Magnum, P.I.

Season 4 Episode 20

Dream a Little Dream

Aired Unknown Mar 29, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes

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Episode Summary

Dream a Little Dream
Magnum is rehired by his first client, a surfing champion who was being threatened and whom he nearly started a serious relationship with, and this new case seems to parallel the events of 1979.

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  • So this is where Once Upon a Time took their format!

    This episode goes a little like ABC's Once Upon a Time with it's format. It goes back and forth from present to past all the way through. So much so that it's a little confusing. Where as in Once the past is in a whole other universe so we know when we're in the past but with Magnum here we have to rely on the little differences. Oh like Magnum has slightly longer hair, the client is sporting a female mullet, Thomas is driving a worn out bug, and working in an office since he hasn't met Higgins and Robin Masters yet. I was really hoping this episode would have shown how he met Robin and Higgins and how he got the job as security and the cool guest house to live in. Guess that wasn't meant to be. The episode is alright. It's worth watching just to see how life was for Magnum before the series started but the ending was quite strange and I didn't particularly like it. The idea that Magnum could have had a ready made family though was cute and I'm still left wondering if that little 4 and half little girl was really Magnum's and she just lied to him about it. Don't know why she would but oh well. Bet we'll never see these two characters again like the many other people that Magnum knew for one episode. At least she was his first client. That was different.moreless
  • As he visits her in the present, Magnum recalls his first case in 1979, where he helped a surfing champion who was being threatened. But things in the present day look set to parallel those of 1979. A so-so story saved by its interesting flashbacks...moreless

    This review contains mild spoilers.

    This episode, dealing with Magnum's first real case as a Private Investigator in 1979, comes just two episodes after the excellent 'Holmes Is Where the Heart Is', which dealt with an event in Higgins' life in 1976. As such, I find it hard not to compare the two stories.

    The episode is directed by Roger E. Mosley, otherwise known as T.C. It is the only episode of the series he will direct, although he will go on to co-write the seventh season episode 'Missing Melody'.

    Of most interest in this episode is how different Magnum's life was five years previously – one year before the series started. He had long hair, drove a beaten up Volkswagen Beetle convertible, worked out of a small office, and we see the first instances of preferring the term "Private Investigator", and his first time of asking Rick to run down a license plate, as well as the first bullet in T.C.'s helicopter (and T.C. doesn't even own this one)! We also see Rick in his 'Humphrey Bogart' phase, tying in nicely with the Pilot, where he was seen as such. (This idea was dropped from the series itself, and I'm glad, as I find it rather silly and grating).

    There are some nice 'time shifts', as the present merges into the past within the same shot (okay, you probably need to see it to get what I mean!). The episode also has some fair action, namely the sequence with the Jimmy (updated to a new, later model here) chasing the motorbike along the beach.

    But I have to say, beyond the novelty of the flashbacks themselves, I find the bulk of this story rather dull. I wasn't all that interested in Magnum's relationship with Karen, and felt that it really dragged in places.

    'Holmes Is Where the Heart Is' was a perfectly crafted and immensely watchable story; 'Dream a Little Dream' is just more of a novelty, and once you look past the flashbacks, it isn't really one of the greatest. To be fair, it is perfectly watchable (and is by no means the weakest offering of the season – personally I'd give that title to 'Paradise Blues'), but at best it comes off as one of those episodes that I only watch very occasionally, and is far from being one of my favourite stories.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Magnum: It's kind of funny how the years can sometimes creep by on you, two or three at a time, and nothing much changes. You're in a routine, and all that you really get is a little older, until whammo! -- you get a big three hundred and sixty-five that sometimes sets you right on your ear, changes everything. I guess 1979 was that kind of year for me. I resigned from the Navy, and I became a private investigator. Of course, that's a big over-simplification. Actually, there was a little more to it than that. There was Karen Teal, for example. The best woman surfer of 1979, and '8, and '7, and '6. Karen was the best. She always won, no matter who she went up against, and I really think it was that way because her love for life brought out the best in her. I know that because a long time ago, Karen Teal brought out the best in me. It seemed like only yesterday.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The German episode titles are "Traumfrau" ("Dream Girl") and "Blick in die Vergangenheit" ("Looking to the Past"). The French title is "Le passé au présent", meaning "Past and Present". The Italian title is "Si può sempre sognare", meaning "You Can Always Dream".

    • After a glimpse at Higgins' past two episodes earlier in 'Holmes Is Where The Heart Is', this episode gives an insight to Magnum's life a year before we first saw him. The story is split between taking place in the (then) present and in 1979, where Magnum has recently resigned from the Navy and become a Private Investigator. Not yet living at Robin's Nest, 1979 Magnum has longer hair, drives a beaten up blue Volkswagen Beetle convertible, works from a room above a Chinese business, and advertises on match-boxes. A nice touch for detail is that he wears the red Hawaiian shirt that he was seen wearing in many early episodes. We also witness the first time that Magnum likes to be called "Private Investigator" (as opposed to "P.I." or "Private Eye", a re-occurring quirk through-out the series – even though the title of the show uses "P.I."!) In 1979, Rick has a moustache, and, although it's not confirmed, can be presumed to be in ownership of bar he ran in the Pilot (he mentions owning a "gin joint"). He also wears the white suit he was seen wearing in the Pilot, and seems to be in the middle of a wannabe-gangster phase (also echoing the Pilot). Magnum has him run his first license plate check, and incorrectly mentions Rick's friend "Ice Cube" – meaning Ice Pick! T.C. doesn't yet own his own flight charter company in 1979 or helicopter, instead working for Ken Enderline Charters, where he is working two shifts to save up enough money to open up his own business. He's convinced (or bribed) into flying Magnum into danger for the first time, and gets his very first bullet fired at him through the helicopter wind-shield (another much re-occurring happening through-out the series).