Magnum, p.i. (1983) – …By Its Cover and The Big Blow


Stuart Margolin is back!

He directed an episode in last week’s installment, and this time he’s on-screen playing Rod, a character not so unlike Angel, the character he played on The Rockford Files, and first worked with Selleck, when he was private investigator Lance White.

… By Its Cover was written by Bellisario, Rogers Turrentine and Rob Gilmer and originally aired 31 March, 1983. Rod is an old navy buddy of Thomas’ (Tom Selleck), they were at the academy and did a tour in ‘Nam together. When he shows up on Magnum’s doorstep with a sob story about needing to get some encyclopedias delivered, he’s a salesman, or claims to be, Thomas and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) find themselves making a delivery of marijuana instead.

Rod talks about how he is being blackmailed by the cop who originally busted him, Donner (Ronald Hunter) into delivering the drugs, but Thomas isn’t sure he can trust his old friend anymore, and pulls in his parole officer, Ms. Gordon (Carlene Watkins) to help him out.

From there it seems to be one foul-up, betrayal, or lie after another, and Thomas is very close to his wit’s end in ever wanting to see his old friend again. Especially when a couple of local drug dealers threaten to rub he and T.C. out.

Not to be outdone, however, Thomas has a plan, and there may be a bit of a sting on Donner but the other folks show up to cause even more problems for the private investigator and his friends.


The Big Blow was penned by Reuben Leder. It first aired on 7 April, 1983 and features a bit of an appearance by Robin Masters (again voiced by Orson Welles). The Masters Spring Equinox Party is gearing up to get underway, and Higgins (John Hillerman) insists that it will go on, despite the warning of a hurricane, and even though Tom helps him out, it’s going to be a long night for the major domo and the private investigator. A table full of guests show up, including Archie MacPherson (James Doohan) and Duke Davis (Barry van Dyke), the latter leaving Thomas a little starstruck, because he plays for the investigator’s beloved Detroit Tigers.

There is a lot of fun dialogue, and the occasional shattering of the fourth wall, but things get pretty serious when Randy (Richard Cox), Lou (Kelly Ward) and pregnant Gail (Lori Lethin) show up and attempt to rob the house. Thomas tries to get them out as quickly as possible, because there’s more going on than he’s revealed, but when Gail goes into labour, everyone is there for the long haul…

Except, one of them is planning on killing Robin! This is why the party was organized in the first place, to give Thomas a chance to suss out the potential threat, and put a stop to it, but with a torrential downpour, a baby on the way, and an unknown killer in the house… things are going to get complicated awfully fast.

This one was a lot of fun!







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