MAGNUM P.I. Post-Mortem: Eric Guggenheim on the TC Twist, 5B's New Romance, New Foe, and a New Side of Magnum-Higgins - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

MAGNUM P.I. Post-Mortem: Eric Guggenheim on the TC Twist, 5B’s New Romance, New Foe, and a New Side of Magnum-Higgins

April 23, 2023 by  

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Charlie Foxtrot” Episode 510 — Pictured: (l-r) Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins, Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, Tim Kang as Detective Gordon Katsumoto — (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, April 23 midseason finale of MAGNUM P.I., “Charlie Foxtrot.”]

MAGNUM P.I. ended the first half of season 5 with an action-packed spring finale—with some major changes in store.

With TC (Stephen Hill) shot in the penultimate episode, Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Rick (Zachary Knighton) were in the crosshairs in the opening moments of “Charlie Foxtrot.” And while Higgins (Perdita Weeks) and Magnum managed to evade any real damage, Rick was kidnapped.

But Rick was captured by Nadine, who was seeking vengeance for the role the men played in the death of Hadid—her asset and the father of her child, Michael. (And Rick was the one who actually pulled the trigger and killed Hadid.) And when their son died, Nadine finally set about getting revenge…and was determined to get Rick to tell her how Hadid died.

Ultimately, the team was able to save Rick. But it wasn’t all good news: TC’s injuries were severe, and he couldn’t move his legs.

So what comes next? MAGNUM P.I. showrunner Eric Guggenheim talks with Give Me My Remote about the biggest moments from the first half of the season and previews what’s ahead, including a new romance, a new foe, and an important, emotional episode. [And stars Hill and Weeks shed light on TC’s upcoming battle here.]

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Birthright” Episode 507 — Pictured in this screengrab: Stephen Hill as Theodore “TC” Calvin — (Photo by: NBC)

Right now, TC can’t feel—or move—his legs. How will he and the team be handling this big change?
TC obviously has a pretty tough road ahead. I honestly love this story, moving forward, and how it unfolded. And seeing the Ohana rally around TC has been incredibly moving. Stephen’s performance in this particular storyline, it’s just incredible. Shammy is also a big part of that storyline moving forward, for understandable reasons. And Stephen and Chris have some really wonderful scenes together. [TC]’s in a real fight right now. And seeing the Ohana rally around him, lift him up, and have his back has been incredibly moving.

What was the process like in allowing TC to even temporarily grieve the life that he had, while not fundamentally changing the tone of the series?
We did try, as much as possible, to play the reality of what would actually happen in a situation like this. And actually I really have to commend Chris Thornton [who plays Shammy], who was so open with us, as he always has been, sharing his experience. Having his insight was just incredible.

Obviously, we spoke to some doctors, as well, because we did want to try and be as truthful as possible. But talking to Chris and learning about what would really happen in the days and the weeks that follow an injury like this, it was incredible to have that insight.

Look, the story could have been pretty dark. I think we handled it in a way that was honest. It was emotional. What’s also interesting is that it’s not just about that injury—it’s about how TC responds to the help that people are giving him. And how he responds to the Ohana, but also Mahina [played by Emily Alabi] will play a role in that story, and so will TC’s mom.

Is there any kind of time jump when the show returns for its second half of the season?

I don’t even know if you would call it a time jump, but it does pick up two weeks later.

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Charlie Foxtrot” Episode 510 — Pictured: Zachary Knighton as Orville “Rick” Wright — (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC)

Elsewhere, Rick made that really heartfelt video for Suzy (Betsy Phillips) declaring his love when he thought he was going to die…but deleted it after he was safe. What will it take for him to open up like that again?
First of all, thank you for saying that it was heartfelt. I thought the way it was scripted and with the way Zack played it, with the way Lisa Robinson, our director, staged it—I thought it all worked really well.

