Magnum P.I. (2018), the crime drama TV series set to premiere on CBS this autumn, is a reboot of the show of the same name which ran from 1980 to 1988.
The original 1980s series followed the adventures of Thomas Magnum, a Vietnam veteran and private investigator played, by Tom Selleck.
Jay Hernandez replaces Selleck in the 2018 reboot of the 1980s TV show. Hernandez’s Magnum is a decorated former Navy SEAL who becomes a private investigator in Oahu, Hawaii, after returning home from Afghanistan. He applies his military training to solving difficult cases with help from fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright.
It remains to be seen whether Hernandez’s modern take on Selleck’s iconic character will strike a chord with new and old viewers. Selleck is currently a producer and actor on CBS’ Blue Bloods TV series (2010- ), and although he gave his “blessing” to the reboot of his old show, he has declined to be directly involved in it.
While fans await the series premiere, we bring everything you need to know about the Magnum P.I. reboot.
Magnum P.I. (2018) release date
The reboot of the popular 1980s Hawaiian private detective series will debut on CBS Television Network on Monday, September 24, 2018, at 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET.
Magnum P.I. teaser
CBS revealed the first official photo of the lead actor Jay Hernandez in the driver’s seat of Magnum’s familiar red Ferrari 308 GTS. However, many older viewers did not fail to notice that the new Magnum is missing his trademark mustache, colorful colorful Hawaiian shirts and Detroit Tigers cap.
— Magnum P.I. (@MagnumPICBS) May 14, 2018
When Lenkov was asked why the producers chose to make so many changes to the show’s leading character, he said they deliberately wanted to “step away” from the Selleck version of Magnum.
“I think trying to clone Tom Selleck, trying to do that Magnum, that’s a slippery slope,” he said. “I don’t think we wanted to do that.”
But he hinted that the second episode of the show will make a reference to the Mangum’s “missing” mustache.
'Magnum P.I.' star Jay Hernandez on why he lost the mustache for the reboot https://t.co/mllw8l35dv
— Bill Frazier (@bfrazier65) August 31, 2018
“We are going to nod to it in the second episode,” Lenkov said, according to USA Today.
Magnum P.I. details
Magnum P.I. (2018) pilot is written by Peter M. Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, and directed by Fast and Furious (2009) director Justin Lin. The show is being executive produced by Lenkov, Guggenheim, Justin Lin, Danielle Woodrow, John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment. Lenkov has previously helped CBS to successfully reboot other TV shows, including Hawaii Five-O TV series (2010- ) and MacGyver TV series (2016- ).
CBS announced in February 2018 that Lenkov and Guggenheim were writing a pilot episode for Magnum P.I. (2018) directed by Justin Lin. CBS ordered the series pilot on May 2018, with Lenkov as showrunner.
#Congratulations @jay_hernandez for your new lead as #Magnum in the @CBS’s Reboot of “Magnum P.I” premiering later this fall. Read More https://t.co/lPZYmRhS1N l #WeAreInclusion pic.twitter.com/zh5tVL3xWU
— NALIP (@NALIP_org) May 23, 2018
The first trailer for the pilot episode was released on May 16, 2018, ahead of the series’ San Diego Comic-Con panel.
Lenkov announced on July 19, 2018, during Comic-Con, that Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O will have a crossover episode. He explained that Hawaii Five-O’s medical examiner Noelani Cunha, played by Kimee Balmilero, will appear in the first episode of Magnum P.I. (2018), while Kamekona Tupuola, played by Taylor Wily, will appear in the second episode.
He also revealed that Magnum and Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarret (Alex O’ Loughlin) will cross paths.
“The plan is to ultimately introduce those two characters, have them in a crossover episode, and at least have them know of each other,” Lenkov said. “That’s the fun of the fact they are both ex-Navy Seals.”
Magnum P.I. cast
The series will star Jay Hernandez, Perdita Weeks, Zachary Knighton, Stephen Hill and Tim Kang.
CBS first announced in February 2018 that Jay Hernandez will star in the rebooted Magnum P.I. series as the titular Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL and Afghanistan veteran-turned private investigator. Tom Selleck, who played Magnum in the original 1980s series, currently stars in CBS’ Blue Bloods TV series (2010- ).
CBS’s official synopsis describes Hernandez’s Magnum (2018) as “charming rogue, an American hero and a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan.”
Hernandez recently appeared in Suicide Squad (2016) as El Diablo, and in Bad Moms (2016) as Jessie Harkness. He starred in Six Degrees TV series (2006-2008) as Carlos Green, in Netflix’s fantasy-action film Bright (2017) as Rodriguez, and in the ABC series Scandal (2012-2018) as Curtis Price. He also appeared in Nashville TV series (2012-2018) and The Expanse TV series (2015- ).
CBS announced on March 2018 that Welsh actress Perdita Weeks will co-star in Magnum P.I. (2018) as Juliet Higgins. Weeks previously appeared in Ready Player One (2018) as Kira. She also starred in the Showtime drama Penny Dreadful (2014- 2016) as Catriona Hartdegen. She played Mary Boleyn in The Tudors (2007-2010) and appeared in a number of miniseries, including Titanic (2012- ), The Great Fire (2014- ) and Rebellion (2016).
