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Magnum, P.I.

Season 1 Episode 9

Missing in Action

Aired Unknown Feb 05, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Missing in Action
A new singer at the King Kamehameha Club who claims to have E.S.P. hires Magnum to find her childhood friend-come-fiancé Eric, a Marine who has been listed as M.I.A. since 1972, whom now she has started getting psychic visions of.

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  • Magnum offers his investigative services to the King Kamehameha Club's new lounge singer who is looking for her former love, MIA since 1972.

    Just because you can run around with a gun doesn't mean you should. "Missing in Action" really had the potential to be one of the great Magnum episodes. But the combined force of great guest stars, good acting by the regular cast, hilarious comedy, and a good idea for a story were not able to surmount the goofs, plot flaws, and incongruities of this episode.

    Magnum states that Laura "hired" him to look for Tobin. Wrong!! Magnum himself offered, in fact practically begged, to look for Eric. Also, it seems that whenever Magnum confronts Eric he does so with guns blazing. He was hired to find Eric, not kill him! It is out of character for Magnum to kill people first and try to sort out the mystery later. Eric is running for his life, and understandably a little trigger happy. But why would Magnum EVER take shots at Eric as he is fleeing?!

    Perhaps the worst thing about this episode is that Magnum directly contributes to Eric's death, and yet Magnum never takes any responsibility for it. First, why did he leave Newton unattended? Second, couldn't Magnum think of ANY possible way to contact Eric besides rushing after him gun in hand all the time? Lastly, as someone pointed out on the summary page, why didn't Magnum even bother to look for Eric's body after he had been shot--Eric might have only sustained a minor wound.

    The humor in this episode alone, especially between Magnum and both T.C. and Higgins, should have been enough to rate this episode highly. But "Missing in Action" really snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.moreless
  • A singer that Rick has hired keeps having visions of the death of her missing fiancé – a Marine listed as Missing In Action. Magnum searches for the missing man, a member of a top-secret organisation who is refusing to come in from the cold. A middling epmoreless

    'Missing in Action' is a reasonable first season episode, but does not really stand out as one of the greats of the first year. Saying that, it is still a fair episode in its own right, and maybe suffers be being surrounded by some of the other first season classics.

    The episode is notable for several people appearing:

    Agent Newton is played by Lance LeGault, best known for playing Colonel Roderick Decker, who pursued 'The A-Team' in seasons 2-4 of that series (one of my favourite ever US shows). LeGault would go on to play the recurring Buck Greene in subsequent seasons of 'Magnum'.

    ...And Laura is played by Rebecca Holden, who would appear as technician April Curtis in the second season of 'Knight Rider' (of which I am also a huge fan). She looks so young here! By the way, the singing she does in this episode is really her - she is also a singer and musician.

    ...Not to mention, that we see Jeff MacKay as "Mac" MacReyolds – the Naval Lieutenant always being scammed by Magnum – for the first time. After MacKay played the small role of Ski in the Pilot, Mac would go on to feature in a number of episodes – in one form or another (!).

    Anyway, the story is an interesting one, but not the best played out, and maybe lacks some of the pacing of some of the other plots of the season.

    It is also notable for being the first time that something extra-sensory would be used in a plot, with Laura's E.S.P. Some later episodes would play on such powers, as well as featuring ghosts and whatnot!

    The highlight of the episode is Higgins insisting Magnum get the Ferrari serviced – on which Magnum cheaps out and gets T.C. to do it, with predictably disastrous results! Even by this relatively early stage, the writers and producers (and performers) perfectly understood the four main characters, and were giving them great material to work with. In fact, in some cases, it is touches like these that would sometimes save an episode.

    [spoiler] The climatic scene feels a little awkward, and as others have commented, why doesn't Magnum at least check to see if Eric is alive after his fall?! [End of spoiler]

    Overall, I'm not really sure how I feel about this episode. It's a fair one, and better than some of the episodes that would come in say, seasons 5 and 6; but at the same time, it doesn't completely seem to hit all the right notes, and in some ways feels that it should be better than it actually is.moreless
Lance LeGault

Lance LeGault

John W. Newton

Guest Star

Francisco Lagueruela

Francisco Lagueruela

Eric Tobin

Guest Star

Rebecca Holden

Rebecca Holden

Laura Frasier

Guest Star

Jeff MacKay

Jeff MacKay

Mac MacReynolds

Recurring Role

Remi Abellira

Remi Abellira


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • At one point at the end of a scene during this episode, T.C. looks and talks directly to the camera, the first of numerous times one of the characters does so during the series (bar Magnum himself, who has been doing it ever since the Pilot).

  • QUOTES (1)

    • T.C.: Whoa! What's with this Abbott and Costello routine, 'You owe me 50, I'll loan you 10'? Forget it!
      Magnum: Oh, okay! Thanks, I owe you one! (speeds off in the Ferrari)

  • NOTES (2)

    • The German episode titles are "Das Geheimnis von Delta Eins" ("The Secret of Delta One") and "Im Kampf verschollen" (an exact translation). The French title is "Disparu au combat", and the Italian title is "Disperso in azione", both exact translations.

    • Jeff MacKay appears for the first time in this episode as the much re-occurring Lieutenant "Mac" MacReynolds, a US Naval Officer that Magnum always manages to con information out of. (MacKay had previously been seen in the Pilot, as a different though somewhat similar character, Lieutenant Ski). (Note: it was never really confirmed whether "Mac" was really MacReynolds' first name, or just a nick-name deriving from his surname.)