Original air date Dec 16, 1982
Directed by Leo Penn
Written by Robert V. Gilmer
Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum
John Hillerman as Higgins
Roger E. Mosely as T.C.
Larry Manetti as Rick
Marcia Strassman as Karen
Kario Salem as Phillip
Peter Brown as Robert
Woody Eney as reporter
Edward Winter as Jorgenson
Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) was a triumphant blend of humor, action and drama. Unlike other entries into this genre, Magnum rarely descended to the unbearably silly, although it was often very funny.
This episode was mostly serious drama as Magnum comes to the aid of Karen Harmon, an evac nurse he knew from Viet Nam who is now a doctor. She suffered from post-traumatic stress and is accused of several murders in the hospital in which she now works. Magnum must find the real murderer and at the same time give his old friend emotional support. Peter plays the overprotective fiancé Robert who thinks having a private detective looking into things will make her look guilty. Of course anyone who tries to stop our hero from investigating automatically earns suspect status.
And Robert's fears seem to be realized when a reporter confronts Magnum and then quotes him in an article which exposes the fact that Karen had previously been treated in a VA mental hospital. Robert confronts Magnum. Magnum confronts the reporter, asking for the source of his information.
The only lighter moments in this episode come with Magnum's interaction with his friends who have been left to complete a project of which Magnum was supposed to be in charge. But even these moments further the plot as Rick's mobster friend Ice Pick is usually a good source of information. Magnum, as a Viet Nam vet clearly understands Karen better than Robert.
Magnum questions the hospital administrator Harriman who had been standing up for Karen. He falls under suspicion because he and Karen once talked of marriage. The doctor who started the investigation into the deaths of the three patients is also a suspect because his wife was one of the victims. He appears to be looking for revenge against Karen over his wife's death. Not surprising since a man whose wife has been murdered is always a prime suspect. And we get even more suspicious when Jorgenson goes to Karen with forgiveness. He urges her to accept her error and forgive herself. Shortly thereafter, a search warrant finds quantities of the lethal drug which killed the three patients in Karen's house.
Suspicion is shifted back to Robert when Rick tells Magnum that Robert has been scoring heroin all around the Island and is keeping a young woman at his summer house. Magnum goes out to the house and when no one answers his knock, he breaks in. However, this confrontation leads to the discovery that Robert's sister from the mainland is a heroin addict. Robert has been trying to wean her off the stuff gradually. It's pretty clear Magnum and Robert are never going to be friends.
Karen in the meantime is out on bail and waiting at the estate for Magnum. Higgins can tell she's at the breaking point and tries to talk her down. When Magnum goes to visit Karen in jail, the reporter, looking somewhat worse for wear, accuses Karen of trying to run him off the road. He informs Magnum that she's out on bail. Magnum scares him into revealing that the source of the information about Karen's mental treatment was Harriman. However, Harriman is eliminated as a suspect when he's found dead in his pool.
Back at the estate Higgins tells Magnum that Karen ran off while he was getting her tea. He also tells him that Dr. Jorgenson was denied admission to Higgins country club because of his extra-marital affairs. Bingo, we have a winner. Just as Magnum succeeds in talking Karen out of jumping off a cliff, Jorgenson starts shooting at them. He's no match for Magnum and TC. A murdering doctor brought to justice.
NiteOwl Review: Hard to find anything to fault in a Magnum episode. It was just a damn good show with a personable star surrounded by a number of good character actors. Reportedly Selleck was largely responsible for making Thomas Magnum a self-deprecating, humorous character with some endearing foibles rather than a "Bond type" too-cool-to-be-real super sleuth. Whatever the reason, Magnum held our interest for eight years and probably could have gone on longer. Selleck of course could have moved on to movies sooner had he not felt an obligation to the many people whose livelihood depended on the show. Peter had three good scenes in this episode and he looks great even in comparison to Selleck.
Official Peter Brown Fan Site