The latest episode of Magnum P.I., “Birthright”, may not feature the most compelling central case. But it makes up for it thanks to some very strong emotional moments from Stephen Hill aka T.C., as well as Perdita Weeks as Higgins.
It all starts with a B&E. And old man named Gus is woken up by the sound of shattered glass. This isn’t a scared old man, though. He’s a tough nut, and he grabs a shotgun, fatally shooting one of two criminals and sending the other running for the hills. Then, for some reason, the story cuts to five days later, with Rick finally moving out of the Robin’s Nest to give Thomas and Juliette the alone time they deserve. T.C. and his adopted son Cade are helping the goofy bar owner move into his baby momma’s houseboat.
As for the client, that’s none other than the same old man that shot and killed a thief breaking into his home. Gus isn’t alone, though. His daughter Kerry lives with and takes care of him, and gives most of the details to Higgins. Where is Magnum, you ask? He’s with what he thinks is a new client. It’s a woman asking for his help. She suffered from mental illness and abandoned her husband and child, and now wants to reunite with said child 30+ years later. There’s just one little catch. Her child is named Theodore Calvin, or as we know him, T.C.
Higgins is helping track a stolen necklace, a family heirloom and the only remainder of Gus’s late wife. It quickly becomes clear that something is fishy about the burglary, such as how quickly the thieves found the necklace. Not to mention how it appears the windows were broken after they were already in the house. I instantly suspected that brother Brent was behind it, and he doesn’t help his case when he keeps pushing sister Kerry to file an insurance claim for the stolen property. Luckily, the flow of the case is more than a bit unexpected, and somewhat convoluted. But as someone that prefers surprises in stories, I’m okay with that.
Another good thing in “Birthright” is that Gordon Katsumoto is back on the job. Which means Magnum and company don’t have to solely rely on the whims of Detective Childs when they need help from HPD. On the negative side, Childs keeps stealing celebratory doughnuts offered by way of a welcome back to the force to Detective Katsumoto.
Magnum teams up with Higgins to investigate the girlfriend of the man Gus shot. She’s pregnant and wants to keep quiet, but eventually provides some key information. The living partner is a man named Nixon Haoa, and he’s a piece of work. He has a history of violent crime and served a five-year sentence already. Our intrepid duo tail him, and he stops in the middle of traffic to confront them, warning them off. To punctuate his point, he shoots out one of their tires before driving off.
This incident is used as an excuse to put out a BOLO, and Thomas and Juliette look at a likely fence that may have worked with the thieves to flip the necklace. Instead, they find a dead body of a man inside the building. Katsumoto and the HPD arrive to get evidence, and use the dead man’s face to unlock his phone. Inside, they find texts sent the night of the robbery.
While that’s all good and well, I did ultimately get a little annoyed by how meandering the storyline became. What I didn’t get tired of was T.C.’s emotional performance. At first he doesn’t want to see his mother at all, but Rick finally convinces him to talk with her, for himself if nobody else. They finally meet up and share a truly heartfelt and emotional conversation. T.C. finds it in himself to forgive her, but says she stopped being a part of his life a long time ago.
As for the main story, Magnum and Higgy find correspondence between Kerry and Nixon, which honestly shocked me. She claims she only mentioned the necklace to her prison pen pal by accident. Despite this, Higgy (and myself) weren’t convinced that Kerry had any role in the recent theft. Magnum does the good boyfriend thing and backs her up, even though he hasn’t come to the same conclusion. Then we get the real twist. Childs is stealing more doughnuts, and sees a picture of the necklace on Gordon’s desk. Just one problem: it’s a fake.
The truth is, Kerry replaced the real necklace with a fake a while back, and used the money from its sale to help her dad. We also learn that Kerry isn’t the only one in the family with a connection to the robber. Her brother helped him get a job once he got out of prison the first time.
“Birthright” ends with another break-in: Nixon stealing money from Gus and Brent at gunpoint, and Magnum and Gordon chasing him all over. Luckily, Magnum manages to use a car door to knock the criminal on his butt, and remove him from his gun. Then we get an emotional introspective moment for Higgins, as she feels guilty for putting her own mother in a facility years ago. She sees how Kerry devoted her life to taking care of her own father. Magnum is there to support her, though, and says he knows she did everything she could.
It ends with T.C. meeting up with his mom once more, being convinced to do so by his adopted son Cade, and they agree to try to include each other in their lives once more. A solid, if a bit all-over-the-place, episode. Here’s hoping they pick up the pace a bit next week.