A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Magnum genuinely wants to help people and has a close friendship with his Vietnam buddies. While Higgins and Magnum argue, it's clear that they respect each other. Some of the issues raised as part of Magnum's investigations include adultery and post traumatic stress disorder. People of Polynesian and other diverse Asian racial/ethnic backgrounds are visible; T.C. is African-American.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent punching and physical fighting, often leading to black eyes and broken limbs. Guns are frequently seen and fired, but blood is rarely visible. Magnum only uses a gun as a last resort. Some deaths, but not graphic (especially compared to today's shows).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Definitely some flirting and sexual innuendo, but much will go over younger viewers' head. Magnum's wardrobe includes tight blue jeans, short shorts, and tank tops (Selleck was a big sex symbol when the show originally aired). He's sometimes seen wearing only boxer shorts. Women in bikinis are consistently visible.
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Later episodes sometimes include the word "damn," but it's rare.
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Products & Purchases
The show prominently features a GT 380 Ferrari and highlights some Hawaiian attractions.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults frequently drink wine, beer, and hard alcohol (Magnum is often seen with a beer bottle in hand). Visible cigarette and cigar smoking. Occasional references to drugs and drug smuggling (generally related to investigations).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this hit 1980s crime drama -- which has a healthy dose of humor, too -- is full of tropical beaches, beautiful women, and lots of sexual innuendo (not to mention Tom Selleck in short shorts). But most of the racier stuff will probably go over kids' head. There's some violence, including the use of guns, but it's mild by today's standards, and blood is rarely seen. Some episodes are heavier than others, but overall it's a lighthearted throwback that still entertains.
Is It Any Good?
With its combination of drama, humor, action, and sex appeal, is it any wonder that MAGNUM P.I. was a mega hit in the '80s? The Hawaiian setting -- combined with Magnum's tight jeans, short shorts, and unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts -- makes for an ideal tropical fantasy that plays up the private eye's sex appeal. The splashy series also reflects the longing for economic excess that characterized the '80s.
But Magnum's biggest cultural contribution may very well have been its willingness to openly examine some of the troubling long-term issues that Vietnam veterans faced as they transitioned back into civilian life after the war.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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