Magnum, P.I. (1981) – The Woman on the Beach & From Moscow to Maui

MAGNUM P.I. -- Sleuth Series -- Pictured: 'Magnum P.I.' logo -- Sleuth Photo

Rick’s (Larry Manetti) broken heart ends up setting Thomas (Tom Selleck) on a ghost hunt in the first episode in this week’s double episode.

The Woman on the Beach originally screened 22 October, 1981, it was written by Andrew Schneider and directed by Bellisario. When a girl doesn’t show up for a date with Rick, who claims when it’s right it’s right – leaving Magnum and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) in stitches, he ends up meeting a beautiful young woman, Sara Clifford (Judith Chapman), in the King Kamehameha club. When she vanishes, he asks Thomas to look into it for him, and find her.

When he helps out, he uncovers a decades old mystery, and the fact that Sara Clifford has been dead since 1945, a victim of murder. When he investigates the location of Sara’s death, he encounters something, someone, who looks exactly like her. Not easily spooked, though his little voice makes sure that he investigated during daylight hours, Tom suspects there’s something else going on here, and as he and Rick run down leads, and learn more about Sara’s death, they discover a young writer, who bares an uncanny resemblance to Sara, Lisa Page (also Chapman), who is also digging into the murder in the hopes of publishing a book.

As Magnum, Rick and T.C. start, literally, digging up clues, the mystery of what happened, and who murdered Sara comes to light. But did Rick and Magnum see Lisa, or is there really a ghost wandering the grounds looking to be put to rest?

womanonthebeach

The second episode From Moscow to Maui aired 29 October, 1981, and was also penned by Andrew Schneider.

A Russian, Yuri (Jeff Pomerantz), who defected with a MiG jet, has arrived in Hawaii, trailing the Soviet track team, looking for an opportunity to get his fiancée Nina (Susan Heldfond). He hires Magnum to help him out.

The private investigator, with help from Rick, T.C., and even Higgins (John Hillerman) who distracts one of the Soviet watchers with a discourse on communism, stake out the team, and work to get Nina out. Things take a turn for the worse though, when after Nina has been whisked away from the Soviet clutches, Yuri falls into their hands, and Thomas has to save him before he’s shipped back to Mother Russia.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in the dialogue, and both of Schneider’s scripts highlight the friendships that play such a big part in the charm of the series, as well as the very fun inner monologues that have become such a staple of this show.

These kinds of stories, Soviets defecting to the West, were popping up all over the television week to week, so it’s no surprise that Magnum would get involved, but at least it’s handled with the same sense of fun that the series conducts itself. Not to say that they can’t do serious stories, because they do and they will. It’s the characters though, that make the show, and it is there interactions and friendships that give the show its lighter moments.

No wonder I love revisiting them.

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