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'Magnum PI' is Back Because, Well, Why Not
September 24, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

Once the new Hawaii Five-O became a modest success, it was only a matter of time before Magnum PI got exhumed. No, it doesn’t need any more reason than that.

The new Magnum roars into action Monday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

If Magnum PI hadn’t already run for almost the entire 1980s, with Tom Selleck in the lead role, this new version would be just the latest CBS police procedural – pretty to look at, easy to follow, with a new outrageous crime for our good guys to solve every week.

It’s a winning formula for CBS. There’s not a reason in the world to change it, and the network certainly doesn’t here.  

As for the issue of this new Magnum being compared to the old one, let’s guess that CBS figures that won’t matter much. Since 30 years have elapsed since the original Magnum ended, the network is shooting for a whole new audience – and if any old-timers see this one and start missing Selleck, they can catch him in his current CBS show, Blue Bloods.

That said, the new Magnum keeps a lot of the trappings of the original while updating a few backstories.

The new Thomas Magnum, Jay Hernandez (top), doesn’t have Selleck’s signature mustache. He still lives on the lush Hawaiian estate of the elusive novelist Robin Masters. He and Masters just have a different connection.

In this incarnation, Magnum and his two close buddies – Rick Wright (Zachary Knighton) and TC Calvin (Stephen Hill) – were comrades in a military unit in Iraq and Afghanistan. They survived tough times and forged a lifelong bond that keeps them tight in the less stressful life they now live.

Masters, for purposes of this Magnum, was a journalist embedded with their unit, and he has drawn on their adventures to write his gripping bestsellers. In gratitude, he gives Magnum a place to live and access to many of the amenities of his luxurious life.

That includes very expensive cars that Magnum occasionally turns into scrap metal.

Magnum is still a private investigator, as the show’s title suggests, and we still see him savoring this tropical paradise, living a life designed to inspire deep envy in pretty much every viewer.

Selleck’s Magnum, fans will recall, always seemed to be surrounded by drop-dead beautiful women, most of whom he met on his cases. The first episode of the new Magnum suggests that dynamic may have morphed.  

The overseer of the Masters estate, instead of being a by-the-books old British ex-military man named Higgins, is a by-the-books young British ex-intelligence woman named Higgins.

Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) spends about five minutes being exasperated by Magnum’s “whatever” lifestyle and apparent indifference to the value of property.

Then we find she’s actually salivating to get back into the action herself – and rather well equipped to do so, with skills in both martial arts and computer wizardry.

If, you know, “it” ever happens, they would not be an odd couple.  

Magnum still interacts, not always harmoniously, with the local police. He also interacts with a couple of crossover characters from the new Hawaii Five-O. Hey, the Hawaiian islands aren’t that big. You’re going to run into people.

A whole lot of TV networks scramble these days to find something new. CBS figures that there’s still a lot of juice left in the old.

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Daniel Doherty
This will never be that. After this one I will go back to binging that one. It sucks.
Sep 26, 2018   |  Reply
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