Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Magnum P.I.: Consciousness of Guilt

Humor has always been Jon Lovitz’s business, but in the last few weeks, he has gotten pretty serious, becoming a social media warrior against anti-Semitism and 10/7 atrocity denial. There is nothing funny about either. You have to respect Lovitz for fighting the good fight, but we can still enjoy his regular comedic business. As it just so happens, he helps liven up the “Consciousness of Guilt” episode of Magnum P.I., which premieres tomorrow on NBC.

Magnum’s friend and eternally-patient police contact, Det. Gordon Katsumoto had a checkered run last season, when he was forced to instigate a prison break. As a result, he was suspended, but subsequently reinstated. Not surprisingly, the wealthy Tate Walker uses this history against Katsumoto when he testifies at his murder trial. Despite being guilty as sin, Walker wins a mistrial and Katsumoto is formally ordered to steer clear. Enter Thomas Magnum.

While reinvestigating Walker, Magnum learns his previous high-powered attorney dropped him right before the trial. Obviously, she cannot discuss her client, but as Magnum wryly observes, behind every successful lawyer there is a “shady detective.” For her, that is Pierre, played by Lovitz.

Series lead Jay Hernandez and Lovitz only have one scene together, a little more than halfway through the episode, but it is very amusing. Their verbal sparring has a nice snap to it. Frankly, Lovitz’s brand of comedic relief is much more palatable than Bobby Lee’s Jin Jeong, who gets too much screentime in the episode’s secondary storyline, working with the instantly remorseful Higgins. Perdita Weeks definitely gets more laughs than Lee.

Regardless, the primary murder case takes an interesting detour and the subordinate case has a relevant elder abuse angle. For series fans, this episode involves a lot of regulars, including Rick and T.C. It is well-paced and Lovitz adds some snarky attitude. Recommended for fans of the series and Lovitz (follow him on X), “Consciousness of Guilt” airs tomorrow (12/6) on NBC and streams the next day on Peacock.