Their story, that Rick and Suzy story, will continue in the second half. That is actually a big part of the second half. Rick is obviously still very much in love with Suzy. But it’s still a question of whether or not those feelings are reciprocal.

So, Rick in the second half, he’s kind of at a little bit of a crossroads, asking himself, do I continue to pursue Suzy who has made it clear that she doesn’t think that there should be a romantic relationship? Or do I start thinking about moving on, and hopefully finding a connection with someone else?

Is there someone who will be crossing his path in the next batch of episodes? Or is it just a hypothetical person down the line?
Yes, there’s someone else. And we’ll meet her in the very first episode back.

What can you share about her?
Chelsea Gilligan plays a character named Piper, who works at the marina. And Rick is now obviously living on a boat in the marina. So it’s pretty fun; it’s actually a really fun meet-cute. Their chemistry is just terrific.

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Charlie Foxtrot” Episode 510 — Pictured: (l-r) Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins, Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum — (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC)

Speaking of romances, one of the fun beats you got to play with this season was the Magnum and Higgins relationship. As writers, what did you feel you were able to explore with them as an actual couple that you might not have expected when you were leaning more into the will they/won’t they of it all?
It’s a really good question. It’s funny, before we actually committed to doing it, we spent a lot of time talking about what [that relationship] would look like and what the stories were going to be, and what the scenes would look like. So, I don’t know that there was very much surprise, because we did talk about it extensively; we wanted to make sure that it was going to work before we actually committed to doing it.

I will say that in the second half of the season, writing Miggins was a lot of fun. The first half was obviously…it was romantic and it was fun, it was sexy, but it was very much the honeymoon phase. In the second half, they kind of moved from the honeymoon phase to the couple stage, or the “Okay, now we’re getting serious” stage. So it’s a little bit different than the first half.

I mean, there’s still a lot of fun, but things are gonna come up, and they’re going to start to wonder if they’re as aligned as they thought. So, for us, there was more surprise I think in the second half as we started to figure out how they feel about certain things. How they feel about children, for example. What their views on religion or spirituality [might be]. And we started diving into them more as characters, and there were some surprises where we landed. There were more discoveries in the second half than in the first half.

Are you able to showcase more of their relationship in this “established couple” stage, because those conversations and beats can be more easily worked into the cases they’re working on?
Yeah. A lot of these conversations do come out of the cases that they’re working; there’s something in some of these cases that will spark a conversation, a personal conversation between them.

To some degree, that’s always been the show. Oftentimes, when we’re breaking the stories, we start by trying to figure out, well, what is it about Magnum that we want to explore? What’s the interesting conflict or debate between Magnum and Higgins here? And then that informs the story we tell, the case that we’re telling. But it happens a lot actually in the second half of the season. Inevitably, these questions will come up as a result of working these cases. They’re not as aligned as they thought, in a lot of cases.

The Greene arc was the throughline for the first ten episodes, and we got a resolution for who was looking for the guys and why. But is that storyline done-done? And if so, who will be their next foe?
The Greene arc is done at the end of episode 10…But obviously, there was a cost—TC has suffered a very serious injury. The first half of part two will be about how he handles that injury moving forward.

Actually, midway through part two, we’re going to introduce the new antagonist, who’s played by the incredible Patrick Fabian from BETTER CALL SAUL [playing Sam Bedrosian]. He appears in episode 16. And he’s a new threat to them, to Magnum and Higgins, moving forward.

How does he differ from the foes we’ve seen in the past?
He doesn’t have a military background. He’s actually a well-respected and successful businessman, who, outwardly, he’s a pillar of the community. But how he amassed his fortune and how he’s growing it and how he’s keeping it—he’s involved in some pretty shady things.

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Charlie Foxtrot” Episode 510 — Pictured: (l-r) Amy Hill as Teuila “Kumu” Tuileta, Martin Martinez as Cade — (Photo by: NBC)

What else are you able to tease about these next ten episodes?
I will say that there’s a lot more action in the second half. The set pieces are bigger and more frequent than they were in the first half.

