Magnum, P.I.

Season 1 Episode 8

The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii

Aired Unknown Jan 29, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
56 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii
Higgins volunteers Magnum's services to guard a wealthy socialite's quarantined dog after the attempted dognapping of the canine. Sir Algernon Farnsworth soon finds himself to be the most wanted dog in Hawaii when his former owner, aging gangster Victor DiGiorgio, needs to get him back.

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  • This show out-blows itself with every next episode

    So bad that all guest actresses just disappear mid filming. Or was that planned, to reinforce how disposible females are on this show? The dog wasn't even ugly. And he was way smarter than most of the cast, and writers. Once again Higgins and the Hounds steal the show!
  • Terrible episode

    This was a terrible episode with a dumb plot and bad continuity errors.

    The most obvious error was the bad guy's car switched from a Ford LTD to a Mercury Marquis and back.

    Plus there was a scene near the end where Rick is supposed to 'follow that car'... but then it's shown that the car is following him.

    And the scene where Magnum were 'trapped outside' and needed to be 'saved' by TC and his helicopter... that's the first time I've ever seen someone 'trapped outside'.

    And two of the bad guys keep getting knocked out by Magnum with one punch, but manage to always to wake up and be ready to run somewhere shortly after.

    Also the woman at the beginning goes AWOL. Then at the very end, the brunette dog sitter also goes AWOL. Did the actors quit because the story and their characters were too dumb for them to continue? It could be.

    On top of all this... the dog isn't even ugly. And it turns out, the only reason why the dog was special was because the dumb mobster had a bank account number tattooed on it.

    Who in their right mind does something as daft that? Well let me tell you... a mobster who gets himself killed by eating a poisoned cannoli. (The old mobster guy is played by the same actor who play the character who died via poisoned cannoli in The Godfather Part 3).

    By the end, I was praying for poisoned cannolis with all who were in this episode... even the dog!

    The story in this episode is convuluted and dumb. I'm not surprised there were 3 writers for this episode.moreless
  • Magnum protects a dog from the most annoying, overused Mafioso routine of the 80's played by Michael Gazzo. Gazzo's = a lot of raspy shouting at stupid accomplices, and frequently referring to a gun as a "piece". That's how mobsters talk.moreless

    This episode is completely lame because it's about Magnum protecting a dog from the stupidest dognappers on the planet. Even Magnum acknowledges the whole concept of protecting a dog is dumb and within the episode Higgins calls story "ridiculous" but we all go along for the ride anyway. Magnum has the great fortune of punching the same two mentally challenged bad guys in the face over and over throughout the episode (in the dog pound, at a gas station, on a dock of some sort). Each time, they go down in one punch but hours later, they're back for another punch. The dog sitter is really hot except there's a subplot that she's actually afraid of dogs. All of her whining completely neutralizes her hotness and Magnum can't wait to drop her off and hang out w/ the guys. The story starts out at a pre- 9/11 airport (obviously) where the bad guys enjoy the convenience of parking and leaving their getaway car right out front of the airport in the passenger pick-up & drop-off area. After a botched airport robbery, the bad guys run past airport security and inexplicably back the car up 10 feet to avoid an invisible car in front of them before putting the car in drive and speeding off to safety. Rick acts like a big dork wearing shorts pulled up to his navel and by shouting, "Are you coconuts or somethin'?" when the bad guys force him to drive off the road. In the end, there's a convoluted explanation as to why the baddies were after the dog that makes no sense. Last night I watched "No Country for Old Men" which is about a Sheriff coming to terms that the cold, harsh brutality and violence of the drug trade in 1980 was too much for him to handle. This 1981 episode of Magnum must have occurred on a goofy bizzaro version of the planet Earth populated by Larry, Curly, and Moe criminals. Note: Magnum sports some bushy hair in this episode so it's easy to confuse him with John Holmes.moreless
  • Higgins convinces Magnum to work as a bodyguard for a wealthy club member's dog. As payment, Magnum gets a year's use of the estate tennis courts, but may get more than he bargained for when dognappers appear on the scene.moreless

