Magnum Mania! Banner

Previous Episode Next Episode

Paper War

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 135
Season Number: 7.8
Air Date: 11/12/1986
Writer: Jay Huguely
Director: Tony Wharmby
Producer: Rick Weaver
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Gillian Dobb (Agatha Chumley)
Guest Stars
James Shigeta (Mr. Obotu), Richard Narita (Bill Nahli), Kimo Kahoano (Foreman), Clay Wai (Ed)
Episode Brief
When Higgins unwittingly causes Magnum to wipe an expensive computer game loaned from T.C., and Thomas accidentally erases a chunk of Higgins' memoirs stored on the computer, a feud breaks out between the pair. Magnum is trying to break a major, crooked gambling ring that is operating on the islands, but it is none too easy while in the middle of the falling out with Higgins, which starts out with each trying to out-do the other with "eye for an eye" practical jokes, and quickly develops into a particularly bitter battle of wills.
9.1(52 votes)Rate Episode
1 This episode is sometimes referred to as "The Practical Joke" (or "Battle of Wills") episode.

2 Unusual for the show, there is no opening preview for this episode.

3 The seldom seen "computer room" at Robin's Nest is used for the amusing opening scene. The space computer game that Magnum is seen playing, "Siege of the Seventh Galaxy", is fictional. Similiar to the "Dungeon Master" game seen in "Little Games" (5.12), the game graphics seen on-screen are not from a real game. It is actually a mock animation sequence made to look like a real computer game. Interestingly, the computer game cover that is briefly seen in the episode is identical to the now classic 1986 space exloration role-playing game Starflight, but with the words "Starflight" replaced with "Siege of the Seventh Galaxy".

4 The idea that Robin and Higgins could be the same person is introduced for the first time by Magnum. Trapped in a lift, Magnum confronts Higgins about this, theorizing that Higgins is Robin, and the man that occasionally appears as Robin is merely someone that Higgins has hired. Higgins, of course, denies the claims. Magnum says he suspects that Higgins hired, "...some little guy with a voice like Orson Welles" and a "body like Truman Capote". This is a series self-reference, as the voice of Robin Masters was primarily provided by the real Orson Welles.

5 Results of the Magnum vs. Higgins "Battle of Wills":

Rd. Magnum Higgins
1 Reformats the Robin's Nest security computer hard drive, unintentionally erasing part of Higgins' memoirs (five complete chapters on New Delhi, India). Reports Ferrari stolen (Magnum is arrested and has to be bailed out of jail by Rick).
2 Kills Higgins' prized "Cereus Mandevillus" plants with a weed wacker! Cuts the head off Magnum's beloved rubber chicken and leaves it under his pillow!
3 Puts cement in the barrel of Higgins' antique cannon! Donates Magnum's "stuff" (Tiger's baseball jersey, baseball glove, gorilla mask, etc.) to the "Home for Incorrigible Boys"!
4 Blows up Higgins' River Kwai Bridge model with a detonator! Sabotages Magnum's surf ski and paddle (Magnum sinks in the tidal pool)!

6 Magnum wears the grey, adjustable cap for the second and final time. It was first seen in "The Love-For-Sale Boat" (5.17). The "Get Wet!" cap is also seen again (for the third time).

7 The building implosion scene uses real footage of the demolition of Kaiser Hospital (at 100 Holomoana St., Ala Wai Boat Harbor) in 1986. The location is now home to the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. (Noted by Sam).

8 When Magnum pokes his head out of the top of the elevator, check out the quality of film on the shot of the rat - it is all scratchy and dirty, and seems to be (old) pre-existing stock footage! (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

9 The "International Hawaiian (flower) Show" scene was filmed on location at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in downtown Honolulu.

10 James Shigeta (Mr. Obotu) previously appeared in "Forty Years From Sand Island" (3.18).

11 Richard Narita (Bill Nahli) will go on to play Quang Ki, one of the more infamous villians of the series, in Season Eight's "Infinity and Jelly Doughnuts" (8.1) and "Unfinished Business" (8.8)

12 Kimo Kahoano (Foreman) is a Hawaiian celebrity. Kimo was a former top fire knife dancer/singer in the Al Harrington Show, as well as a Waikiki showroom star on his own, who later co-hosted the very popular Hawaii Stars TV show (w/ Carole Kai) from 1993-2008.

