Magnum, P.I.

Season 5 Episode 8

Murder 101

Aired Unknown Nov 15, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Murder 101
At the urging of the students in the private investigation class that Magnum is teaching at a local college, he takes on the investigation into the disappearance of a student's fiancé as the class' field work.

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  • Magnum has got a job teaching a course on private investigation, but when the students insist on a real case to work on, they end up investigating the strange disappearance of the fiancée of one of class members. Starts off fun but sadly goes downhill...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This is one of those episodes that some viewers really dislike. Personally, I started off really liking it – it was a welcome light-hearted story after the serious 'Blind Justice' – but sadly, it loses its way and really nosedives midway through.

    As I say, it starts off reasonably enough. Most of Magnum's students may indeed be stereotypes (not least the vsurfer dude' Danny), but I found them to be a fun group, and it was amusing to see Magnum playing professor.

    The investigation that the class vote on taking isn't exactly interesting, but it starts off with potential, as Magnum and the class pile into Danny's beaten up van and begin searching for Stacy's missing fiancée. But unfortunately, soon after, the plot really loses its direction.

    I think it was a bad move script-wise to have the P.I. class cancelled halfway through the story. It causes the plot to lose its focus, and surely it would have been more fun for the class' investigation to stumble through to the end of the episode before being cancelled.

    With the class cancelled, all of the students other than Stacy disappear from the middle of the story, and it descends into a very average and generic investigation, and not a particularly interesting one at that.

    Usually I am pretty good at following the twists and details of Magnum's investigations, but I really lost the thread with the explanations of money laundering and suchlike – which was explained in a very awkward and unclear manner in my opinion.

    The rest of the class return for the final 'showdown' with the villains of the piece, but after their sudden disappearance mid-episode, it doesn't work as well as it should.

    In the end, Magnum's struggling class becomes a huge success, from the publicity of solving the case of Stacy's missing fiancée. Of course, the class is never mentioned again in the series, so presumably some other fate befell it.

    I really want to like this episode, and parts of it I do indeed warm to. But it ultimately winds up so unfocused, not to mention the confusing explanation regarding the disappearance of Stacy's fiancée, that it is just nowhere as could as might should have been. If it had come from an earlier season, I have a feeling it would have been much more focused and clever, but coming from the dodgy fifth season, it sadly falls down. At first I wanted to give it a higher score, but bearing in mind the problems mentioned above, I can only give it an 8.0 rating – which some will say is higher than it deserves anyway.moreless
Marilyn Jones

Marilyn Jones

Stacy Dayton

Guest Star

Alan Fudge

Alan Fudge

Mr. Gaylord

Guest Star

Kim Miyori

Kim Miyori

Kiana Dau

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Thomas wears headphones while making a cassette recording and using a microphone, which doesn't make sense. He doesn't need to hear himself, and he risks getting some ear-piercing feedback.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Magnum: A person is what they throw away.

    • T.C.: I've heard that some private investigators don't even do any of that bone-numbing research and that they actually con other people to do it for them.
      Rick: Yes, I've heard that also, but surely that can't be true.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The German episode titles are "Schule der Schnüffler" ("Private Eye School") and "Mord für Anfänger" ("Murder for Beginners"). The French title is "Meurtre 101", an exact translation. The Italian title is "Investigazione privata, primo corso", meaning "Private Investigation 101".

    • Larry Manetti was involved in an accident prior to the shooting of this episode, and although his injuries aren't really evident on screen, they limited his activities for a few episodes.