Magnum, p.i. (1983) – Basket Case and Birdman of Budapest


Thursdays are always good, as it lets me dig into a couple more of one my favorite series… This week Thomas (Tom Selleck) has an interesting time of it.

Up first is Basket Case, written Julie Friedgen, that had an original air date of 3 February, 1983. This one starts off light enough, Thomas and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) are coaching two competing basketball teams, with a bet on to see who the better coach is, and with Rick (Larry Manetti) taking bets from all over the island.

When a young girl, Willie (guest star Dana Hill) shows up on the court, she proves herself to be a bit of a wiz on the court, and Thomas is eager to have her join, but she won’t play straight with him, and seems to have one lie after another to cover herself.

Despite lying about her family, she’s a member of a rather criminal foster family, Thomas has a soft spot for her, and she even clicks really well with Higgins (John Hillerman), and things look rather dire for her when her foster-father, Bob (William Schallert) forces her to go to dinner on the estate, allowing he and his wife, Vera (Jo Pruden) to sneak in with her, and rob the place.

Will she get caught, will Bob and Vera get caught… Well, Thomas is a private investigator after all… but who will win the game, and the bet?

The finale is a bit of fun, and I love seeing the camaraderie and competitiveness between Thomas and T.C.


Birdman of Budapest features Joseph Wiseman in a script by Louis F. Vipperman. This one aired 10 February, 1983.

Robin Masters’ old school marm, Elizabeth Barrett (Sylvia Sidney) is coming to the island to work on her book, and to conduct an interview with a reclusive birder, Dr. Albert Tessa (Wiseman). Unfortunately, she starts to drive Higgins up the wall almost immediately, and pleads with Thomas to please help her find Tessa.

Thomas is more than willing to help for some considerations and privileges around the estate, which he cuts Rick and T.C. in on to have them help on a case he’s been trying to resolve. This B-story allows for a quick guest appearance by Jacqueline Ray, Selleck’s wife at the time.

Things get a little more complex as Thomas tries to help Elizabeth out, chats with Tessa himself, and soon discovers that someone is up to no good, that there is a liar in their midst, and that perhaps Elizabeth is trying to get more than an interview from Tessa.

A fun episode, especially with Higgins coming to Thomas for help, as you can tell that within moments he won’t be able to handle Elizabeth. Very funny!

More next time!








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