There’s not one arc like the Greene arc. Instead, we made decisions to tell multiple stories over multiple episodes that are a little bit more character-driven. Rick has a storyline. TC has a storyline. Kumu has a couple of really interesting standalone stories.

We are doing a story that revolves around Japanese internment during World War II. It features Sab Shimono, who’s probably best known from GUNG HO and PRESUMED INNOCENT. And Sab was actually interned in a camp in California as a child. So having him on the show, playing a man in his 80s who had been interned, was really poignant, and it was a real honor—that’ll be episode 13.

One thing that we’ll continue to do is change up the pairings a little bit. We’ve got Magnum and Rick working a case together. We’ve got Higgins and Jin working a case together. We’ve got Magnum and Katsumoto working a case together. And Shammy is a big part of TC’s story. So we’re gonna see a lot more Chris in the second half…Judith [Scott] coming back in the second half as TC’s mom. Martin Martinez [who plays Cade] will be in the second half. A lot of our recurring characters are prominently featured in the second half.

Looking at the pairings that you’ve changed up so far, how much has that been the dynamics you wanted to see together versus a production necessity?
Mostly it’s a creative decision. It’s funny, the story with, for example, Higgins and Jin, they had scenes together in season 2, and they were a lot of fun and we’ve been meaning to get them in scenes together, just the two of them again. And when Perdi was prepping her episode—which was episode 18—that she was going to direct, we had to keep her light in episode 17. So we couldn’t have her working with Magnum for any real length of time in that episode—we made the decision to pair her up with Jin. There’s a really fun Jin story in that episode, and Higgins helps out Jin. And so obviously it did work for us, as far as production goes, but it’s also something we’ve been meaning to do, and we’ve been wanting to do, for a few years. Because that pairing is just—there’s just something about it. They’re so incredibly different, so the two of them sharing the screen together is just a lot of fun.

MAGNUM PI season 5b spoilers

MAGNUM P.I. — “Charlie Foxtrot” Episode 510 — Pictured: (l-r) Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins — (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC)

Looking to the show’s overall future, do you expect to get word on a possible season 6 soon-ish? Or do you expect not to know until the next batch of episodes air?
I think we’ll know if there’s another season before these episodes start to air. These episodes [could] air in the fall or they could be held until January. My hunch is that it’s gonna depend on what happens if there’s a work stoppage [with the potential WGA strike] or not—I think that will influence when those episodes air. But that’s just my hunch.

How did that question mark about the show’s future play into how you crafted the end of the season, AKA episode 20?
Well, much in the same way we ended episode 10: there are some threads dangling that will be picked up in the second half. [Episode] 20 ends in a similar fashion. There’s a real sort of ending, but there are also some things that are left unresolved that we would pick up if there were another season. We did want to have a definitive ending for the season in 20, just as we wanted to have a definitive ending in the spring finale.


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4 Responses to “MAGNUM P.I. Post-Mortem: Eric Guggenheim on the TC Twist, 5B’s New Romance, New Foe, and a New Side of Magnum-Higgins”

  1. Steve Enderley on April 24th, 2023 2:53 pm

    I’m so glad NBC picked up Magnum PI. This show is awesome and it shows how these veterans are a family and stick together to help each out. Plus, the shows good for Hawaii. This is one of the better shows on TV.

  2. Roni Stern on April 25th, 2023 2:32 pm

    Thank you so much for picking up Magnum P.I. We were really upset with CBS
    and the decision to cancel.
    You saved our distress 🤙🏼😎🌈🌺

  3. Lorrey Farrell on April 25th, 2023 7:08 pm

    Love that my favorite show was rescued! Keep up the good work!! More Magnum!!!!

  4. Wanda Dalesandro on April 29th, 2023 3:47 pm

    I am so happy that CBS picked up Magnum. I wish it was on a different night.This season might interfere with Sunday night football. I liked it when it was on Friday night.