Magnum, P.I. (1981) – Mad Buck Gibson & The Taking of Dick McWilliams


Darren McGavin guest stars in the first episode of Magnum, p.i. this week. Mad Buck Gibson (McGavin) was written by Robert Hamilton and aired 26 November, 1981.

Thomas is hired by Joan Gibson (Vera Miles) to help her keep an eye on her ex-husband, Buck, until she can finally serve him with his alimony notice. Conveniently enough, Buck is staying at Robin’s Nest, as he is a fellow writer, though Higgins (John Hillerman) disapproves of him, as he tends to make a mess of things when he stays.

Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) are happy to have him around, as they are both working on novels of the same vein as Buck’s rather trashy work, and they want his opinion.

Magnum (Tom Selleck), however, gets a little nervous though, when Buck’s daredevil attitude puts the writer at mortal risk. He believes there may be something more to it than a mid-life crisis, and he hopes that maybe Buck and Vera could patch things up a bit.

Unfortunately, Buck has a serious problem, and in a rather poignant final scene, Magnum has to make a decision about what to do.

This is a really fun episode, with a really nice story, demonstrating that the series doesn’t have to be a mystery each week, instead it can also explore human stories, and have a lot of great moments, and of course continue to develop the relationships that we love to see between the series leads.

It also featured the first appearance of Gillian Dobb, who would become the semi-recurring character of Agatha, but in this episode is known as Nora Barnes.


The second episode The Taking of Dick McWilliams was written by Diane Frolov and screened for the first time on 3 December, 1981.

The best part of the episode is the subplot of who gave Rick a black eye, and the last moments of the episode with the revelation is priceless.

An old military buddy of Thomas’, McWillilams (Guy Stockwell) is kidnapped in front of his wife, Mitsu (Irene Yah-Ling Sun – who I just saw recently in an episode of Rockford). As she waits with Magnum for a phone call from the kidnappers, her father, Nishimoto (Tales of the Gold Monkey’s John Fujioka), stalks the sidelines, voicing his disapproval of the whole thing.

When the drop of the ransom money goes off without a hitch, but Dick still hasn’t been returned, Thomas starts to run down any lead he can find, but begins to fear that McWilliams was more involved with his kidnapping than just being the victim.

Thomas and T.C. do some island hopping in the chopper, and finally find him, but will it be too late to save Mitsu from the fallout that the kidnapping has caused?

Not all the stories have to be happy, and this one is very bittersweet by the end.

The series continues to be a joy to revisit, and I am loving every episode!

And happily there will be more next week!




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