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Way of the Stalking Horse

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 123
Season Number: 6.17
Air Date: 2/20/1986
Writer: Bruce Cervi
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Producer: Chris Abbott
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Elisha Cook Jr. (Icepick), Glenn Cannon (Doc Ibold), Kwan Hi Lim (Lt. Tanaka), Kathleen Lloyd (Carol Baldwin - uncredited)
Guest Stars
Morgan Stevens (Driscoll), Marta Kober ("Mary Elizabeth"), Clu Gulager (Theo Wolf), Mie Hunt (Kim Nakamura Wolf), Ron Wood (Reporter #3)
Episode Brief
Magnum is hired by meek insurance salesman Dan Wolf to locate his father, who he has not seen for thirty years. But unawares to Magnum, the client is actually an impostor hit man who is using Magnum to help locate his victim, wealthy businessman Theo Wolf, whom he plans to kill to make a name for himself. In the hit, Magnum, too, is shot, bringing him close to death. Despite his wounds, Magnum becomes hell-bent on going after the hit man to claim revenge for the dead man's widowed wife and son, and for himself.
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1 The "stalking horse" motif is used in three other episodes, "The Last Page" (2.20), "Birdman of Budapest" (3.16) and "Laura" (7.18), although here the effect is much more dramatic in this dark, gritty, suspense-filled episode.

2 This episode begins with a flashback to Miami in 1975. Stock aerial footage of Miami is used, but no scenes were actually filmed there. Miami (1955) was also used in the opening flashback scene of "Mr. White Death" (3.9).

3 Kathleen Lloyd (Carol) is not credited for the "vision" that she makes to Magnum when he is nearly dead.

4 Magnum is shot just below his left collarbone and goes into cardiac arrest. He comes close to death, and has almost heavenly-like visions of his friends. This is a forerunner to the infamous Season Seven closer "Limbo" (7.22), where he seemingly dies and goes to heaven. One of his "visions" involves "Bogie-Rick", complete with white suit, stache and bowtie!

5 Like "I Never Wanted to Go to France, Anyway..." (6.12) previously in the season, and elements of Season Two's "The Woman on the Beach" (2.3) and Season Five's "Fragments" (5.6), this episode features some light "horror-ish" elements at the climax, with the sneaking around the old deserted building in the dark, and the many eerie dummies laying around.

6 When the baseball is heard to be breaking glass, part of the sound effect that is heard was also used for the sound of Airwolf's turbos igniting. This sound effect was used several times in MPI, but this is the most notable. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

7 Kirk Matthews (Reporter #1) is a longtime Oahu newscaster (KHON-TV). He had brief parts in three Magnum P.I. episodes ("Forty", "The People vs. Orville Wright"). (Noted by Tim)

8 List of notable filming locations: 9 Six years into the show's run and Magnum finally straps on a seatbelt while driving the Ferrari! We won't see another seatbelt in use until later in Season Seven.

10 Marta Kober ("Mary Elizabeth") was in Friday the 13th Part II (she was part of the famous after-sex impalement scene) and Playboy's "Inside Out #1". Martha is also remembered for her performance in the educational after-school movie Rodeo Red and the Runaway (1978). She received an Emmy nomination and a Christopher Award for her starring role in that movie. Her performance in this episode as the street kid "Mary Elizabeth" is highly memorable.

11 Higgins casually mentions Ernest Thayer's classic 1888 baseball poem "Casey at the Bat".

12 Magnum "name-checks" New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden.

13 Magnum has an "Uncle Jim" who lived in his hometown of Tidewater (Region), Virginia. He coached Magnum's little league team when he was in the 4th grade. No mention as to how he relates to Uncle Richie, Uncle George, Aunt Margaret, Aunt Mildred, or Aunt Phoebe.

14 For many years, the IMDB (and other sources) incorrectly credited Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood as appearing in this episode (as Reporter #3), as well as three other Magnum P.I. episodes. The correct Ron Wood was added to the IMDB in 2007.

15 T.C. is seen wearing a Super Bowl XX hat. Super Bowl XX was played a little over a month before this episode aired. The Chicago Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46-10 at the Louisiana Superdome. New Orleans is T.C.'s hometown.

* This is the ninth and final episode to feature this historic Oahu estate.
** Demolished in 1986. Demolition footage used in Season Seven's "Paper War".
Magnum: After the first time I was wounded in Vietnam, I'd noticed a weird series of reactions to being shot. I'd wondered if anybody had ever written them down like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' "Stages of Death". First, there's denial. Then comes a giddy kind of relief, shock and surprise at still being alive. All the senses working together in Technicolor and Hi-Fi at the joy of actually having survived. And then, the paranoia sets in. If it's happened once, it can happen again. Suddenly, every sound is an approaching enemy, every smell a lethal gas, and no way of knowing whether it's a mind game, or a clear and present danger. And no way of stoping the heart racing, the palms sweating, until the paranoia stage has slipped into revenge. (Narration)

(Icepick walks into Magnum's hospital room)
Icepick: You outta get a tennis ball. It'll bring that grip back in no time. I've seen guys lose a hand. A tennis ball, makes the other hand twice as strong.
Magnum: Tennis ball?! Right.
Icepick: You are wondering why I am here?
Magnum: No, well, yes, I'm glad to see you.
Icepick: Ethics Magnum. Nobody knows about ethics no more. In the old days there would never be this kind of garbage where everybody gets hit. The guy that got hit, he got hit thats all, not everybody around him. There's no ethics!
Magnum: I know you didn't just come here to talk to me about ethics.
Icepick: No I didn't, no. Just let me talk. All you have to do is listen.
(Magnum shakes head up and down)
Icepick: Now, the "hitter's" name is Driscoll. He's new in the "business", looking to make a name for himself. He took on a contract that nobody has been able to fill for ten years. Now Theo Wolf, he's been a mark ever since he did a job in Miami ... [snip]
Magnum: Why are you doing this?
Icepick: Ethics, that piece of dirt. He "hit" a friend of mine.
Magnum: Theo Wolf?
Icepick: I didn't know Theo. You never saw me. (walks out)
1 In the opening scene with the baseball pitching machine at the estate, the machine is lined up with its back toward the main estate house, and you can see the wall on the road side of the property behind Magnum as he readies himself to hit the ball. After two strikes, the next pitch comes with the pitching machine's rear pointed toward the main gate and the gatehouse (not the main estate house), and Magnum is located nearer the garage end of the estate house (not the road side wall). The scene was clearly shot at two different times, for reasons unknown. (Noted by lutherhgillis)

2 When Magnum's heart has stopped, Doc Ibold asks for adrenaline. As he is preparing to inject, Magnum's heartbeat starts again before he injects it! The heartbeat audio starts a bit too soon. (Noted by Timmer33)

3 When Magnum is chasing Driscoll out of the hotel, in the shot where Magnum jumps from the bottom of the fire escape, it is quite clearly a stunt double. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

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