Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Magnum P.I.: Hit and Run (Midseason Premiere)

This is one of the few shows on TV that features veteran characters who are not solely defined by their PTSD. Nevertheless, Theodore “TC” Calvin is currently in VA hospital, because of the gunshot wound he unfortunately sustained in the season 5A cliffhanger ending. He is understandably frustrated, but it is also worth noting he seems to be getting excellent care there, as my father did from the VA, despite how the media often smears VA hospitals. Meanwhile, life goes on for Thomas Magnum and Juliet Higgins when they accept an unusual case in “Hit and Run,” the midseason premiere of the Lenkov-verse reboot of Magnum P.I., which premieres tomorrow on NBC.

After a jokey prologue (which might in itself be notable for featuring a Russian oligarch as a bad guy), Magnum and Higgins get down to business. A hitman wants to hire them, via a planted burner phone, to protect the target of the contract he just refused. The mystery man kills for money, but he draws the line at a twelve-year-old girl.

Ordinarily, Magnum and Higgins would not be doing business with him, but these are extraordinary circumstances. Frankly, this could be a reasonably solid premise for a full feature. The scene in which they are hired is indeed fairly cinematic and the episode later echoes
Leon the Professional when their client takes on an active role protecting the girl. Few critics will ever mention it, but Paul Blackthorne gives a great guest-starring performance as the conscientious mystery man.

In between the action, Higgins and Magnum banter and wait for the results of her pregnancy test the way all couples should (but maybe often don’t). Viewers also frequently check-in on TC as he struggles to acclimate to his wheelchair, with the help of regular series crony Kenny “Shammy” Shamberg, whose legs were paralyzed during the Iraq War. It is still unclear whether TC’s lower paralysis is temporary or permanent, which further fuels his anger and pessimism. Yet, these scenes are also handled with a good deal of sensitivity and empathy.

Fans of the original might be right that the reboot cannot compare, but it is still probably the most veteran friendly show on television right now. Instead of suffering from flashbacks, a vet character like Orville “Rick” Wright gets to flirt with a much younger woman way out of his league in “Hit and Run.” Generally, Lenkov and the writers do well by vets.

It is also worth noting the next few episodes were obviously produced well before the Hawaiian fires, because the show always shows deferential respect for native Hawaiian people and their culture. Recommended a solid network TV detective series,
Magnum P.I.’s midseason premiere, “Hit and Run” airs tomorrow night (10/4) on NBC and streams the next day on Peacock.