    It is quaint to think that an episode like this ever aired on primetime television in America. "The Ugliest Dog In Hawaii" has got to be one of the silliest plots of the entire Magnum series. Bad acting, pathetic storyline, bad dubbing, laughable sound mixing, and, interestingly, outtakes during the credits make this one of the more enjoyable episodes of Magnum PI to watch. Listen for the obvious dubbing of somebody (could that possibly be Hillerman?!) yell, "Now lads!" when Zeus and Apollo leap from the back of Rick's van. Also, in one of DiGiorgio's final scenes, the sound of birds overpowers the microphone and drowns out the dialogue. Several other bloopers and goofs exist, not including the plot itself. If you like cheese, then "The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii" is your sharp cheddar.moreless
  • Higgins persuades Magnum to protect a socialite's quarantined dog, which for some reason an aging mobster is determined to dognap. Soon, Magnum and a quarantine inspector, and the dog, are on the run from the mobster and his cronies. A goofy but fun ep...moreless

    The previous episodes 'No Need to Know', 'Skin Deep' and 'Never Again... Never Again' were all quite serious affairs; here things let up with this silly but likable light-hearted story.

    This is probably the sort of episode you'll either love or hate. Personally, although it is indeed very silly, I quite like it. Not one of my all time favourite MPI episodes, but one that I can easily sit through time and again and enjoy.

    For all its goofiness, I find the episode enjoyably daft, and it is a testament to the quality of the first season that it comes off as well as it does. (If it had been from late seasons of the show, it would probably just be a forgettable ep at best).

    There are a few firsts in this episode: We see T.C.'s Island Hoppers Volkswagen van for the first time; Magnum wears his Detroit Tigers cap for the first time (he would be a Tigers fan throughout the series), and, most notably of all, Mike Post and Pete Carpenter's more familiar theme for the show is heard for the first time, first in the in-episode score, and then on the closing credits. And just in case you didn't hear it the first time, the end credits loop the theme over and over and OVER again! The theme would be heard on closing credits until it was added on the opening credits from 'Thicker than Blood' onwards in a few episodes time.

    We also get to see the GMC Jimmy, Robin 3, in action for the first time. It had been seen in the background in 'No Need to Know', but this episode is the first time we see it being driven.

    Although his raspy voice becomes a little annoying at times, I like Michael V. Gazzo as aging mobster Victor DiGorgio, infuriated by his younger relations' more modern ways of being a mobster (!). Of course, many of these 'modern' ways are themselves dated all these years later – for example, one of them sits outside typing up finances on a very dated typewriter; it would be a laptop nowadays!

    I also like Shawn Hoskins as Sharon, who – in typical humour of the series – is a dog inspector who is afraid of dogs!

    I find the plot, although silly, to still be an engaging one, especially as Magnum and Sharon are pursued through the banana growing fields. Unlike some later episodes, the pace doesn't let up and sag at any point.

    Also to look out for are the end credits, which include a few outtakes from filming – I would have loved to have seen such outtakes on more episodes.

    This episode is unlikely make anyone's Top 10 favourite episodes, but for what it is – a silly, humorous story – it's a fun watch, and a nice change from some of the more serious tales of the season.moreless
Michael V. Gazzo

Michael V. Gazzo

Victor DiGiorgio

Guest Star

Shawn Hoskins

Shawn Hoskins

Sharon Carnes

Guest Star

Paul Gale

Paul Gale

Steve Caldwell

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • On the opening trailer (which gives a taster for the up-coming story), there is a shot from one of the gangsters firing from their pursuing car at the Jimmy (ROBIN 3), but the gun-shot sound effect isn't dubbed in.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Higgins: Stop. Whatever you are doing, stop it.
      T.C.: Hi, Higgins.
      Higgins: Don't "Hi, Higgins" me. Just get you and your juvenile delinquents out of here.

    • Magnum: There are times when one human being really shouldn't take advantage of another... but this wasn't one of them.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The German episode titles are "Der Hund ist los" ("The Dog is Loose") and "Auf den Hund gekommen" ("The Dog Comes"). The French title is "Une vie de chien", meaning "A Dog's Life". The Italian title is "Il più brutto cane delle Hawaii", an exact translation.

    • On the closing credits, mixed in with various shots from the story, are a couple of out-takes from the episode, with Tom Selleck and John Hillerman ending up in laughter (visual only, the theme tune plays over them).

    • The familiar Magnum, P.I. theme is heard for the first time in this episode, on the closing credits as well as variations on the it in incidental music during the story. Written by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter, who have recorded numerous other c themes, such as The Rockford Files and The A-Team, this theme would soon become the series' main theme, replacing the original one by Ian Freebairn-Smith that is used on the very early episodes. The seemingly never-ending 'looped' edit of the new theme used on this occasion was only used on one other episode, on the closing credits of "Don't Say Goodbye" later in the season.


  • 10:00 pm