The original Magnum PI, with Tom Selleck (and his mustache) starring as the titular private investigator, was by no means an exemplar of television at its finest. Rather, it was a hugely popular police procedural that combined the lead actor’s charisma and charm with the increasingly ridiculous cases he and his team faced. That is to say, the series that ran from 1980 to 1988 was pure, unadulterated fun and nothing more. So how does the new Magnum PI reboot, starring former Suicide Squad actor Jay Hernandez as a mustache-less Thomas Magnum, compare? Or, for that matter, is it even worth your time?
What is the Magnum PI reboot about?
The short answer to these question is, it’s good enough. CBS’ Magnum PI reboot is practically a carbon copy of the original, with new faces tossed into similarly procedural situations that typically involve crimes, capers and a couple of explosive action beats. Hernandez by no means boasts the same charm that Selleck did nearly 40 years ago, but that has less to do with the actor and more to do with being compared to Selleck.
Speaking of the 40-year gap, the premise is almost identical. After retiring from the Navy SEALs, Magnum moves to Hawaii at the invitation of an author friend whose many popular novels are inspired by the investigator’s exploits.
Magnum PI cast
There, he and his crew set up shop. Zachary Knighton and Stephen Hill play fellow veterans Rick and T.C., who assist Magnum regularly with his work. So too does the former British intelligence agent Juliet Higgins, played by Perdita Weeks, and her two “hellhounds.”
Their first adventure in the Magnum PI reboot pilot sees them trying to find out who tortured and murdered a friend of Magnum’s, despite the local police’s insistence that they stay out of it. Sure enough, the gang ignores the warnings of Tim Kang’s Det. Gordon Katsumoto and does everything within their considerable power to solve the case.
As for the long answer to the questions posed above, which asked if this Magnum PI reboot was worth your time, who knows? It’s difficult to judge a new series based solely on a pilot episode, but judging by CBS’ track record with reboots of classic series like MacGyver (in its third season) and Hawaii Five-0 (in its eighth), chances are the Selleck-less series will do just fine in the coming weeks.
Magnum PI reboot release date
Magnum PI premieres Monday, Sept. 24, at 9 p.m. on CBS.