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Mac's Back

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 87
Season Number: 5.3
Air Date: 10/11/1984
Writer: Donald P. Bellisario
Director: Alan J. Levi
Producer: Reuben Leder
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Jeff MacKay (Jim "Mac" Bonnick), Lance LeGault (Col. Buck Greene), Glenn Cannon (Doc Ibold), Carmella Barut (Carmella), Esmond Chung (Sgt. Kenny Chung)
Guest Stars
Darryl Ferrera (Fr. Jim Hiller), Fred Ball (Ice Cream Parlor Manager), Robert Harker (Jeweler), Winston Char (Duc-Ho), Tor Kamata (Bodyguard #1), Al Leong (Bodyguard #2), Tara Clark (Olga)
Episode Brief
Diane's suicide triggers memories of others that Magnum has loved who have been killed, sending him into a spiral of depression. Magnum's sanity comes into question when he thinks he has seen his old friend Lt. MacReynolds walking down the street. But "Mac" is dead, so who did he see?
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1 This is the first "Mac-centric" episode of the series.

2 After having his character (Lt. MacReynolds) killed off in the Season Three opener "Did You See the Sunrise?", Jeff MacKay returns to the series one year after filming for Tales of the Gold Monkey, a Bellisario TV show that sadly failed to make it in the ratings, ended. The producers of Magnum P.I. found a "creative" way to work Jeff MacKay back into the series; they created a character (Jim "Mac" Bonnick) that is a doppelganger of Lt. MacReynolds! Jim "Mac" Bonnick was recently medically discharged from the Navy and now makes his living as a full-time con man. He uses several aliases in this episode, including Fr. Jim Hiller, Lt. Neville Thompson (NIA), Lt. Briggs (Pilot), and Cmdr. Broderick (Shore Patrol). Jim "Mac" Bonnick will appear in 8 more episodes.

3 An alternate version of the standard theme song is used in the opening title sequence! The guitar and drums work, in particular, are very different in this version. This is the only episode where this version will be used in the opening title sequence. Since the pilot movie, eight different versions of the Magnum P.I. theme song have been heard: There will be three more versions to come in future episodes, in "Deja Vu (2)" (closing credits), "This Island Isn't Big Enough" (opening credits) and "Resolutions (2)" (closing credits).

4 This episode stands on its own, but has a greater impact when viewed immediately after "Echoes of the Mind (2)" (5.2), as events from that episode are referenced.

5 We see flashbacks to several scenes from previous episodes: 6 The Kahala Hilton is used as a filming location for the King Kamehameha Club for the second time, following "Echoes of the Mind" (5.1 & 5.2).

7 The black desk chair used by Col. Buck Greene is the same one that was used in Higgins' "1976" study in Season Four's "Holmes Is Where the Heart Is" (4.18). You can tell they are the same chair because both have the same distinctive buttoned back. (Noted by Tim)

8 This is an early-career appearance for Al Leong (Bodyguard #2). Al will have some memorable roles in such films as Lethal Weapon (1987) and Die Hard (1988) and will achieve a cult status as one of the great martial arts actor/stuntmen of his time.

9 Legendary Stempede Wrestling professional wrestler Tor Kamata appears in this episode as one of Duc-Ho's bodyguards. Tor also wrestled in the WWF (managed by Fred Blassie) in the late 70's.

10 Future longtime KGMB (Hawaii) news reporter Jade Moon makes a brief uncredited appearance in the poker game scene.

11 Doc Ibold mentions three works of fiction from Higgins' study, Harvey (1945 Pulitzer Prize winning play by Mary Chase), the 1929 Hardy Boys novel The Mystery of Cabin Island, and Ernest Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).

12 Always suspected, but never confirmed until now, Higgins and Magnum first met in 1979.

13 In 1949 in India, Higgins was Lord Mountbatten's batman while the regular batman recovered from a mishap with a sacred cow. While getting figs for Monty, he saw a holy man who looked exactly like his mother! It was "bloody frightening"!
Higgins: If you're going to drink yourself into a stupor, wouldn't whiskey be more effective?
Magnum: Too hard to keep an even buzz on with whiskey.

Magnum: It's not just Diane! It's Michelle and Mac, Rick's little sister, Dan Cook, the little Vietnamese kid whose name I can't remember....My Dad. All people I loved, or who counted on me, and they're gone.
Higgins: Death is part of life. I know that sounds trite, but the very nature of life means that the older we get, the more loses we can expect. And, if we go to war, or choose a profession such as yours, those loses are going to be higher.
Magnum: Look, Higgins. I know you are trying to help and I appreciate it, I really do. I know this isn't going to solve anything, I know I'm being morose, and stupid, but I just don't give a damn.

Jim "Mac" Bonnick: I, ahh... think you're confusing me with someone else, son. My name's not "Mac". I'm Lt. Cmdr. Hiller, but most of the men call me Father Jim.

Higgins: The two of you are as nervous as a pair of Devonshire schoolgirls.
T.C.: And you're not?
Higgins: No.
T.C.: Then why have you been sipping tea from an empty cup for the last half-hour?
1 Towards the beginning, when the gang are at the King Kamehameha Club beach bar, Higgins' wine glass size and napkin color unexpectedly changes several times. (Noted by Bernd-Christian Schulze)

2 In the scene where Rick, T.C. and Higgins meet Jim "Mac" Bonnick, and they explain to Magnum that they didn't think he was crazy, there is an audio/video sync error; their lips don't match the words spoken. (Noted by Mike Barnes)

3 At 23:56, when Higgins, Rick, T.C. and Doc Ibold are in the study discussing Magnum's mental health, a lighting shade can be seen for a few seconds. (Noted by Robert Kelley)

4 At the end, when Mac's ghost is lighting Magnum's cigar, we very briefly see the medals on his uniform. Although it is a super quick look, you can see a Vietnam campaign ribbon. Mac never once mentions being in Vietnam, and according to Magnum in "Did You See the Sunrise?" (3.1 & 3.2) Mac "wasn't in 'Nam". (Noted by N1095A)

5 The Sailor (Ric Groenendal) is incorrectly listed as "Salior" in the end credits. (Noted by Agatha)

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