnum P.I. episode. I appreciate them trying to keep things fresh, as well as getting some backstory on Childs that makes me think I might have been too harsh in my first assessment of him. Check back next weekend for The Workprint’s next review of Magnum P.I.