13 When Magnum gets his Tigers jersey and bat back at the end, his jersey number is #14. In 1986, Tiger 1st baseman Dave Bergman wore this number. (Noted by Mark Seaman)

14 Higgins mentions spending three months in New Delhi, his second campaign in India.
Magnum: Now I'm going to have to buy T.C. a new game! I told you I couldn't turn it off! It's programmed to erase if you stop it!
Higgins: Don't be ridiculous, why should anyone devise such a toy?!
Magnum: Because, "Siege of the Seventh Galaxy" is not a toy. It's designed for the adult who yearns for the risk and challenge of true life intergalactic combat.
Higgins: Stop! What are you doing!?
Magnum: I'm reformatting.
(computer shuts down)
Higgins: Oh my god!! ... You've destroyed New Delhi!!
Magnum (laughs): What?!
Higgins: My second campaign in India! Three months of mind wrenching labor, five complete chapters, an entire era of my life, gone!! Why did you reformat the main drive!?
Magnum: I was trying to delete it! That game costs $59.95.
Higgins: Game! You dare to mention that game at this moment! New Delhi is lost!!
Magnum: Well, so is the "Seventh Galaxy".

Magnum: What's the condition of the Cereus? Not serious I hope.

Magnum: Is there anybody you haven't known, or anything you haven't done?
Higgins: You're calling me a liar again.
Magnum: I'm calling you an exaggerator. Your memoirs read like a bad novel. Not that it's bad writing. No, it's kind of exciting... very imaginative, very professional. Not like that cheap pulp that Robin writes.
Higgins: How DARE you!
Magnum: I was just quoting you. You're the one that's always referring to Robin's writing as cheap.
Higgins: I never said cheap! It's just not serious writing, that's the only real difference between the memoirs and the novels.
Magnum: "The" memoirs?! "The" novels?!
Higgins: I was using the article "the" to compare the works, rather than the writers.
Magnum: Sure. Just how much writing have you done, Higgins?

Higgins: You still haven't explained you're knowledge of lifts.
Magnum: And you still haven't expl- (the lift gives a sudden jolt) ... explained why you're here. I still say you know more than you're telling. What happened Higgins, did Nahli double-cross you, too?
Higgins: I came to find my stolen Ferrari.
Magnum: Oh that's it! Ha! Ha. That settles it!
Higgins: Settles what?
Magnum: You said YOUR Ferrari. Again. You have done that one too many times!
Higgins: I meant Mister Master's Ferrari.
Magnum: No you didn't. You do lie about yourself, it all adds up; the writing, the little "my" slips of the tongue...
Higgins: What on earth are you talking about?
Magnum: The big lie Higgins, admit it! You're Robin. YOU are Robin Masters!
Higgins (laughing): I-I'm laughing at the sheer absurdity of the accusation.
Magnum: No, no, no, you're laughing, because you're trapped. YOU have NEVER laughed like this. Now admit it. You've spent all these years,pretending to be Robin's employee, because you didn't want anybody to know that you write cheap pulp novels.
Higgins (laughing wildy): And who, may I ask, is the man we know and address as Robin Masters?
Magnum: I don't know, some little guy with a voice like Orson Welles and a body like Truman Capote, that you hired to pose as Robin. And it was very interesting casting. You weren't satisfied with the nom de plume. You developed this whole persona, to create the kind of playboy you envisioned writing cheap pulp, so YOU could devote yourself to serious writing.
Higgins (laughing hysterically): Oh... please... I can't stand it!
Magnum: You can't stand the truth. Oh come on please, I remember ALL the little slip ups, like the time Robin called you Sir. And why is it, that you know exactly when he's going to call, and exactly what he's going to say. I mean, why does Jonathan Quayle Higgins get these very legal looking letters from Robin's publishing company?
Higgins (continuing to laugh hysterically): Well... occasionally, Mister Masters asks me to look over minor documents for him.
Magnum: Minor documents? Checks, contracts, approvals for galley sheets...
Higgins (suddenly more serious): You steamed open my mail?
Magnum: Ah-ha! YOUR mail!? (laughs)
(they are interrupted by a demolition siren)
1 Just before Magnum shoots the lock off of the escape hatch of the elevator you hear him say "alright that's it Higgins, no more games, I've had it" and then you see a close-up of the .45. The flub is that the person holding the .45 is not wearing the sterling silver MIA bracelet that Magnum is seen wearing in the elevator.

2 Five minutes before the detonation of the building everyday people are seen walking around close the building. All areas close the building would have been sectioned off hours earlier.

3 In several scenes in the elevator, close up shots of Higgins' hands and arms show excessive amounts of hair (a stunt double). Hillerman/Higgins, as we know, does not have this characteristic.

(All flubs noted by IslandHopper)

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