ABOUT THE SHOW
Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 in first-run broadcast on the American CBS television network.
Private Investigator Thomas Sullivan Magnum resides in the guest house of a posh, 200-acre beachfront estate, known as Robin's Nest, in Hawaii, at the invitation of its owner, Robin Masters, the celebrated-but-never-seen author of several dozen lurid novels. Ostensibly this is quid pro quo for Magnum's services based upon Magnum's expertise in security; the pilot and several early episodes suggest Magnum also did Masters a favor of some kind, possibly when Masters hired him for a case. The voice of Robin Masters, heard only a few times per season, was provided by Orson Welles (one last "appearance" was provided by a different actor, Reid Crandell).
With Magnum living a luxurious life on the Estate and operating as a P.I. on cases that suit him, the only thorn in the side of this seemingly perfect lifestyle on the Estate, is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, a (on the surface) stern, "by-the-book" ex-soldier whose strict ways usually conflict with Magnum's much more easy-going methods. He patrols Robin's Nest with his two highly trained "lads", Doberman Pinschers, Zeus and Apollo. Often as a humorous aside during various episodes of the series, Magnum must bargain with Higgins for use of estate amenities other than the guest house and the Ferrari 308 GTS (e.g., tennis courts, wine cellar, expensive cameras). The relationship between Magnum and Higgins was initially that almost of a "friendly nemesis", but as the series progressed over the seasons, an unspoken respect and fondness of sorts grew between the pair, and as such, many episodes dedicated more screen time to this "odd couple" pairing after the relationship proved popular with fans.
- Tom Selleck as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV: Growing up in Tidewater, Virginia, Magnum is a Detroit-born third-generation naval officer, the son of a deceased naval aviator killed during the Korean War. He is a 1967 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where he played quarterback for the Naval Academy football team. He served as a Navy SEAL "operator" during the Vietnam War where he was trained in counter-insurgency, as a sniper, in lock picking, safe-cracking and assorted firearms including his favored sidearm, the Colt M1911 pistol he carried in the Navy. He resigned from the Navy in disillusionment after approximately ten years of service, including three tours of service during the U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War, his final post being with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), although the show referred to it as the NIA for Naval Intelligence Agency, in Hawaii. Asked why he resigned, Magnum explains, "I woke up one day at 33 and realized I had never been 23." Thomas begins the series at age 34, having resigned from the Navy one year prior. Magnum takes his job seriously and does not appreciate abbreviations such as P.I. or private eye — whenever referred to in such a manner he corrects the person and remarks that he is a "private investigator".
- Roger E. Mosley as Theodore Calvin, a.k.a. "T.C.": a helicopter pilot who operates a tourist charter business called Island Hoppers, wherein he pilots a Hughes 500D helicopter, decked out with distinctive livery. A former Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer and rotary wing (helicopter) pilot in Vietnam, T.C.'s combat-trained flight skills are often solicited and put to good use by Magnum during the course of an investigation. T.C. is also powerfully built, a trait which Magnum often benefits from when he expects to — and often does — encounter trouble. With the exception of some early season 1 episodes, T.C. avoids alcohol, instead preferring milk, soda, or fruit juice, but mostly coffee. He often called Higgins "Higgy Baby" and is coach of a local peewee football team. The episode Missing Melody centers around his daughter who has been kidnapped. He also has a son with ex-wife, Tina.
- Larry Manetti as Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright: a suave playboy who is manager of the King Kamehameha Club, an exclusive beachfront members-only club. In the pilot, Rick owned a disco themed Rick’s Cafe Americaine, where the decor was styled after the nightclub in the film Casablanca and Rick dressed like Humphrey Bogart's character, Richard Blaine in the movie. Rick also maintains a number of underworld contacts (one of whom is gangland figure Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler, q.v.). Rick, a former U.S. Marine, is an expert in weaponry, particularly submachineguns and pistols. He was T.C.’s door gunner during the war in Vietnam while both served in the Marine Corps.
- John Hillerman as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III: The majordomo of "Robin's Nest," a mansion in Hawaii. Higgins has a storied military background as a sergeant major in the British Army's Yorkshire Regiment [he often wears a blazer with that regiment's cap badge of galloping horse on the pocket] and loves order above all else. As such, he and Magnum frequently argue over petty matters, often culminating in his use of the phrase "Oh my God!" in response to some outlandish act on Magnum's part. An inveterate "old war story" teller, Higgins received the Victoria Cross. He is frequently accompanied by his Doberman Pinscher guard dogs, Zeus and Apollo.