Magnum, p.i. (1987) – The Aunt Who Came to Dinner and The People vs. Orville Wright


Thomas’ (Tom Selleck) favorite aunt, Phoebe Sullivan (Barbara Rush) arrives in Hawaii this week in The Aunt Who Came to Dinner. Written by Russ Mayberry, this episode aired on 18 March, 1987.

Magnum is delighted with Phoebe’s arrival, she is a successful and famous playwright, but it seems she hasn’t come for a holiday, she’s come to him for help, she’s convinced someone is trying to kill her.

Thomas is waiting through lines to get his private investigator’s license renewed, with some less than friendly folks, and there are forms, character references, and interviews to go through. This is something that T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti) give him grief over.

On the Estate, Higgins (John Hillerman) and Agatha (Gillian Dobb) are organizing a reading for a tea party, which is fun. And Agatha can’t help trotting out her CV when Phoebe arrives.

Thomas starts looking into Phoebe’s problem, though, officially he can’t now, as he doesn’t have a license anymore. But as he investigates, he starts to think there may be something else going on, that someone may not want her to produce another play… but there’s also the issue that Phoebe may not be entirely sound, and a little ill.

Most of this episode is a real delight, though for the first time we see more house staff than we usually do, maids, servers and the like; in this case, Lani (Katherine Kelly Lang). It sadly doesn’t take on the real issue of Phoebe’s illness as much as it should, but it is a solid episode none the less.


The People vs. Orville Wright aired 1 April, 1987 and was penned by Bruce Cervi. Rick finds himself in prison when he confesses to the murder of a suspected hitman, and Ice Pick (Elisha Cook Jr.) may be in more than just trouble.

It seems no one has seen Ice Pick since a violent occurrence, and Rick is on edge, and snaps at his staff and his friends, until Tanaka (Kwan Hi Lim) arrives at the club to arrest him for the murder of the man who may have offed Ice Pick, or perhaps the crime boss did it and Rick is taking the fall for him.

Even Carol (Kathleen Lloyd) is unable to help Thomas as she is going to be involved with the case, and Rick seems quite happy to confess to everything.

Thomas refuses to believe any of this, and works to clear his friend’s name, even if he doesn’t want to be saved. And even when he confronts his friend about the possibility of Ice Pick’s death, Rick is furious with Thomas, and their friendship is close to shattering.

Everyone continues to stand by Rick, even when he tries to drive them all away, and doesn’t seem interested in saving himself. Happily, Thomas sorts out what really went on, his friend is released, and Ice Pick is alive, and was unaware that Rick was going to take the fall for him. But, in the end, the episode ends very badly for Orville. I’m not sure how they’re going to sort that out…

Until next time Aloha!

magnum season 7



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