This review contains spoilers.
The fifth season trend of passable but not outstanding stories continues with this offering. It is a perfectly watchable episode, and has some very good moments, but ultimately feels sub par compared with some of the clever episodes that have appeared in previous seasons.
Tran Quoc Jones of the title is played by young Ronald Harrah III, in his first credited role. He went on to several more TV roles (including playing Le Van 'Half Pint' Hawke in two third season episodes of Bellisario's 'Airwolf'), before sadly committing suicide in 1995, aged just 22. (There were also several other young actors of the time, including John Louie, who appeared in 'Gremlins' and the first season 'Riptide' episode 'Long Distance Daddy', who might be confused with Harrah).
Harrah gives a very decent performance as Tran Quoc – as per usual, the series chose its young actors well – but there are also some over-cutesy moments which some may not like too much.
The episode also marks the return of 'Mac' mk. II, otherwise known as 'Jim Bonnick', after Jeff MacKay returned to the series in 'Mac's Back' earlier in the season. It is quite a turnaround that, after Magnum continually conned the original Mac in the early seasons, from now on the 'new' Mac will con Magnum – here getting him involved with a scheme to dupe a protection racket out of their money.
Deborah Pratt also makes her final of several appearances as T.C.'s sometimes girlfriend Gloria; other it is the last time that Pratt is seen on-screen in the series, she would go on to write 'Little Games' in a couple of episodes time, as well as the seventh season's excellent 'Little Girl Who'.
Anyway, as for the storyline itself… it is a fair one, and I found Tran Quoc's search for his father, whom he has never met, to start off quite interesting. But I find that the plot is just too over-complicated and has too much going on; in some episodes they manage the multi-thread storylines quite well, but here, I found it a little confusing in places.
But T.C.'s budding friendship with Tran Quoc ("T.Q.") is well played out, and gives Roger E. Mosley something to get his teeth into.
Then there is another great episode ending, as Tran Quoc dumps his new clothes and returns to living on the streets. I found it a little hard to believe that the gang – especially T.C. - would not try and find him again, but even so, it make a good ending to the story.
All-in-all, I WANT to like this episode, and there are indeed sections that are very good. But it just lacks the polished touch of earlier seasons, and as I say above, the story is a bit over-complicated in places.