Magnum, P.I.

Season 4 Episode 12

The Case of the Red Faced Thespian

Aired Unknown Jan 19, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
31 votes

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Episode Summary

The Case of the Red Faced Thespian
When a guest is murdered at a Great Gatsby-themed party at the Robin's Nest, a concussed Higgins becomes the prime suspect.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Guest star

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    The entire guest stars
  • Higgins suffers a concussion just before a lavish costume ball on the Estate, and Magnum soon has a mystery to solve when Rick is accused of theft and Higgins, believing himself to be a Shakespearean actor, is suspected of murder. Fun but not a favouritemoreless

    This episode (working title: 'All The World's a Stage') is one of those 'dress up' stories that MPI liked to do every so often, with everyone in costume. And for that, it is quite fun, although it is not one of my favourites of the season. I know there are some who will probably count this as a classic, but I'm more take-it-or-leave it with this one.

    The episode contains several notable stars, including Ronald Lacey and Colleen Camp. All of the characters seem to have a motive for the crimes that take place, and there are a number of red herrings along the way. However, I do agree with the thoughts of some other fans that the story takes too long to get to the actual mystery section; in this sense, the episode is a bit uneven.

    And as fun as it is to see Higgins believing himself to be (fictional) Shakespearean actor Sir Fearing Pangborn, I didn't really buy into it. It's strange, I can believe John Hillerman when he is playing one of Higgins' eccentric half-brothers, but here in this episode, I couldn't really accept his concussed state that kept turning him into Pangborn.

    It is a nice touch that Magnum is an Agatha Christie fan, something that he shares with Lieutenant Tanaka. The 1920s theme, leading to the inevitable climatic scene with all of the suspects gathered together in one room, is enjoyable, and the whole episode has a novel feel to it.

    When Five ran the series here in the U.K. in 2002-3, I had not seen this particular episode before. I recorded all of the episodes, and, getting home late that day, ended up watching this one at about 2 a.m.! There were so many little moments that kept rewinding to watch, that it took me about two hours to get through the whole episode!

    Kudos to the series for once again trying something a bit different, but for me this ends up as one of those episodes that is just okay to watch occasionally – it doesn't really stand out as anything special in my book.moreless
Ronald Lacey

Ronald Lacey

Archer Hayes

Guest Star

Colleen Camp

Colleen Camp

Valerie Kane

Guest Star

John McCook

John McCook

Nolan Atherton

Guest Star

Kwan Hi Lim

Kwan Hi Lim

Yoshi Tanaka

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Nolan: Great costume.
      Magnum: Oh, this isn't a costume.
      Marge: Really? You wear that shirt in public?

    • Higgins: Magnum, I'm very busy placating the guests. Now, will you please send Rick and T.C., away and assume the character of a reasonably competent security person? Only you and I will know you're acting.

    • Inez: What's your sister's name?
      T.C.: T.C. ... Um, that's short for Thelma Catherine. She just goes by T.C.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The script for this episode was originally titled "All the World's a Stage".

    • The German episode titles are "Masken, Mörder und Moneten" ("Masks, Murderers and Money") and "Ein Fall wie von Agatha Christie" ("A Case for Agatha Christie"). The French title is "Le monde est un théâtre", and the Italian title is "Tutto il mondo è teatro", both translations of Shakespeare's line "All the world's a stage" from As You Like It.

    • John McCook and Laurette Spang are married in real life.

    • The official onscreen title of this episode does not contain the grammatically correct hyphen between "Red" and "Faced" that is frequently seen in other listings for this episode.