Magnum, P.I.

Season 2 Episode 3

The Woman on the Beach

Aired Unknown Oct 22, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
46 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Woman on the Beach
Rick forms a bond with a young woman named Sara who recounts being terrorized in a case of unrequited love. But she not only disappears during a walk on a beach, she also fits the exact description of a woman who committed suicide 35 years prior and whose ghost is said to walk the same beach.moreless

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  • A fine, solid episode from the second season.

    The Woman on the Beach was a fine, solid episode from a series which was creating it's own identity, a private eye/investigator series in the second season so far. I don't recall there being any or many references to Five O in the season opener "Billy Joe Bob" or this second episode.

    The only weak part of the episode was Josef, the eccentric caretaker. I was glad that Magnum wasn't seen in the leotard (in an earlier scene Magnum agrees to wear one for some play, which in the end dosen't happen).

    It was quite clever in parts and Judith Chapman was a very good guest star again, playing two interesting parts, a woman who has been dead for 35 years and her niece who is trying to find out who killed her.

    I thought it was good how they didn't reveal who the killer was in the opening scene after the teaser and title sequence. The only problem I have with Magnum pi, is when Magnum is trying to solve someone's murder, when there aren't many characters in an episode it makes it too easy to guess who the killer is. However I did like the conclusion of the case at the grounds round the greenhouses. Magnum's a good shot! I particularly liked this ending compared to some episodes from season 1. It was funny seeing Magnum's face when he realised he'd seen a ghost of the dead woman on the beach. Another reason why I thought the episode was quite clever was when Sara revealed when she dressed up as the Woman in White.

    I liked the use of locations in this episode, and I'm sure in the background, when Magnum and Rick went to speak to Henry Ellison in his office, you could see the famous clock tower which was always seen in Hawaii Five O's title sequence.

    My favourite episode so far, even though there's only been two episodes so far.moreless
  • Late one night, a down-on-his-luck Rick meets a mysterious, beautiful woman who suddenly vanishes. Magnum is persuaded to investigate, and they find the woman supposedly died in mysterious circumstances 35 years previously. A very good episode...moreless

    This review contains moderate spoilers.

    'The Woman on the Beach' is a very good second season episode. While I found some of the season's episodes to be a bit so-so, this one stands out, with an interesting story and being well performed.

    This is the first 'Rick-centric' story of the series, and Larry Manetti delivers the goods quite well. (Some consider the first season's 'The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club' to be the first Rick-centric story of the series, but personally I don't, as most of the screen time was given over to Magnum and T.C.).

    Early in the story, before Rick finds out that his latest 'love' is about to get married, we see an unusual side to Thomas and T.C., as they as they try to persuade Rick to accompany them to a red light bar and ask him what's wrong with "booze and one-night stands". This is a side of the characters that we seldom see, as neither of them drinks heavily (in fact, T.C. is teetotal) and generally show more respect for their women-friends.

    Judith Chapman gives a great guest performance as Sara / Lisa. Chapman had previously played another eccentric in the first season's 'The Black Orchid', and here again proves that she is great at playing such oddball characters. Sadly, this is the last time she appears in the series; I would have loved for her to turn up as another eccentric later in the show's run.

    In the library when T.M. is doing research, there is a strange moment as the librarian comments that "pretty (women) probably wouldn't mean anything to you". Presumably it is where she has been rearranging her hair and clothes during the conversation and he hasn't noticed, but it comes sounding like she thinks T.M. is gay Far from it.

    Especially considering there is a scant guest cast, the story unfolds well. It takes a little while to really get going, but once it does, it develops into a very interesting tale.

    The only character I wasn't sure about was Kenneth Mars as gardener Josef. He plays the character over-the-top, like an extra from a pantomime. Thankfully, the rest of the episode is strong enough for it to not do any real damage.

    The climax of the story is good, although it doesn't come as a surprise much at all as to who the villain is (especially with such a small guest cast).

    The excellent last scene, when Magnum leaves Lisa in the bar, only to see the ghost of Sara on the shore, is the first of a number of occasions in the series when Thomas will encounter the supernatural.

    All-in-all, this is a very good episode. Although I didn't quite realise it when I first watched / recorded it (many years ago now), on hindsight it probably stands out as one of the best of the second season.moreless
Judith Chapman

Judith Chapman

Sara Clifford/Lisa Page

Guest Star

Rebecca Clemons

Rebecca Clemons


Guest Star

Jack Hogan

Jack Hogan

Henry Ellison

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Higgins: After the war, the Cliffords suffered some sort of a disgrace. They were ostracized from society. I don't imagine you'd understand that sort of thing, would you, Magnum? On the other hand, perhaps you would.

    • Magnum: (narrating) If I believed in ghosts, I'm sure I'd be frightened by now, but, since I didn't, the pounding in my chest must have been due to exertion.

    • Magnum: (narrating) If any place looked like it should be haunted, it was the old Clifford Estate. The overgrowth and the cobwebs were all legit. Not that I was scared; but I did make a point of going in the daytime.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The script for this episode was originally titled "She Walked in Beauty".

    • The German episode titles are "Die Frau am Strand" (an exact translation) and "Saras Rückkehr" ("Sara's Return"). The French title is "Le fantôme de la plage", meaning "The Ghost of the Beach". The Italian title is "Ombre dal passato", meaning "Shadows from the Past".

    • This episode introduces Magnum's love of fine cigars, mirroring Tom Selleck's own love of cigars.

    • This episode is sometimes billed as just "Woman On The Beach", but the proper, on-screen title is "The Woman On The Beach".