Magnum, P.I. (1981) – Missing In Action & Lest We Forget


Thomas (Tom Selleck) takes on lost loves, broken hearts, and the military in this week’s two episodes. And while the theme isn’t in place yet (it doesn’t take over from the current them until Season 1 Episode 12 (next week)), it is woven throughout the episodes at this point.

The first episode Missing In Action, was directed by Robert Loggia (again) and written by Craig Buck and Ken Pettus, with an original airdate of 5 February, 1981.

For the first time, we get to see that Higgins (John Hillerman) is on the board of directors at the King Kamehameha club as Robin Master’s proxy. There’s also a new chanteuse there, Laura (Rebecca Holden), who has come to Hawaii in search of a long-lost love, Eric (Francisco Laguerela). The two of them grew up together, and she can feel that he’s still alive, is having visions to support the belief, and on the islands, despite word from the military that he’s missing in action, and possibly dead.

Thomas gets some help from the Navy, specifically, Lieutenant McReynolds, or Mac (Jeff Mackay, in a semi-regular recurring character), and finds himself going up against another recurring Bellisario/Cannell regular – Lance LeGault as Agent John W. Newton.

As Thomas investigates, he learns that Eric is still alive, and works for a highly secret military outfit that has had its cover blown. It forced the young man to go underground… and sadly, forces Rebecca’s visions to come true, as Eric, Magnum, and Newton all clash in a violent climax.


Lest We Forget, the second episode this week, is one of my favorite of the season, and features a great cast! It was written by Bellisario and aired 12 February, 1981.

A man, Robert Caine (Jose Ferrer) has been nominated as a Justice of the Supreme Court, but he’s been receiving blackmail letters coming from Hawaii, threatening to expose a wartime love affair with a prostitute, and an accidental homicide. Through flashbacks, we see a young Robert Caine (played by Ferrer’s son Miguel Ferrer) and his romance with Diane Westmore (Galactica’s Sheba Anne Lockhart).

Thomas runs down decades-old leads, that bring him to a musician who played in the club Diane worked, Tickler (played by legend Scatman Crothers), and we get the reveal that Diane, who Robert believed was killed when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, is still alive, and played by Anne Lockhart’s mother, June Lockhart.

As the two find their way back towards one another, they both realize there is still one party left alive, who knows about the murder, and is blackmailing Robert.

Happily Magnum puts it all together in time, and the couple, long separated, believing the other was lost, have a lifetime to catch up on.

There’s also a fun B-story that involves Higgins believing that Thomas is the T. Magnum that played on the U.S. Bridge team, and they need a fourth for their game. Thomas never admits to being the player, but he never denies it either, and is happy to exploit Higgins for favors until the truth catches up to him.

This was a great episode, man I love this series!

Tom Selleck in a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTS for Magnum, P.I.




2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tony Kim says:

    What was the title of the music played in ‘Lest we forget’?

    1. TD Rideout says:

      Good question! I know I recognized it, I’m going to have to refresh my memory by checking out the episode again…

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