YMMV / Magnum, P.I.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Magnum a hero or an Anti-Hero? The show plays with both, as Magnum is benevolent, but can be quite ruthless.
    • Is Higgins a Jerk with a Heart of Gold or just a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk? He doesn't really seem to like Magnum and doesn't really try to help that much (see "Thank Heaven for Little Girls and Big Ones Too" and "Tropical Madness").
      • Higgins more slowly warmed up to Magnum. After all, he is very British and Magnum is an American Surfer Dude.
    • While he had always been coarse and insensitive, could Magnum's stepfather Frank have gotten worse out of grief over the loss of his only child?
  • Awesome Music: The opening theme music by Mike Post.
    • The original theme by Ian Freebairn-Smith is also pretty catchy.
  • Crossover Ship: Almost a canon example. The end of the Murder, She Wrote crossover teased Higgins and Jessica Fletcher, although it never went past Higgins quite obviously crushing on Jessica, to her (and Magnum's) amusement.
  • First Installment Wins: Many fans actually prefer "Limbo" to "Resolutions" as a series finale, not because of Magnum's original intended fate, but because of the bigger risks "Limbo" took in its writing and acting.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In "Past Tense", Higgins explains that telling T.C. his stories after T.C. had been shot was meant to keep him from slipping into a coma. In "Under World", that's exactly what rouses T.C. out of his coma.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The bad guy in "Don't Say Goodbye" is played by Ted Danson, several years before he and Tom Selleck were two of those Three Men and a Baby. Unfortunately Steve Guttenberg never appeared on the show to complete the set.
  • Ho Yay: Between Rick and T.C.
  • Narm: Magnum during this exchange in "Skin Deep". Try and figure out why.
    Magnum: ...David hired me to find your lover.
    Erin Wolfe: I don't have a lover!
    Magnum: David believes you do, because of all the weekends that you disappear.
    Erin Wolfe: I was here! Alone!
    Magnum: David didn't know that. He figured wherever your lover was, that's where you'd be. That's why he hired me, to find your lover. And once I led him to your lover, then he'd kill all three of us.
    • When we first see Magnum spy on dangerous mobster Serge Bergos in "Innocence... A Broad", Bergos' bald head and sunglasses make him bear an unfortunate resemblance to Paul Shaffer.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Played with in "The Big Blow" and "The Case of the Red Faced Thespian", both with famous guest casts including James Doohan, Ronald Lacey, and John McCook (the latter in both episodes!). None of their characters turn out to be the attempted killer.
  • The Scrappy: While intentionally written to be annoying, Cassie Yates' characters in "Kiss of the Sabre" and "Photo Play" aren't well-liked by fans.
    • To a lesser extent, some fans aren't fond of Luther Gillis and Carol Baldwin for similar reasons.
    • Goldie Morris in "Old Acquaintance" is seen as a Scrappy Girl of the Week due to her Soap Box Sadie character.
    • Pamela Bates in "Novel Connection", as not only does she not tell anyone why someone's trying to kill her (after an attempt's been made, mind you), but she's an absolute Jerk Ass to Magnum to boot.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Episodes like "Wave Goodbye" deal with the PTSD of Vietnam veterans.
    • "Blind Justice" unflinchingly deals with domestic abuse.
    • "Find Me a Rainbow" centers around a black-market baby adoption operation.
    • "The Aunt Who Came to Dinner" made Magnum one of the first television shows to address the subject of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Special Effect Failure: The flying bats seen in "The Treasure of Kalaniopu'u" are obviously fake.
  • Tear Jerker: John Hillerman (Higgins) passed away at the age of 84 on 9 November 2017.
  • Throw It In!: "Don't Say Goodbye": Magnum pushing Amy Crane into the water then jumping in himself once confronted with Stewart's boat hook was ad-libbed by Tom Selleck. It wasn't part of the script, but was left in at Selleck's insistence.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Subverted. In "Blind Justice", Magnum discovers that the man on trial for murdering his wife is actually innocent (she had committed suicide after years of his abuse), but that he had also gotten away with a different murder years earlier. When confronted with this fact by Magnum, the wife's mother, while her reasons are totally sympathetic, staunchly defends her cover-up of the suicide to get her son-in-law on trial. What even the episode itself doesn't touch on, however, is that the person whom the husband did murder likely had a family themselves and who would be denied justice by the mother-in-law's actions, though the episode ends before the trial's verdict.
  • Values Dissonance: Even though it was an homage to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, there is no way in hell Patrick MacNee in yellowface disguise would fly on television today.
    • Ivan calling T.C. by the "N" word in flashbacks was controversial even for the 1980s, but it certainly won't be said on U.S. network television now.
    • Edwin Clutterbuck in "Black on White" casually uses the "W" word to refer to Kenyans, and while done intentionally to highlight his racism and Smug Snake character, such usage could never happen today. Unsurprisingly, his uses of the word have often been edited out of UK airings.
    • "Tropical Madness" and "Smaller Than Life" use the word "m*dget" a lot more than would be deemed acceptable today, making Magnum's Running Gag in the former episode rather cringeworthy to hear.
    • "Jororo Farewell": Even though it was for Danny Linn escaping the kidnapper's plane without telling him, the last scene of Magnum preparing to spank him would be seen as incredibly harsh today.
    • In "Skin Deep", Magnum says that women don't shoot themselves, hence his suspicions concerning Erin Wolfe's supposed suicide. While suicides by gun among women are still uncommon, the deaths of Shauna Grant, Mary Kay Bergman and others have made Magnum's words ring quite hollow today.
    • Higgins in "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" stages a production of The Mikado with a traditionally all-white cast, which goes on with no problemnote . Nowadays, he wouldn't be able to do so without public outcry.
    • "Luther Gillis: File #521": Good luck seeing an old woman being punched out cold for comedy on TV today.
    • Magnum, Rick, and T.C. calling Lady Ashley a "dog" from her photo in "Computer Date" comes off as cringingly sexist now.
  • Values Resonance: Any time a female character is said to have an unusual lifestyle or arrangement (sexually or not), Magnum never judges them negatively for it. Considering this series literally aired in the Reagan-era Eighties, this aspect has aged quite well.