Magnum, p.i. (1986) – Summer School and Mad Dogs and Englishmen 


It’s a pair of fun episodes this week with Thomas (Tom Selleck)! First up is Summer School, written by Bruce Cervi, with an original airdate of 9 January, 1986.

Tate Donavan guest stars in this ep as Robin’s nephew RJ, who has been sent to Hawaii, and the estate to be educated and refined by Higgins (John Hillerman) at Robin’s request. RJ has other ideas, and simply wants to goof around, and relax, and maybe even pretend to be a private investigator named Thomas Magnum.

Mirroring Magnum’s clothes style, but donning a Jays hat instead of a Tigers one, he takes on Charlotte Graham’s (Meredith MacRae) case, much to Thomas’ annoyance when he learns about it.

That annoyance becomes frustration and anger, as things spiral out of control when hitmen become involved and cause some serious problems for Thomas, RJ and Higgins. In fact, Higgins match stick model of the bridge on the River Kwai gets smashed!!

This episode races along, is filled with a lot of laughs, and a little bit about growing up and being true to yourself, something that RJ learns at almost too dear a cost.

It’s fun to see Magnum get upset on a level comparable to Higgins getting upset with him, and I loved that RJ echoes Thomas’ style every so slightly, hat, shirts, Ferrari, and could almost pull off being a private investigator.

There are also a lot of cool moments with Higgins and RJ as one tries to teach the other, and all RJ wants to do is sneak off the estate and have some fun.

This was a great one!


Mad Dogs and Englishmen was written by Jay Huguely and aired on 23 January, 1986. Thomas is dumbstruck when it appears that Higgins has been fired by Robin, and is being replaced as the estate’s major domo, by the seemingly unqualified, Ginny Malcolm (Darleen Carr).

Higgins is gone almost without a goodbye, something Agatha (Gillian Dobb) is shattered to learn, but is there something else going on here.

Thomas tries to reach out to Robin (Orson Welles voice is replaced by that of Reid Crandell, as Welles had passed by this point) and tries to learn what is really going on, but the author isn’t forthcoming. Still Magnum suspects that something more is going on, and tries to track down his friend.

It seems Higgins is back in uniform, and is working to stop a former comrade-in-arms from buying guns, and executing a coup. Thomas tracks him down, and hopefully he can save his friend, and find out what is really going on.

As the pair get caught up in an all or nothing shoot-out, they struggle to hold on long enough for T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti) to effect a rescue!! It’s a good episode, but I think they needed to shift the focus just a little more on to Higgins for this episode. Yes, we’re curious about how Thomas and everyone will find him, but I’d be more interested in the personal struggle Higgins goes through, lying to his friends and then trying to stop the coup.

There is also a nice breaking of the fourth wall, which always elicits a laugh from me, so until next time, Aloha!




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