Magnum, P.I. (1981) – Don’t Say Goodbye & The Black Orchid


Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) is back at it this week, with this double dose of episodes. First up is Don’t Say Goodbye, which features Ted Danson as a guest star. This one was written by Babs Greyhosky and T.J. Miles, who penned the original story. It aired 26 March, 1981.

Thomas is called to help out an elderly, blind friend, Agatha (Mercedes McCambridge) who is being blackmailed with information concerning her granddaughter, Amy (Andrea Marcovicci). And when the blackmail fails, there seem to be some half-hearted attempts on her life to scare her.

The further he digs into it, and a couple of bodies pile up, the more he thinks that perhaps Amy, sadly, may be involved, and after a verbal fight that turns into a lip-lock, Amy’s husband, Stewart (Danson), shows up and pops Magnum one, deservedly, but there is something undeniably going on here.

When Thomas learns the truth, he’s stunned, and unsure of what the truth will do to Agatha, but there’s a wonderfully poignant scene at the end of the episode, when things are resolved, and truths are outed. It was really quite nice.

This episode also featured a fun byplay between Higgins (John Hillerman) and Thomas over Magnum’s phone bill, which he insisted he paid, but Higgins didn’t believe him and was constantly giving him grief over, added to the fact that he was taking messages for Magnum on Robin Masters’ personal line.


The second episode, The Black Orchid (which will be featured briefly in my all time favorite Bellisario show a little ways in the future), was written by Robert Hamilton, and aired 2 April, 1981.

Thomas is hired by Christie DeBolt (Kathryn Leigh Scott) to entertain sister, Louise (Judith Chapman) with games. The entire family is well-off, and can afford to waste time in their little eccentricities, and Louise has an active fantasy life, one she wants to draw Thomas into by playing the role of the stereotypical gumshoe.

Reality and fantasy begin to blur when an actual attempt on Louise’s life occurs, and also causes damage to the Ferrari!

This is just a fun episode, and even Thomas can’t seem to take it seriously, constantly cracking up at what he’s been asked to do, effecting a Bogart-esque accent to talk to Louise, hiring Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) to menace he and Louise as thugs.

Things become a little more serious when Magnum learns about all the relationships in Louise’s wife, especially when it seems someone may actually be trying to kill her, but the sense of fun is rampant throughout this episode, and the inner monologue stuff is starting to sound very familiar, as the trademark “I know what you’re thinking” makes an appearance. I expect very shortly we’ll hear “the thing about paradise” and ‘when I write my book on being a private investigator.”

I can’t even convey how much I am enjoying revisiting this show!!!

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





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