Magnum, P.I.

Season 4 Episode 17

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Aired Unknown Feb 23, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
While Higgins is preparing to direct a selection of pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado to be staged at the Estate, Magnum is hired by an attractive young woman to find her missing brother, whom she claims has disappeared after joining a religious cult. The girl has musical experience and agrees to help out with rehearsals of Higgins' production while Magnum seeks out her missing brother.moreless

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  • While Higgins struggles to direct a selection of pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan's 'The Mikado', Thomas is hired by a young woman to find her missing brother, who has seemingly got caught up with a religious cult. A delightful episode...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    Just as I am trying to remember why I like this series so much, in the middle of a dull patch of episodes (see previous few reviews), suddenly this wonderful story comes along and reminds me of all that I love about MPI!

    Although I love strong detective / adventure plots in the series, one of the reasons that I love this episode so much, is that a lot much of it revolves around something much more down to Earth – Higgins' staging of a selection of pieces from 'The Mikado'. I like episodes that showcase 'life on the Estate', and this one does it perfectly. The episode is well balanced between this running thread, and Magnum's investigation, hitting the perfect balance.

    I also am involved with the theatre, which is also another reason that I am so fond of this instalment.

    The story plays out perfectly, and doesn't let up for a moment. Each scene is well performed and polished – a welcome relief after some of the episodes that have gone before it this end of the season.

    There are some wonderful character moments, and gives Agatha a bit more to do than usual (so much so that Gillian Dobb is promoted to the in-episode guest credits; normally she would appear on the closing credits). It is nice to see her stand up to the overbearing Higgins for once!

    I like the 'red herring' in the episode's opening trailer of Eric taking aim at the stage – actually two different shots from different points in the story, leading you to believe that he is the sole villain of the story.

    Kay Lenz gives a decent performance as Sally, the woman who Magnum hires, playing her as the standard 'woman in need' of the episode – when it is revealed that she is the (other) real villain of the piece ... well, I truly didn't see that one coming!

    All-in-all, this is one of my favourite episodes of the fourth season, and one that I can watch over and over again without getting bored with it.moreless
Jacob Fuller

Jacob Fuller

Chinese Man

Guest Star

Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson


Guest Star

Terence Knapp

Terence Knapp

Sir Cedric Brooke

Guest Star

Gillian Dobb

Gillian Dobb

Agatha Chumley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Magnum: (narrating) Once, when I was a kid, three older guys decided to beat me up for no apparent reason. I teld my own until a fourth showed up. And from that day on, I vowed that three was my limit, particularly when I didn't know what I was fighting about.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The German episode titles are "Der Mordplan" ("The Murder Plan") and "Mord auf der Bühne" ("On-Stage Murder"). The French title is "Oeil pour oeil", meaning "An Eye for an Eye". The Italian title is "Il mistero del drago", meaning "Mystery of the Dragon".

    • Gillian Dobb is billed with the guest cast list after the opening credits on this episode. Typically, she is not billed until the closing credits.


    • The title of this episode is taken from "A More Human Mikado" from The Mikado, which we see Higgins directing a performance of in this episode. The complete passage runs:
      My object all sublime I shall achieve in time-- To let the punishment fit the crime-- The punishment fit the crime; And make each pris'ner pent Unwillingly represent A source of innocent merriment! Of innocent merriment!