PREMISE: In exchange for providing security, a private investigator lives on a rambling mansion estate on Oahu's north shore in Hawaii and gets to drive the owner's flashy red Ferrari. Conflict occurs frequently between the p.i. and the stuffy British caretaker for the estate, Jonathan Higgins.

THOMAS MAGNUM (Tom Selleck) is somewhat psychic--he has "little voices" or hunches.

He grew up in the Tidewater area of Virginia. His great-aunt Phebe back in the Twenties wrote stories, was a member of the Algonquin Club, and had a wild imagination. His dad, Thomas Magnum Sr., died in Korea when Thomas was a boy. Mother, Katherine (Gwen Verdon) is now married to Frank Petersen. Magnum has a nephew in Tidewater, Billy. He has an widowed aunt, Phoebe Sullivan. His grandfather is Thomas Sullivan Magnum.

Thomas's "late" wife Michele is married to General Nguyen Hue (Soon Teck Oh); Magnum has a daughter, Lily Catherine Hue.

He is a former Navy SEAL and served 3 tours of duty in Vietnam.

His motto is "Life is hard, and then you die."

In voiceovers, he often admits, "I know what you're thinking, and you're right."

He often wears a Detroit Tigers baseball cap or a VM02 baseball cap.

He loves cigars.

He plays the saxophone, albeit not well.

Thomas drinks a lot of milk, followed by beer, brandy, and Scotch.

Nicely athletic, he plays beach volleyball, surf-skis, and takes part in the Ironman triathalon.

JONATHAN QUAYLE HIGGINS (John Hillerman) is the British majordomo for Robin's Nest, the estate of multi-millionaire author Robin Masters, author of books like BLOOD OF THE AUGUST KITTEN and FRUIT OF PASSION. (By the end of the series, we learn that Higgins wrote those books himself--presumably he hired the character voiced by Orson Welles to pose as Robin to spare himself social parties and publicity tours.)
The family has been in the peerage for 800 years. As the second son of the Baron of Perth, he is actually Baron of Perth, Lord Higgins, but with his brothers and their children, he'll never become the Duke. ("Echoes of the Mind"). His great-aunt Matilda was lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria and claimed the family descended from Richard the Lionheart. The family does trace back to Henry VIII. Father's great grandfather's aunt was the Duchess of Clyde, whose uncle on the mother's side was Earl of Throckmorton and nephew of Edward VI, son of Jane Seymour and Henry VIII. ("Faith and Begorra")

An expert at pool, he speaks Chinese and sign language, is a Doctor of Mathematics, was in MI6 in 1944 and again in 1986. He has and uses a short wave radio.

His half-siblings--father Albert Stanley Higgins is a big romantic--include Elizabeth Whitefeather, Katumalunga, Su Ling, Don Luis Mangueo, Father Paddy McGinnis, and Elmo Ziller of Hondo, TX (who met Jonathan on D-Day; he has a daughter named Lexie).

He brought 12 children to Hawaii after WWII as a member of the British Relocation Committee.

In Scotland, he was a commando, a member of the Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment ("Don't Eat Snow in Hawaii").

In India, in Benares after the war, he coached the regimental rugby team, working closely with military doctors. ("One Last Summer") He served two campaigns in India. One time, Corky Bostwick brought two untouchables.("Case of the Red-Faced Thespian")

In Burma, he took part in the Burmese Death March in the oppressive heat. ("Past Tense") Someone died in his place, as Mac did for Tom Magnum. ("Did You See the Sunrise") When a guide's village and family were destroyed, he held a knife to Capt. Graham's throat so they had to shoot him, in effect committing suicide. ("Distant Relatives")

In North Africa, a lad tried to warn of a regiment of Germans on their left flank, but he had lied too often and was ignored; only J.Q. escaped alive. ("Smaller Than Life") He once raided a Jerry supply dump with the lads and ran into some Bedouin women with a dromedary that spit all the time ("J. Digger Doyle"). He saw .00 load kill at 150 meters when out of water, had to steal it from the Jerries ("Skin Deep").

Higgins was at the Nuremberg trials in Germany ("Never Again, Never Again"). He played America's top seed tennis player in the Army, Tappy Larsen. About the time Gardner Malloy transferred to the Pacific, JQ parachuted into the Urals with a demolition team to infilitrate German lines ("Mixed Doubles"). In Berlin after the war, he was in deep cover MI6...Thomas cuts him off, but we hear that "she" plied him with a chilled vodka and they rolled on a bearskin rug. In moments, he found the microfilm hidden in an intimate place. ("Birdman of Budapest")

In Suez, the Egyptians had him completely surrounded....("Past Tense") Howedver, please note that the British fought the Italians in Suez in December 1940.

Higgins was shot in El Alamain and learned he has type AB blood ("Italian Ice").

For six months, he was in Turbia, a picturesque principality high in the Pyrenees, where monks had a vow of silence. He drove one to cursing him.

