Magnum p.i. (1982) – The Elmo Ziller Story and Three Minus Two


Season two of Magnum p.i. comes to a close with the two episodes this week.

First up is The Elmo Ziller Story, which aired 25 March, 1982, and was written by Robert Hamilton. Thomas (Tom Selleck) thinks Higgins (John Hillerman) is him on when he’s asked to protect Elmo Ziller, who looks exactly like a cowboy version of Higgins. Magnum is positive that Higgins is lying and pretending to be someone he isn’t, but Higgins insists Elmo is a half-brother.

Speaking of seeing doubleĀ Gillian Dobbs who will begin to show up in the series as Agatha, makes her second appearance in the series before she takes on the recurring role.

It seems someone is out to kill Elmo, or has already, but to keep the travelling rodeo safe from Elmo’s money hungry wife, Marcella (Barbara Rhoades), Higgins may or may not be taking on the role of his half-brother to keep the show alive.

Helping them out is Elmo’s daughter Lexi (Robin Dearden), and even T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti) lend a hand, serving as rodeo clowns.

Once the wicked stepmother, Marcella, is flushed out, and the truth is revealed, that Elmo is still missing, somewhere, and that Higgins was simply posing as his half-brother, a happy ending is had by all, as Lexi goes off in search of her father, Thomas gets a bit of a compliment from Higgins, and everyone is safe.

The best bits of this episode featured Thomas, Rick and T.C. sitting around laughing about Elmo, and then being unable to take Lexi seriously when she shows up.

A lot of fun, and the first time Hillerman plays one of Higgins’ relations.


Three Minus Two aired 1 April 1982, and was written by Robert Van Scoyk, it also features former Bond girl Jill St. John as fashion designer Jan Kona.

Jan is one of three members of a business trio, when one of them is murdered, Thomas learns that there is a survivor caveat in their agreement, if one or two partners dies, the survivor gets all of it.

T.C. gets to live a dream, when Thomas borrows one of Robin’s cameras so the helicopter pilot can pretend to be a fashion photographer and spends the afternoon shooting bathing suit models. The pictures don’t look so great though…

Things aren’t all light however, especially when Jan’s other partner turns up dead, and she becomes the prime suspect. Leads are slim and everything is strained, but Thomas is convinced of her innocence.

As the real killer closes in on Jan, Thomas hurries to reach her in time, having pieced it all together. But an angry killer, with a gun could be the end of both of them…

There’s some tense back and forth between Thomas and Higgins as the private investigator is being asked to move into the servants’ quarters for a period of time, and give up part of his claim on the Ferrari as access to Robin’s camera (happily Thomas figures out how to get both back by episode’s end).

Season 3 is on the horizon, but first, we’ll see if we can take to the sky again with Season 2 of Airwolf.




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