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Sunday, June 04, 2006

did you see the sunrise?

I've been purchasing and viewing the DVD releases of each Magnum, P.I. season in order. This is a show that I never watched during its original run, but got hooked on during its rerun syndication. So far I've completed the first two seasons, and I've just started the third (there are eight seasons in total).

The first episode of Season 3 is a two-parter called "Did you see the sunrise?". This is one of my favorite episodes. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode but intend to some day, you may want to stop reading here.

I won't review every detail of the plot, except to say that it involves mind controlled assasination attempts and an evil KGB dude named Ivan. If you've seen the episode, you know that in end, Magnum blows away Ivan in cold blood (which is not to say that he didn't deserve it). Ivan, who is about to board a plane out of Oahu, is intercepted in his limo by Magnum, who leads him into a secluded wooded area. You see, even though the military knows he's responsible for a recent assasination attempt on a Japanese prince (via a mind-controlled T.C., foiled by Magnum and Rick at the last minute), as well as many previous assasinations (even including Anwar Sadat, according to the story), the military decides to let him leave the country as a free man for political reasons. This is not good enough for Magnum.

After being lead into the woods, Ivan tells Magnum that he knows him well, and knows that Magnum won't be able to shoot him. If he were running towards him with a gun, maybe, but not unarmed. But Magnum can't forget that Ivan is responsible for the death of his friend Mac MacReynolds, who died in Magnum's Ferrari when a car bomb, placed by Ivan and intended for Magnum, exploded with MacReynolds in it instead. MacReynolds had suggested to Magnum and his date that they drive up to a lookout to watch the sunrise. Just then he started the car in order to pick up Magnum and his ladyfriend, and the bomb goes off.

So after Ivan's lecture on how Magnum could never kill him like this, Magnum asks Ivan if he saw the sunrise that day. He answers "yes, it was beautiful. Why?"
We then see Magnum turn around and fire, with the camera freeze framing the blast from his gun (we never see Ivan go down).

The thing is, it's not clear Magnum acted morally or not, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he did. The problem I have is that this is still legally a murder, and as such, it seems like Magnum would have a tough time getting away with it. Is he going to leave Ivan's body just laying there? Will they trace the ammo to Magnum's gun? The limo was stopped with the help of Rick, who pretended to have car trouble while blocking the limo's path. Won't the limo driver talk to the police about this, and won't Magnum then be tied to Rick and thus to the disappearance of Ivan? It just seems too ridiculous that Magnum would expect to get away with this. Other than that, it's a very entertaining and thought-provoking episode.


Blogger Vapor said...

All your reasoning makes sense, but just one thing...If the US government "wants" Magnum to get away with this, then he will. Remember the voice over as IVAN is leaving the Soviet embassy, the government doesn't want to make an issue of this with the Soviets, so IVAN is being allowed to leave.

If they arrest Magnum, then it becomes a big international incident, as the 'poor Bulgarian' is murdered. No doubt both the Soviet government and the US government would make this all go away, and Magnum would never be arrested.

10:11 PM  
Blogger jmc said...

I think you've got a good point, Vapor. I suppose that in the end, the feds could force any investigations by Five-O or city police departments to shut down. I sure wouldn't want to count on it, though.

7:34 AM  

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