Magnum, P.I.

Season 2 Episode 2

Dead Man's Channel

Aired Unknown Oct 15, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
46 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Dead Man's Channel
After her archaeologist father's boat is found deserted at sea in the Nihoa Channel, a young marine biology student hires Magnum to find out what happened to him. The local natives warn Magnum to stay away from the "cursed" channel, but he's determined to find out what happened to the missing man.moreless

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  • After her father's boat is found deserted at sea, a young marine biology student hires Magnum to find out what happened. Soon, they find themselves investigating a supposedly 'cursed' channel in the ocean. Not a classic, but a fun episode...moreless

    The season got off to a weak start with 'Billy Joe Bob' in my opinion, but things really pick up here with this enjoyable if lightweight adventure.

    This episode is notable for not featuring T.C., the first of just a few occasions from the show's run where one of the main for characters is not present. Of the main four stars, Roger E. Mosley misses the most episodes, but only three. I wonder if T.C. was in the original draft for the episode. Other than one mention (when Rick comments that "Maybe it was T.C." that gets heartburn from warm beer), we are given no clue as to where he is. Maybe he was just away flying tourists around the islands!

    I really like Wendy Girard as the young Marion. (I wonder if Marion is a nod to that other great treasure hunt story, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'?). Deep voiced and pretty, she plays Marion as likable and believable. She is definitely on my list of characters that I would like to have seen pop up again in the series – sadly, she never did.

    Magnum looking after 'a friend's goat' (!) is a brief but amusing b-plot, and provides the 'Higgins' moments of the episode.

    We also see Rick's yacht, the King Kamehameha I, for the first time; it would go on to feature in a handful of episodes throughout the series.

    It is nice to see Hawaiian locals and Hawaiian tradition being woven into the story. This had been used in the first season's 'The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club' and would go on to be used a couple more times, but is one area of the series that could maybe have been made more of.

    The underwater sequences are well shot for a measly TV episode budget; I know he did some close-ups, but I wonder how much of the diving Tom Selleck actually did himself.

    Another thing I really like about this episode is the music. From the opening, to the scene of Magnum arriving with the goat in the Ferrari, to the great closing score, it is classic Post & Carpenter.

    The story is common of the second season in that it has some interesting ingredients but ends up rather lightweight; this could be said for many of the season's instalments (with a few exceptions, such as the feature-length / two-part 'Memories Are Forever' in a few episodes time).

    All-in-all, it doesn't come off as a 'Magnum' classic, but it is one of the second season's better episodes. I give it a generous 9.5. Other than the lack of T.C., it would have made a far more satisfying season opener than 'Billy Joe Bob' in my opinion.moreless
  • An above average episode from Magnum p.i.'s second season.

    This second episode from season 2 was a decent episode. The story was very interesting, about sunken treasure. It took you down one path, but in the end the treasure wasn't what you thought it would be.

    Some good underwater photography in the episode. I doubt it was Tom Selleck doing the underwater scenes but the makers of the show did a good job of making it look like him.

    The actress who played the daughter of the man who was feared dead while searching for the 'treasure' who was played a good part. Attractive and brainy which is something I've found with Magnum p.i. so far. And that can only be good! The show has some really good writing and acting in it.moreless
  • Magnum accepts Rick during his coming out episode.

    **** SPOILERS **** First order of business: Magnum's pants. Someone should have told him "No." Throughout the episode, he wears several versions of super-tight stretchy pants that have an ultra-high waist pulled ½ way up his belly. This is not good. On the other hand, the female client, Wendy, is like the librarian from Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" video, I'm in her class, and I'm daydreaming of her ripping open her blouse. She's got a deep sultry voice and seems unimpressed by Magnum. This could mean her character has a modicum of self-esteem… or she's assuming that Magnum is gay and unattainable because of his moustache and stretchy pants. Regardless, I like her. Magnum meets her at the front gate of Robin's Nest and (get this craziness) he's got a GOAT in the Ferrari. He concocts some convoluted story about a friend who keeps the goat as a pet, how the friend's mom is in town, and (are you ready for this?) the mom is allergic to… goats!!! Either Magnum does drugs or he's got other plans for the goat (wink). In case Magnum's pants and his goat aren't gay enough for this episode, Thomas goes the King Kamehameha Club yacht and finds Rick in an unbuttoned shirt with a silk scarf tied around his neck. Rick acts very nervous and says he's waiting for a freezer repairman. Just then, a gaggle of guys roll up in plaid leisure suits(no women in sight) and pile into Rick's yacht. BUSTED!!! Rick quickly casts off in his flaming hot love boat. Magnum shouts after him, "I hope you land a big one, Rick!" Aw, that's nice, Thomas! Later, Magnum takes off his clothes and reveals to Wendy that her father is dead – a brilliant technique that only Magnum could pull off. Everything about this episode is awesome – especially the plot. It's about a professor who discovers an artifact that proves that Hawaiians have creativity. Another (white) professor wants to prove that Hawaiians have NO creativity so she and her lab assistant kill the other professor and try to blow up the artifact. Neither professor seems to get that no one gives a damn if the Hawaiians have creativity Ultimately, Wendy's dad is dead, Magnum gets laid, and he wears the cool red Hawaiian shirt. Plus, Rick is getting a goat for his birthday! Two thumbs up!moreless
Wendy Girard

Wendy Girard

Marion Hammond

Guest Star

Ina Balin

Ina Balin

Prof. Martinez

Guest Star




Guest Star

Jeff MacKay

Jeff MacKay

Mac MacReynolds

Recurring Role

Michael Santiago

Michael Santiago


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • In the scene just before the guy comes out of nowhere and attacks him, Magnum asks Rick, "Shall I cast off?" to which Rick replies "Yes, you may untie the bow." Magnum asks "Is that the front?" He served in the Navy, so he should know this.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Rick: You better be right, sweetheart.
      Magnum: Come on, when have I ever been wrong?
      Rick: I can't count that high.

    • Magnum: I do have a client with a missing father who was last seen in the Nihoa Channel.
      Mac: So?
      Magnum: Well, he was diving for treasure.
      Mac: In the Nihoa Channel?
      Magnum: Yeah. That's where you come in.
      Mac: No, no, that's where I leave.

    • Magnum: This was one of those days I wish I'd listened to my mother and studied to be an orthodontist. Looking into someone's mouth has gotta be better than staring death in the face.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The script for this episode was originally titled "Nihoa Curse".

    • The German episode titles are "Tödliche Tiefe" ("Deadly Depth") and "Gefahr unter Wasser" ("Underwater Danger"). The French title is "Le chenal maudit", meaning "The Cursed Channel". The Italian title is "La maledizione di Nihoa", meaning "Nihoa's Curse".

    • The word professor Martinez uses to describe the theory of culture circles is "Kulturkreis". It's the exact German word for "culture circle" (the theory was developed in German-speaking Austria).

    • Though credited, Roger E. Mosley does not appear in this episode.