In North Africa, under Alexander's command, a group of Tuaregs caught him. He was unable to bribe them. It was 130 degrees in the shade. He was tied out in the heat without a hat in the Kutar, and was always afraid of the sun after that ("J. Digger Doyle").

The frightfully verbose Lt. Fabersham used to lecture them on the morals of the British soldier. One day, surrounded by Rommel's lads....("Basket Case")

In the summer of 1942, he transferred from the North African campaign to New Guinea, attached to the Australian 7th Division to push the enemy back against the line of mountains on the island, on the 100-mile Kokona Trail; one inch of rain fell in five minutes, and the black mud was full of disease. He was there six months. Starving, out of bullets, lost for one day, he found Sato's men. They exchanged rations for Sato's quinine. That entire day, Sato and JQ didn't exchange a single word. They talked after the war when he found Sato in a Russian camp, and later exchanged letters ("Eighth Part of the Village").

In August of 1942 in North Africa, enduring heat, malaria, bad food as the Allies prepared to take Tripoli, JQ tried to raise morale by organizing a basketball game and thought up what was later known as the 'floating zone' defense ("Basket Case").

In August of 1942 he was in North Africa when Inky Gilbert, owner of a carnival, went berserk and ran at a machinegun nest. Brother Donald ran after Inky and was badly burned. Higgins held position. Don became Guz Simmer, carny freak.

On October 8, 1942 he got supplies to Chinese guerillas high in the Himalays late in the year with 25 men and a Sherpa guide. They hit snow at 10,000 feet and were burdened by 50 lb. Packs; they lost the guide in an avalanche at 12,000 feet. ("J. Digger Doyle")

In Malaysia, the regiment was hopelessly outnumbered. During a lull in the battle, Lt. Ian Bodlerly recited "Gunga Din" so loudly the Japs were entranced and let the others escape while he roared Kipling; to this day his fate is unknown ("Who Is Don Luis Higgins....").

He was separated from his unit in a skirmish and spent 9 days alone hunted by the Japanese. Though he was shot when he tried to leap from a tree onto their squad leader, and he was armed only with a knife, he held all three men prisoner.

Early in the year, he was in the Abbey of Monte Casino, north of Salerno, "bloody mess." ("Basket Case")

In the Pacific, he spent hours before battles doing water colors. A lovely island maiden dragged him into her hut to view her primitive art. He spent several wonderful weeks with her and mastered the technique but not her talent. This was definitely a romantic interlude ("A Picture is Worth....")

JQ was with MI6 when the Third Reich put documents in a Mexican bank for safekeeping. He later hired Garwood Huddle to steal them. ("The Legacy of Garwood Huddle")

In Palestine, JQ led a patrol ordered to shoot Jewish refugees. He saw Rabbi Asher Solomon and friends on a tramp steamer lifeboat, and made an immediate sharp right turn and marched off. Years later, they met outside the British Museum. JQ says, "I was obeying a higher law that does not permit me to shoot unarmed refugees." ("Torah, Torah, Torah")

He was in Suez after the war ("Never Again, Never Again") and headed the British Relocation Committee, bringing 12 children to Hawaii ("This Island Isn't Big Enough...").

Jonathan Quayle Higgins graduated from Cambridge as a Doctor of Mathematics.

In the spring, General Chiang Kai-Shek in Kampoor gave him a Ming vase. He was a military advisor attached the Fifth Division. The general who refused his advice is now a dishwasher in a mediocre Mandarin restaurant in Stockdale, California. ("The Big Blow")

At some point during this year, he was in India and learned hypnosis. He used it when his sister lost the family brooch ("Missing in Action").

In Mandalay, when Burma gained independence, one of the lads got involved with the daughter of an Oriental tea merchant. He was an aide to former British governor and wanted to investigate, but political implications tied his hands. Finally they found the lad's decomposed body. It was awful, as he was the finest cricket player they had! ("The Taking of Dick McWilliams").

In India, Higgins was Lord Mountbatten's batman while the regular batman recovered from a mishap with a sacred cow. While getting figs for Monty, JQ saw a holy man who exactly resembled another. Terribly frightening experience. ("Mac Is Back").

His polo pony in Kwang Ju had an injured fetlock treated with lidocaine. The Sunday of the Queen's birthday party, Corky Bostwick lost control of a mare when the stallion on the other team gave a passionate whinny. ("One Last Summer")

He was in Calcutta in a dreadful prison cell ("Luther Gillis File 001").

Higgins was in Hong-Kong and was Sergeant-Major there to Brigadier-General ffolkes. ("No Need to Know")

He was in Korea and had to transfuse blood for a Turk hit by a sniper while penned down for two days in a frozen rice paddy; he used a stalk of bamboo. The sniper killed the Turk two days later ("All For One").

Also in 1951, he was in New Guinea, where Lt. Hilton Thorpe was staked out covered with honey, his eyelids slit; after that he had to wear sunglasses and hated sweets. (The lieutenant, that is.) ("Past Tense")

Jonathan was in Vietnam with French forces, and was chief consultant for Rand McNally when they updated the map. He stayed at the Hotel Royale ("All For One").

