Luther Gillis (Eugene Roche) is back in Hawaii for the first episode this week, A.A.P.I. This one aired on 22 October, 1986 and was penned by Reuben Leder. It seems Thomas (Tom Selleck) is being honored with the Local PI of the Year Award. Unfortunately, the presenter, Jean Claude Fornier (Paul Verdier) dies, and Thomas, Luther, and the other private investigators try to solve the murder.
Clyde Kusatsu returns as Gordon Katsumoto, as does Annie Potts shows as Tracy Spencer, and Stephen J. Cannell cameos as Ray Lemon, the hotel detective/security chief.
The episode opens with a great little black and white sequence that is a wonderful homage to the private investigators of the past, which features Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E, Mosley) as police officers, and Higgins (John Hillerman) as the police chief. It’s a great sequence, walking the line between melodramatic seriousness and comedy.
Everyone turns out for Magnum’s big event, including Carol (Kathleen Lloyd). And once Jean Claude drops, everyone digs in to do an investigation.
It’s fast, funny, and is a cavalcade of previous and new guest stars. Everyone is getting under foot, seeking out clues, and trying to outshine everyone else as they try to figure out what and who…
On top of that, everyone keeps hassling him about the award.
Everything in this episode is a lot of fun, and there are tons of nods to previous episodes, and a lot of humor. The dialogue is spot on, but at this point Leder has written so many episodes for the series that he knows the characters probably as well as those playing them. And watch for the other television series detective to kind of show up with look alikes.
Death and Taxes, which aired 29 October, 1986 and written by Bruce Cervi is a little more serious as a killer, Milton ‘The Ripper’ Collins (Kenneth Tigar) starts to call Thomas and taunt him with clues to the identity of his next victim.
The guest cast includes Jean Bruce Scott returning as Maggie Poole, and Joe Santos showing up as police detective, Nolan Page.
Collins uses nursery rhymes to supply his hints to Thomas, but on top of that, he seems to have an uncanny knowledge of Magnum’s time in Vietnam… He also wears the same ring as Thomas and the rest.
From the off you can tell it’s a serious episode, even though there is a fair dose of humor in it, especially in the dialogue between Thomas and the gang… but there’s pain in the form of the murders, and the fact that Thomas is being audited.
It’s dark, evenly paced, and a helluva episode, it also uses the track Mama by Genesis to augment a stakeout sequence (one has to wonder if they lifted that idea from Miami Vice?). As with the previous episode, there are callbacks to previous events and stories, and all of it works amazingly well as the cat and mouse game races to its inevitable conclusion.
Until next week, aloha!