When Luther Gillis first appeared, in the fourth season episode 'Luther Gillis: File #521', I couldn't really decide whether I liked him or not. But by his third appearance here, Eugene Roche's portrayal of him had softened into a well-meaning but bumbling oaf, and I started to warm to him more.
This is a 'Magnum-lite' episode – he takes a backseat working on an embezzlement case for Robin Masters, while Higgins and Luther take the spotlight for the bulk of the story. It is a fun pairing, and John Hillerman and Eugene Roche work well together.
Talking of Robin, this is the final time in the series that the legendary Orson Welles provides the voice for the unseen author (Robin's voice was provided by a different actor in the sixth season's feature-length / two-part 'Deja Vu').
I find the title of this episode to be a little strange – 'File #001' suggests that it is Luther's first case. Maybe it is implying that it is his first case in Hawaii (where he has relocated to in this story); still, it is a little odd.
As I say above, Hillerman and Roche work well together; the highlight of the episode is probably when Higgins and Luther visit the cowboy bar for a lead, with Higgins adopting the Texan drawl of his half-brother Elmo (from the second season's 'The Elmo Ziller Story'). It is always amusing to see Hillerman break out of Higgins' upper-class English accent into another voice, and it is easy to forget that Hillerman – despite the perfect English accent – is actually a Texas native himself.
The plot on the whole is reasonable, but sadly it suffers from the trend of fifth season stories which are watchable, but lack the polish of earlier episodes, and don't have as much re-watchable value. It is one of the marginally better episodes of the season, but as with most other episodes of the season, doesn't really stand out from the series overall.