Magnum, P.I.

Season 4 Episode 1

Home From the Sea

Aired Unknown Sep 29, 1983 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Home From the Sea
Magnum's tradition of spending the Fourth of July alone at sea turns to a life-and-death battle when he's capsized, and a current takes him further and further from land. He uses his memories of family to keep himself alive while Higgins, T.C., and Rick begin to search for him.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • It is the 4th of July, and Magnum is spending it alone out at sea on his surf ski. But when a speedboat causes his surf ski to capsize, he finds himself stuck out in the middle of the ocean – and nobody knows he's there. My all-time favourite episode...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    Along comes the fourth season, and to open it, one of the series' all-time classic episodes, and deservedly popular amongst fans.

    The notion of Magnum being stuck out at sea is a gripping one, and perfectly executed. I believe that, even compared today's television, it stands as one of the most unique hours of American television ever produced.

    It is one of just handful of MPI episodes with absolutely no villains, and solely revolves around Magnum desperately trying to stay afloat.

    Meanwhile, Higgins, T.C. and Rick are all doing their own things for Independence Day, none aware of Magnum's desperate peril. But one by one, they start to get gut feelings that something is wrong. In any lesser written series, I'm not sure this would have worked, but in MPI, where we have learnt to understand the characters and the bond they share, it works perfectly.

    Magnum's father is played by Robert Pine, who had just finished playing Sergeant Getraer in another US favourite, "CHiPs" (1977-1983). As Magnum's plight at sea continues, the story unfolds about his relationship with his father, and what happened to him.

    To tie in with it, we learn why Magnum likes to spend the 4th of July alone, something that would be touched upon again later in the series.

    We also get a couple of flashbacks to his wedding and later reunion with Michelle (explained in the second season's excellent feature-length / two-part 'Memories Are Forever'). As I've said before, the show's flair for continuity, in an era where many such shows effectively hit the reset button after each episode, is one of the things that makes the show still stand up all these years later.

    And then there's 'Herman', the shark that bumps Magnum's leg. The scene plays out both dramatic and slightly humorously, with Magnum's dialogue to the shark, at the same time; again, the scene is flawless.

    I remember the first time I ever saw this episode. I had no clue what the story would be about, and I was gripped from start to end. And unlike some stories, it holds up just as well on repeat viewings.

    Although it doesn't feature any bad guys or many of the show's usual traits, I would say that this is a great introductory episode for anyone watching the series for the first time.

    I find it very hard to find a single flaw with this episode. Granted, a couple of the scenes of Rick and his girlfriend on the yacht may be slightly corny, but in such a powerful episode, it is hardly noticeable.

    The episode was revisited of sorts in the seventh season episode 'Solo Flight', complete with another Herman. I'll get to review that episode in due course, but nothing can touch the greatness of 'Home From the Sea'.

    Overall... a couple of others come close, but 'Home From the Sea' will probably always be my single most favourite episode from the entire show's run. It can't be beaten. And the images of Magnum stuck out of sea will always be haunting.moreless
  • Poignant, gut-wrenching and meaningful - the best episode of the entire series!

    IMO, this is the best episode, not only for this season but for the entire series. The episode starts with Magnum explaining that he likes to be alone on the Fourth of July (“to remember”), but he doesn’t articulate why. When the speedboat knocks him off and away from his surf ski, Magnum is forced to float in the water for an entire twenty-four hour period. During this ordeal, Magnum has numerous flashbacks of himself as a child, and the time he spent with his father. The influence that Magnum’s father had on him was obviously positive, and actually helps to motivate him through this crisis. This episode also demonstrates the deep-down bond shared by Magnum, T.C., Rick and even Higgins. They all seem to sense that something bad has happened to Magnum, and they group their efforts to avert the impending tragedy.

    The ending is gut-wrenching and poignant, as the viewer finds out why Magnum likes to spend the Fourth of July alone. Magnum is shown in the water as a child, treading water, while his mom is timing him. He plans to let his father (a Naval Aviator, away at war in Korea) know his new water treading time. As he sets his “new treading water record”, a Naval Officer arrives to tell the family that Magnum’s father was killed in action. The funeral for his father was on the Fourth of July.moreless
  • The best episode of the series.

    For me this is the best episode of the entire series. In it we find out that Thomas needs to be alone on the Fourth of July so that he can remember and honor the death of his father, which comes up throughout the series. This episode allows the entire cast to put aside their petty differences and come together to find their lost comrade, which is heart warming. Not only is this a great episode in the context of the series, but it stands up very well on its own. This is a story of a man with a tremendous will to live, who has lived through some terrible things in his life and now all he wants is to continue living. I\'m on the edge of my seat every time I watch this episode, even though I know how it turns out. The best of the best!moreless
  • The Best Magnum PI that I have seen

    This is without a doubt the best Magnum P.I. I have seen in the full 8 seasons. It brought a new idea to me that I have never even thought of before.

    I always believed that if your boat flipped over that you would jsut flip it over What this teaches you is that the boat can be 10 feet away but you won\'t see it. People can pass by you and you can see them but they probably can\'t see you.

    It\'s a scary though. Like being lost in clear view.moreless
R.J. Williams

R.J. Williams

Thomas Magnum, Jr. (1950s)

Guest Star

Constance Forslund

Constance Forslund


Guest Star

Susan Blanchard

Susan Blanchard

Katherine Magnum (1950s)

Guest Star

Gillian Dobb

Gillian Dobb

Agatha Chumley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Magnum's mother was named Martha in "Try To Remember", but from this episode onwards she is called Katherine. Gwen Verdon would play present day Katherine Magnum in future episodes.

    • Magnum nicknames the shark that is circling him 'Herman'. This is also the same nickname he gives a spider in the seventh season episode "Solo Flight".

    • Now Magnum's father is Thomas Sullivan Magnum, Sr. thus Magnum is Thomas, Jr. but the grandfather whom he met in the last episode, "Resolutions", is also Thomas Sullivan Magnum and apparently so is his father.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Magnum: (narrating) I've always felt at home on the ocean, even as a kid. Maybe that's why I spend so much time alone on it, even on the 4th of July. I know, the Fourth should be spent with your buddies drinking beer, or eating hot dogs at the ballpark, or hoping into a potato sack race with your best girl, or barbequing in the back yard with your folks. Maybe for most Americans, but for me it's been a day to spend alone, to remember. So, here I was all alone on the ocean starting my annual Independance Day remembrance. At least I wouldn't get my fingers blown off by a cherry bomb.

    • Naval Officer: To most Americans, this Fourth of July is a day of picnics and fireworks, of ball games and potato sack races, of political speeches and parades. But to us, the friends and family of Lieutenant Thomas Magnum Senior, this Fourth of July 1951 will always be remembered as the day he came home from the sea. God Bless and keep his wife and son.

    • (Said after being rescued by Higgins, flashing back to a moment from his youth.)
      Thomas Magnum: I made it Dad ... why didn't you?

  • NOTES (4)

    • The German episode titles are "Des Meeres und der Tiefe Wellen" ("The Seas and Deep Waves") and "Der vierte Juli" ("July Fourth"). The French title is "Record battu", meaning "Broken Record". The Italian title is "Ritorno a casa", meaning "Homecoming".

    • In this episode we learn that Thomas was born in 1945.

    • Magnum's annual tradition of spending the 4th of July alone at sea is also featured in "Death And Taxes".

    • R.J. Williams received a 1985 Young Artist Award nomination for "Best Young Actor, Guest in a Television Series" for his portrayal of young Thomas in this episode.