Magnum P.I. is my favorite TV show of all time. Season 3 is my 2nd favorite season. (Season 2 is my favorite.)
Here are the episodes from season 3:
Did You See the Sunrise? – This 2 hour episode is my favorite episode of this season. This is a complex tale about the Vietnam War, a POW camp, physical and psychological torture, brainwashing, and assassination. This episode helped to define the intensity and seriousness of the series. Magnum has some very traumatic flashbacks to the Vietnam War. This is the episode that introduces the Maggie Poole character. This is also the episode where Higgins constructs his model of the Bridge On The River Kwai. We find out that Magnum’s favorite movie is Stalag 17. This episode is classic Magnum all the way through.
Ki’s Don’t Lie – This is the first part of a crossover with the TV series Simon and Simon. Morgan Fairchild also appears. An old Hawaiian statue brings trouble to anyone who possesses it. The complete story, including the Simon and Simon episode, appeared as bonus material on the season 1 DVD set.
The Eighth Part of the Village – Magnum goes to the loading dock to pick up a package for Higgins. The package contains a surprise.
Past Tense – T.C. is forced at gunpoint to fly into a prison and help one of the prisoners escape.
Black on White – This wonderful episode creates some humorous odd couple type moments as Magnum and Higgins are quarantined together in the guest house because they may have been exposed to “African Hemorrhagic Fever.” Meanwhile, Higgins is being targeted for assassination by an African Mau Mau who is sneaking around the estate. We hear some fascinating stories about Higgins’s military experiences in Kenya. Hearing that handheld Pac-Man game always cracks me up. Bibi Kiamini is such a babe!
Flashback – Magnum wakes up in the year 1936. Other than that, everything else is the exact same as it always is. This fantasy episode is highly enjoyable.
Foiled Again – Higgins enters a fencing competition. During the competition, Higgins kills his opponent. Oops!
Mr. White Death – Ernest Borgnine appears as a professional wrestler.
Mixed Doubles – Magnum is the bodyguard/babysitter for a spoiled brat teenager who also happens to be a professional tennis champion. Her character is so deliberately awful that the episode is kind of fun, in a cheesy sort of way. Just don’t take this one too seriously, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Almost Home – Magnum has to clear the name of a World War II soldier who was wrongly court martialed.
Heal Thyself – Magnum has to help an old military friend who has been falsely accused of murder.
Of Sound Mind – Roscoe Lee Browne appears as Magnum’s butler. Yes, Magnum has a butler, because he just inherited $50 million dollars. This crazily fun episode is a wonderfully humorous satire. The masquerade party is quite interesting.
The Arrow That Is Not Aimed – Magnum befriends a Samurai warrior, who is trying to protect a valuable ancient porcelain plate from 6 ninjas. This is a wonderful tale of friendship, action, adventure, and humor. I love the way that Magnum finds out which plate is the real one. This is a great episode.
Basket Case – Magnum acts as social worker for a teenager who lives with foster parents. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Not every episode is a winner.)
Birdman of Budapest – In this relatively bad episode, a guest on the estate is driving Higgins crazy. (And no, I’m not talking about Magnum.)
I Do? – In order to solve a case, Magnum pretends to be married.
Forty Years From Sand Island – Magnum tries to find out what really happened at a World War II Japanese internment camp.
Legacy From A Friend – Magnum has to solve a murder case.
Two Birds Of a Feather – This horrible episode was to be the pilot for a new spinoff series. Fortunately, the new series was never made.
By Its Cover – Magnum helps protect an old friend from a corrupt police officer.
The Big Blow – This is a cheesy satire of Key Largo. With a hurricane in progress, several guests are trapped at the estate. All the usual cliches are there, including a woman who is 9 months pregnant.
