Magnum, P.I.

Season 7 Episode 8

Paper War

Aired Unknown Nov 12, 1986 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
36 votes
  • While Magnum is working on a case to break a crooked gambling ring, he and Higgins become embroiled in a feud of one-upmanship with each other, but the level of their practical 'jokes' beings to spiral out of control. A classic Magnum / Higgins showcase..

    This review contains spoilers.

    After a dodgy start with 'L.A.', season seven continues its upward trend of high quality episodes with this classic instalment.

    This is the perfect showcase of the strange Magnum / Higgins relationship, which sees them arguing like a married couple.
    The writing and acting is of a very high quality, and in my opinion the episode is as sharp as the show's early episodes.

    I wasn't sure about T.C.'s computer game being wiped after Higgins caused Magnum to shut it down – even back in the days when we weren't so familiar with how computers worked, this didn't seem very realistic (and actually, I incorrectly remember this as coming from a different episode). But thankfully, this is the only minor niggle with an otherwise perfect story.

    One touch I really like is that, even as their pranks on each other begin to spiral out of control, Magnum in his narration still speaks of Higgins as if he is a very close friend and that they understand how each other works, seemingly oblivious to what a terrible state their relationship (or whatever you'd term it as) has reached.

    Another key element of the latter end of the show's run is introduced in this episode – Higgins may actually be Robin Masters. Some like this notion, some don't, and there are certainly a couple of earlier episodes that contradict this (the first season's 'J. "Digger" Doyle' and season three's 'The Big Blow' spring to mind), but there is little that can't be explained away without a little creative reasoning. Whether Higgins was really Robin or not was never fully given away in the show, and I like it for that – it was up for each individual viewer to make up his / her mind for themselves.

    The sequences with Magnum and Higgins stuck in the lift, in the building about to be demolished, are also very good, and I like how they stuck two great actors, Tom Selleck and John Hillerman, in a confined space and let them just bounce off of each other.

    All-in-all, this is (yet) another classic from season seven, and definitely one for my all time Top 10 favourite episodes of the series. It's perfect... and how many other shows could have revolved such a great story around a flower blooming!