Magnum Mania! Banner

Previous Episode Next Episode

Letter to a Duchess

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 69
Season Number: 4.6
Air Date: 11/10/1983
Writer: Robert Hamilton
Director: Bernard L. Kowalski
Producer: Reuben Leder
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Patrick Bishop (Keoki - uncredited)
Guest Stars
Jane Merrow (Vivian Brock Jones), Terence Knapp (Wilkes), Max Kleven (Graham), Yankee Chang (Vendor)
Episode Brief
While Magnum prepares for an annual surf-ski race, Higgins has his hands full hiding the beautiful Lady Wilkerson from two shady pursuers. Smitten by the maiden in distress, Higgins sends her a letter expressing his feelings, but she mistakenly thinks the amorous words are from Magnum. It quickly becomes a case of romance on the run when the duchess is kidnapped and the two "Romeos" must spring into action to save her.
8.7(56 votes)Rate Episode
1 This is the sixth "Higgins-centric" episode of the series, following "Tropical Madness" (2.7), "The Elmo Ziller Story" (2.21), "Black on White" (3.6), "Foiled Again" (3.8) and "Faith and Begorrah" (3.23).

2 It's not mentioned in the episode, but the first Higgins/Vivian flashback scene appears to be from the early 1960s, mostly likely in a Far East conflict (it could be Malaya 1960, in the Malayan Emergency). Higgins' shoulder patch (Tactical Recognition Flash) is that of a British/Gurkha unit. Based on Higgins' military history and his shoulder insignia, he is here most likely attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles regiment. (Noted by IslandHopper)

3 The historic Clarence H. Cooke House, later known as the Marks Estate, in the Nuuanu Valley is used as a filming location for the King Kamehameha Club. Normally this location is only used for a brief establishing shot of the club, but here the back patio and front driveway are used for two extended scenes. The back patio was previously briefly seen in Season Two's "Billy Joe Bob" (2.1).

4 "Whitt" is fictional - There is no such place in the United Kingdom.

5 The King Kamehameha Club surf ski race is mentioned again. Once again, mention is made of the young girl (Kiki Kahuna) who beat Magnum in that year's race (as well as the year before). Kiki will be mentioned again in the Season Seven episode "Forty" (7.17).

6 The number on Magnum's King Kamehameha Club tank top has changed. Previously, it's been #44. Now, it is #14. (Noted by Mike Barnes)

7 Magnum mentions that he is 38 years old. This will be contradicted in future episodes, namely "Forty" (7.17).

8 A brief still shot of the French castle Chateau de Roquetaillade (SE of Bordeaux) is used as an establishing shot (incorrectly) for the "English Midlands". (ID'd by rubber chicken)

9 Higgins is seen inventorying a copy of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop.

10 When Higgins helps Vivian in the alley, he drops his brown paper bag (containing purchases he just made at the British-themed store), but does not bother to pick it up as he leaves.

11 This episode features a particularly exciting brawl at the end. Magnum takes on, and takes out, 3 or 4 guys, while Higgins, with his cane, lays some serious hurt on a few guys himself! Higgins makes very few appearances in hand-to-hand combat scenes, so this is a real treat.
Magnum: Sure, I know, it's crazy to refer to whatever Higgins and I share as friendship, but it is. We fight and bicker like an old married couple, but somewhere, mixed in with the jibes, is a funny kind of mutual trust. (Narration)

Higgins: Lady Wilkerson, wife of the late Duke of Whitt.

Higgins: For a moment, I failed to remember that the ways of a gentleman are patently foreign to you. I revere words like honor, integrity, chivalry -- words that are clearly not in your vocabulary.
Magnum: Higgins, enough! Knocking my rubber chicken or my sloppy habits is within the rules, but you're attacking my character. I would like to think you don't mean that.
Higgins: Yes, I'm sorry. It's just that you can't know what it's like to care deeply for someone and have your hope taken.
Magnum: Yes, I can.

Magnum: I was on my third tour of duty in Vietnam. A classmate of mine, Richie Dalyrumple-White, had been missing in action for some time...
1 Magnum returns to the estate to learn that Higgins has received a call from the kidnappers. Higgins is in the study, sitting with a snifter of brandy in his hand and the bottle on the table. Magnum sits opposite Higgins, and Higgins tells him about seeing Vivian in the Strand after the war. Suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, Magnum is also holding a snifter of brandy, but he did not pour one for himself before sitting down, or get up to get one, nor did Higgins offer him one. Nor was there an empty glass on the table! (Noted by wilko)

2 The French castle Chateau de Roquetaillade (SE of Bordeaux) is incorrectly used as an establishing shot for the "English Midlands". The castle is not identified in the episode, so it's an extremely minor error. (Noted by rubber chicken)

3 When Higgins met with the kidnappers, the location was given as Hotel and Liliha Streets which do not intersect. The scene looks like it was filmed at Hotel and River Streets. (Noted by DutchZ)

4 In the surf ski race at the end of the episode, when establishing the shot in the beginning scene, Magnum's paddle fins are white. Then in the wide angle aerial shot, they appear black. The following shot they are white again. Another aerial shot shows reddish orange fins, and he finishes the race with white fins once again. (Noted by Spence Calkins)

5 Also during the surf ski race, in what has to be one of the funniest, most bizarre flubs/continuity errors ever, Magnum starts the race with his Detroit Tigers cap, but finishes it with his Da Nang cap. What makes this so strange is that Magnum lost his Da Nang cap in the Season Four opener "Home From the Sea" (when he is knocked off his surf ski by a reckless boater). We havn't seen him wear his Da Nang cap since, and yet here we see him suddenly wearing it out of nowhere, in the middle of a surf ski race! It's like he found his lost cap at sea! (Noted by Timmer33)

Shoot me an email if you'd like to have something added or corrected

Magnum P.I. on DVD

All 8 seasons are now available for purchase! External DVD Reviews

Rubber Chicken's Guide Magnum P.I. Locations

Magnum on the Web