He was in Kenya and learned the ways of the Masai. He was present during the Mau-Mau uprising. They had been in the bush for one week when they found two missing privates, horribly mutilated. It was a full moon. At midnight, they found the Mau Mau killers, but Jonathan was slashed in the thigh by a panga. He sent the lads on. They tracked the Mau Mau to the village of Berebe, and massacred men, women, children. JQ reported it and requested courts martial for himself and his men, but he was absolved and the others just sent out of the country. The men included Private Buckminster, Private Taylor, Private Clutterbuck, Lance Corporal...("Black on White")

1953 or 1954
MI6 temporarily assigned him to help Scotland Yard when a lady's rugby team in the Midlands was terrorized by a demented chap with a passion for soiled sweatsocks ("Mixed Doubles").

He was deep sea fishing in the Keys with Ernest Hemingway in his ketch when the shortwave warned them of an approaching hurricane. JQ helped Ernest rewrite THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. ("The Big Blow")

In the spring, he was in Kenya, where he was the youngest in a squad of six spending three months watching the Andrews farm. He and the Andrews daughter Elizabeth took long walks in the grass, read Shelley, and listened to the BBC. But he was transferred to the front again. Four months later she married Dan Davies, a member of the new squad. ("Luther Gillis File 001")

In Geneva, he ran the Arlington Arms, a quiet hotel frequented by dukes, earls, and viscounts. ("Past Tense")

Higgins was in jail in Calcutta in 1949 and 1958.

In North Wales with the Army Investigative Unit, he had a fascinating case: a private killed a corporal in the latrine because the sergeant told the private all corporals are gay but straighten up again when they get their stripes. ("J. Digger Doyle")

Jonathan Quayle Higgins was hired by Robin Masters after Lowell Xavier Jamison was fired. ("Case of the Red-Faced Thespian")

In Cairo, he was briefly attached to the British Museum there and learned a thing or two about repairing vases and so forth ("China Doll").

Jonathan was the finest lawn croquet player in the Pacific (possibly a WWII event?)

In North Ireland, he was with MI6, attached to General Cornwall, the strategist. At the Queen's Birthday Ball, Bannister, a male operative who used drag, showed up in the same gown as Lady Ashley and caused a big scandal. ("Jororo Kill")

In Persia, he was midwife to a young Kurdistani peasant girl who spoke no English, so he had to render her unconscious. ("The Big Blow")

He was in Salzburg "back in-" but breaks off without detail. ("Legacy of Garwood Huddle")

In Albania, he was imprisoned in a zipper factory with Bertie Farnbush and his maiden sister, and used her hairpin to escape. ("The Return of Luther H. Gillis")

In Malaysia, he used acupuncture (at a guess, in 1943, I should think). ("Holmes Is Where the Heart Is")

In the Congo with the peacekeeping force, he interrogated Major Horling, a cold-blooded killer who worked with Lyden; he later showed up in the episode "Past Tense."

Babes In Babylon, Fruit of Passion, The Golden Spike, Tahiti Kill, The Seamy Side of Dawn, Golden Tradewinds, Blood of the August Kitten, Die and Die Again, The Treasure of Kalaniopu'u, Echoes of Ecstasy, Transitions.

Robin's Nest is protected by the Dracos III security system and The Lads, Jonathan's two beloved Doberman pinschers, Zeus and Apollo. The estate has a tidal pool originally built to hold sea turtles.

ORVILLE WILBUR WRIGHT III, known as "Rick," is played by Larry Manetti. He flirts with the outskirts of gangsterdom and runs the King Kamehameha Club. He was in Viet Nam with Thomas and T.C. Rick's parents died on January 23, 1958. He was born in Chicago.

THEODORE CALVIN (Roger E. Mosley), known as T.C., is a helicopter pilot and has a tourist business as Island Hopper. He was with Thomas in Viet Nam. Although he doesn't have a Southern accent, he was born in New Orleans.

DOC IBOLD (Glenn Cannon) was in Nigeria in the Peace Corps in 1963.

LUTHER H. GILLIS (Eugene Roche) is a recurring character, a 1950's sort of detective from St. Louis. He closed his office when Blanche, his lover/secretary, married an encyclopedia salesman.

MAC REYNOLDS (Jeff Mackay) is Magnum's buddy but gets manipulated by Buck Green and ends up dying in Magnum's place in a car bombing. The same actor later played a conniving con-man named Jim Bonnick or Neville Thompson, whom Magnum referred to as "Mac" after initially mistaking him for Mac.

Marine Colonel BUCK GREEN (Lance Le Gault)is the hardbitten former commander of Magnum, deeply enmeshed in espionage and having no qualms about entangling Thomas as well.

AGATHA CHUMLEY (Gillian Dobbs) is a British woman who helps Higgins with his cultural activities and nurses a secret crush for him.

ICEPICK (Elisha Cook, Jr.) is Rick's patron and an important (possibly retired) figure in the mobster circles. His name is Francis Hostetler.

LT. TANAKA (Kwan Hi Lim) dies in the 8th season.

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