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China Doll

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 3
Season Number: 1.3
Air Date: 12/18/1980
Writer: Donald P. Bellisario
Director: Donald P. Bellisario
Producer: J. Rickley Dumm
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Remi Abellira (Moki)
Guest Stars
Susie Elene (Mai Ling), George Cheung (Choi), Yankee Chang (Han Ling), Lee de Broux (Duffy), Roland Nip (Pin Ling), Marvin Wong (Ho Ling), Lee Gaber (Tourist)
Episode Brief
Magnum is hired by a beautiful Chinese antiques dealer to protect an ancient vase known as The Soul of Soong until its buyer arrives in Hawaii to collect it. What he doesn't know is that the vase is also wanted by a Tong gang and a deadly martial arts assasin who will stop at nothing to get it for them.
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1 The original script for this episode was titled "Never Play with a China Doll".

2 This episode won a 1981 Edgar Award for Best Television Episode.

3 In the DVD releases for Regions 1 and 2, the music and audio is out of sync in several scenes. The first notable instance is when Magnum and Mai Ling kiss in the Chinese garden; the music comes in 12 seconds late. When Magnum leaves and realizes he's been followed, the score kicks in notably late, as does the music when Magnum is running along the beach looking for Mai Ling. The scene with the tourists talking to Rick is way off as well, with the music playing over the dialog. The "Six Million Dollar Man" sound effects in the graveyard do not match up with Magnum's movements. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

4 Series co-creator, executive producer and episode writer/director Donald P. Bellisario is briefly seen during the opening credits (at the same time his director credit is shown) walking down N. Hotel Street in Chinatown. (Noted by Pete W.)

5 Magnum wears his Detroit Tigers baseball cap and the iconic red Hawaiian "Jungle Bird" shirt for the first time! Surf legend and L.A. fabric store owner Philip "Flippy" Hoffman created the tropical screen-print design for the shirt.

6 There are several noticeable differences between the "Pilot Movie" and this episode, the first official episode of the series:
  • The license plate on the Ferrari is now 'ROBIN1' (instead of '56E-478') and will remain so for the rest of the series. Oddly, the '56E-478' license plate will also continue to be seen for the rest of the series, in the opening title sequence (the "ferrari glance" shot, from the "Pilot Movie").
  • The interior of the main house at Robin's Nest has changed significantly. In the "Pilot Movie", the indoor scenes of the main house at Robin's Nest were actually filmed at the Clarence H. Cooke House in the Nuuanu Valley (not at the Anderson Estate), but starting with this episode soundstage sets at the Hawaii Film Studio will be used for all interior shots at Robin's Nest.
  • Rick now runs the King Kamehameha Club with no explanation given as to what happened to his glitzy discotheque (Rick's Cafe Americain, aka "The Snow Palace") from the "Pilot Movie"! Rick's character has also changed. He is no longer a retro "Bogie"-type character.
7 The famous Magnum "look back" shot is seen at the end of this episode. There are actually two different "look backs" in the same scene. In the first one, he turns his head to the right (this is the one used in the opening title sequence for all seasons). In the second one, he turns his head to the left.

8 The desk in Higgins's office/study is the exact same desk used by Steve McGarrett in the original Hawaii Five-O. The desk will be used throughout the show's run.

9 Higgins "breaks the fourth wall" ("locking eyes" with the audience) for the first time. He will do so in only a handful of episodes.

10 Magnum is trilingual. He speaks English, French and Vietnamese. The French part will be contradicted in "Little Girl Who" (7.7), where it's clear that Magnum does not speak French.

11 List of notable filming locations: 12 Chinese enforcer Choi (George Cheung) lays some serious hurt on the main characters. T.C. suffers some "busted ribs" and a broken collar bone after tangling with Choi one-on-one. At the end of the episode, Choi throws a Shuriken (a throwing star) at Magnum, which lodges in the back of his right hand! Ouch! Magnum also suffers a bruised left knee. Choi was no match for Magnum's .45, however.

13 Rick wears a "hot dog shirt" in this episode. Lloyd DeWitt will wear a different "hot dog shirt" in Season Four's "The Return of Luther Gillis" (4.16). That's right, the show features two different "hot dog shirts" that will be worn by different characters some four years apart!

14 The couple that take a ride with Magnum and T.C. in the chopper is the same couple that is turned down for a pedicab ride by Rick (while he waits for Choi to arrive). (Noted by seahawks1)

15 The shot of Waikiki beach with a girl showering at a beachside shower is stock footage from the 1979 TV movie The Chinese Typewriter starring Tom Selleck and James Whitemore Jr. The footage will be used again in "Missing in Action" (1.9) and Season Four's "Limited Engagement" (4.5). (Noted by golfmobile)

16 Lee de Broux (Duffy the Sailor) will later appear as Gallagher (the tourist shop owner) in Season Three's "The Arrow That is Not Aimed" (3.14) and Rodney Radcliff (the hot rod mechanic) in Season Six's "Old Acquaintance" (6.3).

17 Magnum is seen using a Star Model B handgun in his encounter with Choi at the cemetary. In a closeup shot of the gun, however, a Star Model BM (compact version of the Star Model B) is used. Normally, Magnum uses a Colt Government Model .45 ACP handgun. (Noted by MaximRecoil)

18 In 1962 in Cairo, Higgins was briefly attached to the British Museum there and learned a thing or two about repairing vases.

* The cemetary is home to Chang Apana, the real life inspiration for Charlie Chan.
(to Ho Ling)
Magnum: Hi, Ho!
(makes funny face, looks at camera)

Rick: What do you think this is, Guys and Dolls?

Mai Ling: The dragon tattoo is a sign of the Tong. On the palm, it signifies a Wing Chun warrior of the first degree. Some people believe such a man can kill with a look.
Magnum: Only women can do that, Mai Ling.

T.C.: Hey, Thomas! Don't be no hero, man! Use the .45! Watch his eyes. He blinks before he strikes!
1 Early in the episode, the male relative that Mai Ling runs the Treasures of the Dove antique shop with is refered to by Magnum as (her) Uncle Ho, but later he is refered to as Cousin Ho.

2 When Magnum finds Mai Ling lying on the beach, he bends down to her with his cap on. Then there is a close up of him with his cap off, before the next shot where it is back on, and he takes it off! (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

3 The scar that was seen on Magnum's left shoulder in the "Pilot Movie" is nowhere to be seen in this episode. The scar will return (and disappear again) in future episodes.

4 When Magnum leaves the King Kamehameha Club with Mai Ling in the Ferrari and turns onto the road, you can see a driver, but the passenger seat is empty. (Noted by Mark S.)

5 When T.C. and Magnum are approaching Kauai in the chopper, you can see the Makapuu Lighthouse in the background. The Makapuu Lighthouse is on Oahu (southeast side), not Kauai. (Noted by Pete W.)

6 In part of the same scene as flub #5, for a brief moment you only see one person in chopper (the pilot). The passenger seat (Magnum's seat) is suddenly empty. (Noted by Bernd-Christian Schulze)

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