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 2, 2018
Weeks’ Magnum P.I. character, Julie Higgins, an ex-M16 agent, is the property manager (majordomo) of a large estate in Oahu, Hawaii, owned by the writer Robin Masters. Magnum works on the estate as a security officer to supplement his private investigator business. He is luxuriously accommodated in the estate’s guest house.
CBS’ official synopsis describes Juliet Higgins as “commanding, confident, and tough, who uses sarcasm to deflect emotion and is hard to get to know.” She is a “beautiful and commanding disavowed MI6 agent whose second job is to keep Magnum in line, with the help of her two Dobermans.”
Older fans will recall that in the original 1980s series Higgins was a male character played by John Hillerman. Hillerman, who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Jonathan Higgins, died in November 2017, at the age of 84.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in August 2018, executive producer Lenkov defended the decision to make Higgins a woman in the Magnum P.I. reboot.
“First and foremost, I thought it was a boys club,” Lenkov said of the original series. “If you’re going to do it in 2018, you need a strong female voice.”
When asked why he chose to make Higgins, rather other supporting characters — such as T.C. Calvin (Stephen Hill) or Rick Wright (Zachary Knighton) — female, Lenkov admitted that he felt compelled to preserve the military veterans “brotherhood.”
“I did want to keep the bromance in terms of the relationship between guys in the service together,” he said. “I felt like I could get more mileage out of a female character in a conflict role.”
Other cast members include Zachary Knighton as Orville “Rick” Wright, a former Marine door-gunner and Magnum’s pal. Stephen Hill plays Theodore “TC” Calvin, a former Marine helicopter pilot who is also Magnum’s pal. T.C. Calvin and Rick Wright will assist Magnum as he works on difficult cases.
Tim Kang plays Honolulu Police Detective Gordon Katsumoto, and Amy Hill is cast in a recurring role as Kumu.
Kimee Balmilero will make a guest appearance in a crossover episode as her Hawaii Five-O character, medical examiner Noelani Cunha, while Taylor Wily will appear as Hawaii Five-O character Kamekona Tupuola. Steve McGarret (Alex O’ Loughlin) from Hawaii Five-O will also appear in a crossover episode of Magnum P.I.
Additional cast members include the stand-up comedian and actor Ken Jeong as Lee Ji-Won. Lee is a private investigator and Magnum’s poker friend. Ken Jeong appeared in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) as Goh Wye Mun. He also appeared in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) as Jerry Wang, and as Leslie Chow in The Hangover trilogy.
Carl Weathers will play Dan, a retired Marine, struggling to make ends meet as a fisherman. Dan will ask Magnum to help him find a 350-pound tuna he caught but was stolen. The tuna is worth about $350,000. Weathers is, of course, best known as Apollo Creed in the Rocky films.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) August 18, 2018
Magnum P.I. trailer
CBS released the first trailer ahead of the September premiere of the show on May 16, 2018. The video shows Magnum behind the wheel of his iconic red Ferrari 308 GTS. It gives detailed biographical information about each main character and promises plenty of action.
The video begins with Magnum apparently trying to break Alan Eustace’s (2014) space dive world record. Later, he performs a dramatic handbrake turn while shooting at a truck about to run into his Ferrari. He jumps on the truck as it smashes into his car.
As the truck and the Ferrari plummet over the side of a cliff, Magnum leaps in the air and grabs the skid of TC’s helicopter hovering above. He then turns to face the camera with a grin on his face.
When decorated former Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum returns home to Hawaii, he embarks on a new mission: Solving cases in style as a private investigator! With a modern take on the classic series, new drama #MagnumPI joins the @CBS fall lineup Mondays 9/8c. pic.twitter.com/8HoryTBQcI
— Magnum P.I. (@MagnumPICBS) May 31, 2018
Magnum P.I. plot
The rebooted Magnum P.I. (2018) will likely focus each week on a new mystery for the titular character and his colleagues to solve. The trailer promises plenty of exciting action.
The official synopsis, which describes Magnum as a special ops veteran, and a “charming rogue at home behind of wheel of Ferrari,” also informs that he will take jobs that no one else will and set about solving new cases with help from fellow vets T.C. Calvin and Rick Wright.
Magnum P.I.: Reactions
The diverse cast of the new series appears to be CBS’ response to previous criticism of a lack of diversity in its programming.
Commenting on his role in an interview with Variety, Hernandez said that casting a Latino in the lead role would help to fight negative stereotypes about minorities.
“There’s a lot of negativity attached to people of color,” he said, “so it’s really wonderful and bold and special to have this opportunity to put that imagery to tell stories and to be on TV and to have something up there that is in very stark contrast to a lot of what we’re absorbing on a subconscious level.”
Stephen Hill, who plays the helicopter pilot T.C. Calvin, echoed Hernandez’s sentiments.
“A Mexican-American Magnum is huge to me, I really think it’s awesome,” Hill said. “Especially in today’s political climate.”
However, the response to CBS’ Magnum P.I. reboot has been very divided, with many old fans and new viewers expressing their reservations about several aspects of the casting.
Some fans of the original 1980s TV series are skeptical of the success of the reboot due to Selleck’s absence. Selleck’s personality and charisma were central to the success of the original series. And this is not the first time in recent years that an attempt has been made to reboot or make a sequel to the original series.
ABC considered introducing a Magnum P.I. sequel that will star Mangum’s daughter Lily Catherine in her father’s career path, but the idea apparently failed to gain traction.