Magnum, P.I.

Season 3 Episode 21

...By Its Cover

Aired Unknown Mar 31, 1983 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes

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Episode Summary

...By Its Cover
A friend of Magnum's from his Navy days is being blackmailed by a corrupt narcotics officer into delivering marijuana, and when Magnum stumbles onto this, he seeks to clear his friend's name.

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  • guest star

    My favorite guest star

    Stuart Margolin
  • Reunited with an old Naval buddy, who is now an encyclopaedia salesman, Magnum tries to do his old friend a favour by delivering a batch of the books to their buyer – only for it to turn out that the packages actually contain marijuana. A very amusing epmoreless

    I know I've said this about several third season episodes, but I had almost forgotten what a great episode '...By It's Cover' is. Well written, well performed, and with a lot of humour, one of the key traits of the series.

    Stuart Margolin puts in a great turn as Magnum's old Navy pal, Rod. Margolin (who also directed 'Legacy From A Friend' a couple of episodes before this), will be familiar to many as the recurring, shady Evelyn 'Angel' Martin in 'The Rockford Files' (1974-1980). Rod is actually a very similar character to Angel – both being slippery and unreliable, but then capable of acts of outstanding kindness.

    Near the start of the story, Rod reads a newspaper article with the headline 'Oahu P.I. Helps Break Aerial Dope Ring', a nice reference to the previous episode, 'Two Birds of a Feather'. The episode also makes mention of Ivan from 'Did You See The Sunrise?'; it is some nice touches of continuity from an era where many such shows effectively hit the reset button after most episodes and seldom made reference to past stories.

    Another really amusing touch is how the parole officer, Ms. Gordon (Carlene Watkins), continually mistakes Magnum for an offender named Peters, who looks extremely similar to him. This is made even more humours by the fact that Magnum's doppelganger Peters is played by Tom Selleck's stunt double for the series!

    The story – and Rod – has many twists and turns, and on first viewing, it kept me guessing right through the story. The climatic scene is also very good, and had me laughing throughout.

    Overall, a really good episode, and one that I'd forgotten about somewhat until I came to review it. It's probably not a series classic, but it is certainly one of the best from the latter end of the third season.moreless

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