Magnum, P.I.

Season 4 Episode 19

On Face Value

Aired Unknown Mar 15, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

On Face Value
Magnum is left guilt-ridden after he returns gunfire during a high-speed chase, only for it cause another car to crash and severely injure the young woman driving it.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Carol persuades Thomas to do some surveillance work for her, but the case leads to a high-speed chase in which Magnum accidentally shoots out the wheel of a passing car, badly injuring the female driver and possibly leaving her legs paralysed. Dramatic epmoreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    'On Face Value' (working title: 'Innocent Bystander') is one of the most dramatic episodes of the fourth season. However, unlike some of the other more 'serious' instalments (I'm thinking of the boring 'Paradise Blues', for example), this one comes off as very watchable and engaging.

    Things start of humorously enough, with a very amusing scene of Magnum building a grand sandcastle on the beach as he looks after Keoki's nephew, who is intent on destroying the construction.

    But soon as Magnum takes on the surveillance case for Carol, the story takes a more serious turn. The chase between the Ferrari and the GTO is exciting, but it comes as a shock when Magnum's gun accidentally takes out the front wheel of a passing car, causing it to turn over, and badly injuring the driver.

    Talia Balsam puts in a good performance as the injured driver, Emily Jackson, who is relentlessly upbeat. (Also, she reminds me of Jean Bruce Scott for some reason.) Although the plot is one of the more serious of the season, it still has some lighter-hearted moments, thankfully saving it from becoming too heavy going, and Balsam works well with Tom Selleck.

    Magnum's scenes with Emily as he tries to help her regain feeling in her legs are quite touching, and are very well acted by both performers.

    The only thing that marks this story down a notch in my view, is the rather over-convenient final act. Magnum learns that Emily had got use of her legs back some time previously, and didn't tell him as she didn't want him to leave her. It also emerges that she was employed as a lookout by the bad guys of the story. I found these two points rather TOO convenient, freeing up Magnum to solve the case and not having to worry about Emily for the rest of his life.

    But other than that, I find this to be a very good episode. It's not one of my absolute favourites of the season, but that's only because there is so much strong competition from other episodes.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Magnum: When I write my book on being a first class private investigator, Rule Number 168 is going to be: "If you're getting chased, you should be in a fast car". Postscript to Rule 168: "No matter how fast your car is, there can always be one that's faster".

    • Magnum: (narrating) One of the best things about living in paradise is that when you get a couple of days off, you don't have to go someplace else to have fun and relax. Instead, you can concentrate on some of the finer things in life, like art. It comes in many shapes and forms and textures. You can find it anywhere, even in the sand. No matter how old or young you are, there's an incredible feeling of pride when you create something with your own two hands.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The script for this episode was originally titled "Innocent Bystander".

    • The German episode titles are "Der Unfall" ("The Accident") and "Ein harmloser Auftrag" ("A Harmless Mission"). The French title is "Cas de conscience", meaning "Matter of Conscience". The Italian title is "La vittima innocente", meaning "Innocent Victim".


    • Emily's comment that, "I know Gonzo and Trapper John dress like that, but I thought that was only on the tube," refers to the main characters from Trapper John, M.D..