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Magnum, P.I.

Season 1 Episode 6

Skin Deep

Aired Unknown Jan 15, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
48 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Skin Deep
When a beautiful model-actress is killed by a shotgun blast in a scenario closely resembling a scene from the script of an upcoming film, it is seemingly suicide. Magnum is hired by her former producer and lover to investigate any other men that she may have been seeing before her death—a case that Magnum is reluctant to take, but, feeling guilty for not taking it before the girl was killed, agrees to.moreless

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  • Guest star

    My favorite guest stars for this episode:

    Ian McShane & Ron Masak
  • After an actress is apparently killed by a suicidal gunshot blast, Magnum is hired by her former producer – who is also her jealous ex-lover – to prove that she was seeing another man before her death. Another ep showing the quality of the first season...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    Just a few episodes in, and already the series has perfectly found its footing and is offering up great episodes such as this.

    The episode opens eerily, with actress Erin Wolfe seemingly shooting herself through the head. There is also a nice touch here, as the script she is rehearsing is 'Skin Deep, by Donald P. Bellisario', the same title and writer as for this episode.

    Magnum's frequent flashbacks to 'Nam make the episode, showing that no matter how much her tries to put it behind him, it'll always be with him one way or another.

    Although touched upon previously, especially in the Pilot, this is the first (of a number) of episodes to show just how affected Magnum is by his experiences in Vietnam. It really adds depth to the character, and was indeed probably the first TV show to show Vietnam veterans in a positive light.

    Another great, if almost throwaway, scene, is as Magnum is woken up by Higgins' clay pigeon shooting near the beginning of the story, believing it to be 6 am, not realising it is actually 6 pm. Maybe Zeus and Apollo really WERE releasing the clay pigeons!!

    David Norman is, of course, played by Ian McShane, who would go on to be known her in the United Kingdom for playing 'Lovejoy' (1986, 1991-1994). By the way, although Magnum and Lovejoy are quite different characters – Lovejoy was an antiques dealer- there are some notable parallels with the character, not least in both of them often addressing the camera. v

    McShane would be seen again in 'Magnum' in the popular third season episode 'Black on White'.

    I love the way that Magnum immerses himself in the world of the supposedly dead Erin, getting to know her through her library of videotapes, and making himself at home, even drinking milk from her refrigerator! Personally I'd find it kind of creepy, in a room where such a gruesome suicide took place, but it doesn't seem to affect old T.M. Presumably after witnessing the horrors of war, he's learnt to accept such things.

    Although the story is sometimes wordier than I would normally like, here I enjoy it, and it adds a lot of depth to an interesting story.

    Then there is the climax on the deserted tropical island. I was never in any doubt that David Norman would turn out to be the villain, but it still makes for an exhilarating match of wits.

    Also to look out for briefly is as Magnum pretends to be "McGarrett from Five-0", another of the show's nods to 'Hawaii Five-0'.

    We are also given some kind of time-frame of how far apart the individual episode stories take place, as in the final scene Magnum comments that it is several months later.

    Then there is the classic final scene, when Magnum asks T.C. if he ever has recollections of Nam. After a flashback of his own, T.C. denies it. When asked if he does, Magnum simply replies "No".

    (As a footnote, camera technician Robert Van Der Kar was killed when T.C.'s helicopter crashed into the ocean when filming. A caption remembering him is given before the closing credits).

    All-in-all, I find this to be a really good episode, and one that I can watch a number of times. It wouldn't make my Top 10, but it's a very good one none-the-less.moreless
Ian McShane

Ian McShane

David Norman

Guest Star

Cathie Shirriff

Cathie Shirriff

Erin Wolfe

Guest Star

Ron Masak

Ron Masak

J.J. Stein

Guest Star

Remi Abellira

Remi Abellira


Recurring Role

Reri Tava Jobe

Reri Tava Jobe


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions