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Dead Man's Channel

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 20
Season Number: 2.2
Air Date: 10/15/1981
Writer: Diane Frolov
Director: Ray Austin
Producers: Rick Weaver, Andrew Schneider
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Jeff MacKay (Lt. MacReynolds)
Guest Stars
Ina Balin (Prof. Martinez), Wendy Girard (Marion Hammond), Mamaluna (Tehani), Curtis Malia (Keone)
Episode Brief
After her archaeologist father's boat is found deserted at sea in the Nihoa Channel, a marine biology student hires Magnum to find out what happened to him. The local natives warn Magnum to stay away from the "cursed" channel, but he's determined to find out what happened to the missing man.
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1 The original script for this episode was titled "Nihoa Curse".

2 This is the first episode to feature elements of traditional Hawaiian culture and people. Season One's "The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club" (1.11) dabbled in it briefly with the Kahuna subplot. This is also the first episode to feature underwater scuba diving scenes, something which will be featured again in Season Five's "Under World" (5.5) and Season Six's "Rapture" (6.11).

3 Roger E. Mosley does not appear in this episode. This is the first episode of the series where one of the show's four stars is absent for the entire story. During the show's eight-year run, Mosley will be absent from three episodes, Manetti and Hillerman only one. Tom Selleck will appear in all 162 syndicated episodes.

4 From this episode, the clips with Rick at the top of the yacht giving the "thumbs up" and Magnum fighting underwater in scuba gear are now used in the opening title sequence. The scuba fight clip will be used for the rest of the show's run.

5 The Magnum Chime audio motif is heard for the second time. It occurs briefly at the end of the Higgins/Magnum "Kudu Buck" scene on the Estate grounds, just after Higgins says, "No, I... had a whiskey after lunch... I think that perhaps that is sufficient for today."

6 This is Wendy Girard's (Marion Hammond) first television appearance. She has spent most of her career in theater and stage productions. She has the distinction of being the youngest life member ever accepted into Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio.

7 The set for Prof. Martinez' office features several items that were used in Steve McGarrett's office on Hawaii Five-0, including his chairs and globe.

8 Episode screenwriter Diane Frolov will go on to produce and write for Northern Exposure and The Sopranos, among others. She was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for best dramatic series for her work on the sixth season of The Sopranos. This is her very first television screenplay. She will also pen the Season Two episode "The Taking of Dick McWilliams" (2.10).

9 Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu is again used as a filming location (for several scenes). (Noted by Tim)

10 The King Kamehameha I sportfishing boat is seen for the first time. It's a 50' Bertram cockpit motor yacht.

11 A great Mike Post/Peter Carpenter score accompanies the first scuba diving scene with Magnum. The score features a rendition of the Magnum P.I. theme never heard after and includes both some Hawaiian guitar "twangs" as well as Tom Selleck voice-over narration. Great stuff!

12 Rick drives the red Nissan 280ZX for the second time. We first saw him driving it in "Thank Heaven for Little Girls and Big Ones Too" (1.4).

13 Higgins talks about the "Kudu Buck", in a highly amusing, classic Magnum/Higgins scene. Based on sounds only, he thought one was loose on the estate grounds, but it turned out to be a common goat. The Greater Kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. It is large in size and has "great twisted antlers". Higgins studied it carefully at close range when he was at the Zambezi river, somewhere in the African plain (date unknown).

14 Ina Balin (Prof. Martinez) will later guest star in Season Seven's "L.A." (7.1 & 7.2).
Magnum: This was one of those days I wish I'd listened to my mother and studied to be an orthodontist. Looking into someone's mouth has gotta be better than staring death in the face. (Narration)

Magnum: Come on Higgins, just another day. One more and I'll...
Higgins: You'll what?
Magnum: I'll give up the tennis courts.
Higgins: You don't have the tennis courts!

Tehani: You wanna know what happened to Mr. Hammond?
Magnum: That's right.
Tehani: It's Kapu for my people to talk of the channel. The Neho waters are sacred. They belong to Kanaloa.
Magnum: Kanaloa?
Tehani: The God of the Sea. No Hualalai may enter the channel! All who do, die!
Magnum: Well, you know, the Navy's been going out on the channel for quite a few years now and nothing seems to have happened to them.
Tehani: Everything is done in Kanaloa's time. You have been warned!

Higgins: Don't be ridiculous, you're describing a goat. I'm talking about a type of antelope found only in... Magnum, are you telling me the animal in question is...
Magnum: A goat.
Higgins: A wild goat?
Magnum: Tame. A child's pet and its name is "Horace". Now, you can't shoot an animal when you know its name.
Higgins: How did a goat get on Robin Masters' estate?? ... Withdraw the question. Remove the creature immediately!
Magnum: C'mon Higgins, just another day. One more and I'll... give up the tennis courts.
Higgins: You don't "have" the tennis courts!

Higgins: It's been a long day. I think I'm going to turn in early.
Magnum: You sure you wouldn't care to join me in a brandy and soda?
Higgins: No, I... had a whiskey after lunch... I think that perhaps that is sufficient for today.
1 When Magnum dives in the channel for the first time searching for treasure, he's wearing his team ring on his left ring finger. However, when he reaches the surface after finding the artifact, the team ring is now on his right ring finger. (Noted by Operation Chessboard)

2 When Higgins goes to look up about Antelopes in the study, watch the books carefully - as he takes one out, three others fall over; but in the close-ups of Higgins, only one has fallen. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

3 Toward the end of the episode, when Thomas, Rick, and Marion are in the King Kam I searching for the treasure, they are supposed to be in the "Nihoa Channel" (which, based on the opening scene, is supposed to be a good ways off the coast line); however, they are right off the coast of Manana Island, a stones throw away from Robin's Nest! (Noted by Pete Walkup)

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