Faith and Begorrah – This masterpiece of an episode continues a running joke that was started in “The Elmo Ziller Story” from season 2: around the time of World War I, Higgins’s father served in the British military. As a result, Higgins has many illegitimate half brothers and illegitimate half sisters scattered all over the world. Naturally, this causes much embarrassment for Higgins. This time, the half brother is an Irish priest. Note how Zeus and Apollo react when Higgins tells Magnum, “He’s… illegitimate.” The desk clerk at the hotel is played by Donald P. Bellisario, the…
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I completely agree with the previous reviewer. I think Magnum, P.I. is a fantastic show, one that I definitely wanted to own on DVD. I had previously bought the first two seasons and had no problems with the DVDs. However, I’ve had nonstop problems with the discs from Season 3. Many episodes skip terribly, or stop in the middle and bring you back to the menu screen. One episode won’t play at all! I’m extremely frustrated trying to watch these DVDs, and I feel ripped off. For all the money these sets cost, you’d expect them to be top quality! It’s too bad for such a great show.
Magnum has aged much better than other Donald P. Bellisario shows and other action dramas of the 1980′s (like A-Team, Simon and Simon, Battlestar Galactica, etc.). Perhaps it’s the “exotic” locale (and the fact that Hawaii today looks very much like Hawaii of the ’80′s). Perhaps it’s the performances. I think it’s really because of the timelessness of the episodes – Magnum is so firmly grounded in its own history that it is a complete universe and each episode further strengthens the series as a whole. With this season, the full regular supporting cast is filled out with the first appearance of Carol, the District Attorney (although she is not played by the regular actress who, confusingly, does appear in another episode as a guest star).
It takes a while to build up a fictitious universe, which is why seasons 1 and 2 of the series are curiously normal – I don’t think anyone watching the average episode from those seasons would understand the huge cult following the series has. But, little-by-little, each episode added to the mythos, and it all pays off starting in Season 3. There are many good episodes (and, to be sure, some dreadful stinkers – noteably “Two Birds of a Feather” and “Basket Case”), but all of them are rooted in the histories of the characters, the history of the Hawaiian Islands, or both. Certainly, a big hurdle was overcome by the producers of the show when they refused to succumb to the obvious gimmicks of the show – the Vietnam vet angle, the Ferrari, the locale – instead incorporating the “gimmicks” into the fabric each and every episode. All the good shows of the series (and of this season) could only be told by this show. They include:
Vietnam vet stories: “Heal Thyself” – a nurse Magnum knew in ‘Nam is accused of murdering patients, and herself suffers from post-combat stress disorder; and “Did You See the Sun Rise?” – Magnum confronts a sadistic Soviet-Vietcong liaison officer he met while a PoW in North Vietnam.
Hawaiian Island stories: “Forty Years from Sand Island” – a murder at an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in 1942 has modern-day repercussions; and “Almost Home” – a grieving daughter tries to scatter her father’s ashes at the Arizona Memorial, only to discover her father was courtmartialled for being AWOL on the day of Pearl Harbor.
Other history of the characters stories: “Black on White” – while Higgins is recovering from his wounds, his unit commits a massacre in a Nigerian uprising in the ’50′s, and a survivor is trying to exact revenge; and “Faith and Begorrah” featuring the first appearance of Higgins’s illegitimate half-brother, Father Paddy, the drunken Irish priest.
The other hallmark of the Magnum series is the combination of heart and comedy – even the most dramatic episodes have moments of comedy, and there are a number of purely comedic episodes that contain a surprising amount of heart. Cases in point: “Flashback,” where Magnum literally dreams up the solution to a case he’s working on by transporting himself (in his dream) to 1936. Similarly, master ham-meisters Ernest Borgnine and Donnelly Rhodes (best known to Canadians from DaVinci’s Inquest, Danger Bay, and Soap) guest star in “Mr. White Death” and “…of Sound Mind” respectively, two shows that can only be described a comedies.
Overall, most of the episodes are good, and those that aren’t still have something about them that helps build the overall ambiance of the series. It’s certainly the best season so far.