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How Would You Rate This Episode?
10 (Perfect!) 8%  8%  [ 7 ]
9.5 (One of the Best) 18%  18%  [ 15 ]
9.0 (Excellent) 28%  28%  [ 24 ]
8.5 (Very Good) 22%  22%  [ 19 ]
8.0 (Pretty Good) 19%  19%  [ 16 ]
7.5 (Decent) 4%  4%  [ 3 ]
7.0 (Average at Best) 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
6.5 (Not So Good) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
6.0 (Pretty Bad) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
5.0 (Just Awful) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 85
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:23 pm 
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This is the official MM thread for Letter to a Duchess (4.6). All discussions and reviews for this episode should go here. If you wish to rate the episode, please do so with the poll. The avg. score will be the official 'community rating', which will be used on the episode page (updated monthly).

This thread is also linked in the episode page of the Episode Guide.


Original Air Date: 11/10/1983
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.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:55 pm 
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This is one of my favorite episodes from Season Four. Jane Merrow is a perfect casting choice for Vivian. I Love, LOVE the dock fight at the end! It may be the best brawl of the entire series.

I got a question for you guys. I may have missed it, but in the flashback scene where we see Higgins met Vivian for the first time, where is it set? Higgins is in military attire and appears to be involved in some kind of military activity.

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:27 am 
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James J. Walters wrote:
I got a question for you guys. I may have missed it, but in the flashback scene where we see Higgins met Vivian for the first time, where is it set? Higgins is in military attire and appears to be involved in some kind of military activity.

Image


You can hear explosions in the background, so some sort of military action is taking place. I don't think the particular location or conflict is mentioned. However, it appears that Higgins' shoulder patch (Tactical Recognition Flash) is that of a British/Gurkha unit. His shoulder patch has two crossed Kurkis (curved knife used as a weapon and tool, a/k/a Gurkha Knife), which is a prominent feature of British/Gurkha military insignia. I am not certain of the specific Gurkha unit, but I believe the conflict is post WWII for two reasons. First, Higgins introduced himself as a Sergeant Major, and we are led to believe that Higgins was very young during WWII. I don’t believe Higgins ever revealed precisely when he became a Sergeant Major, but I’m almost certain it wasn’t during WWII. Remember, in “Luther Gillis: File #001” (season 5), Higgins said that in the Spring of 1954 he was the youngest in a squad of six spending three months watching the Andrews‘ Farm. Second, Vivian Brock Jones appears to be younger than Higgins, so she probably would have been a child during WWII.

There are many Gurkha units serving with the British Army. They have served since well before WWI and continue to serve today. During WWII, Gurkha units fought in North Africa, Syria, Greece, Italy, Burma and Singapore. Following India’s Independence in 1947, six Gurkha units were attached to the Indian Army and four were attached to the British Army. The four units attached to the British Army include, 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles; 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles; 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles; and the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles.

The 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes action during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. Following their tour in Malaya, they served in Malaya, Borneo, Brunei and Hong Kong.

The 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in the Far East until the British withdrawal from East of Suez. In 1969, the 6th Gurkhas served in Hong Kong, Brunei and Church Crookham.

The 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in Malaya, Borneo and Hong Kong through 1970.

The 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history also includes service during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. From 1962 through 1966, the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles saw action in the Indonesian Confrontation.

Higgins’ history tells us that he served in Burma in 1945. It is possible Higgins served with the 4th Battalion of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles during WWII. This unit fought in Burma during WWII. It was the lead element of the Indian 7th Infantry Division. Based on Higgins’ history, he very likely could have served with this unit. However, their insignia is a little bit different than the shoulder insignia on Higgins’ uniform in the episode. The Kurkis of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles are facing inward, not outward like the patch on his uniform. Therefore, the scene we see in “A Letter To A Duchess” is probably not from 1945 Burma because the unit patch is different, but more importantly, because Vivian would have been to young in 1945. Additionally, if she was ever in Burma, she most likely would not have still been there 1945. The war was raging and most of the British and Indian troops were very isolated. It would have been far to dangerous for Vivian to be anywhere near Higgins at that time. Therefore, it is more likely that the scene we see in the episode was supposed to take place much later, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but based on “Higgins’ History,” Higgins‘ shoulder insignia, Vivian’s age and the limited information we have about Vivian‘s history, I would say that Higgins would have been attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the Far East, perhaps Malaya in 1960, until the end of the Malayan Emergency in July 1960, or during the Indonesian Confrontation from 1962 through 1966. This part of his history is not accounted for, and Vivian would have been in her early to mid 20s. The primary reason I would say Higgins was attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles is the shoulder insignia on Higgins' uniform most closely resembles the 6th Gurkha's Tactical Recognition Flash compared to the three other Gurkha units attached to the British Army after WWII.

I would like to know why the costume designer for the show chose that particular shoulder patch for Higgins. I suppose it's always possible that the selection of that particular shoulder insignia is a flub, and that scene was supposed to take place in 1945 while Higgins was in Burma. However, if this is the case, then this would qualify as a flub for many reasons, many of which have already been mentioned.

Aside from all of the technical stuff involving Higgins' shoulder insignia, this is also one of my favorite episodes from season 4. Higgins doing his commando stuff in an effort to save Vivian in the alley is great. The fight scene on the boat at the end is great too. There is a big guy who jumps from the upper deck onto the lower deck, but basically does a bellyflop onto a table and smashes it to bits. That looked like that hurt no matter how much training you've had, but it was hilarious. As the guy jumps he growls and roars and looks like he is doing his best impression of Superman, but without the ability to fly. He crashes down like a stone smashing the table. Although hilarious, I never realized what the point of that was. No one was really in danger except the poor sap who landed like a stone. Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode as it features Higgins prominently. A "Higgins-centric" episode as Doc would say.

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The answer is obvious, old man. Logic is irrelevant. It's simply Tropical Madness. (J.Q. Higgins)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:25 pm 
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IslandHopper wrote:
James J. Walters wrote:
I got a question for you guys. I may have missed it, but in the flashback scene where we see Higgins met Vivian for the first time, where is it set? Higgins is in military attire and appears to be involved in some kind of military activity.

Image


You can hear explosions in the background, so some sort of military action is taking place. I don't think the particular location or conflict is mentioned. However, it appears that Higgins' shoulder patch (Tactical Recognition Flash) is that of a British/Gurkha unit. His shoulder patch has two crossed Kurkis (curved knife used as a weapon and tool, a/k/a Gurkha Knife), which is a prominent feature of British/Gurkha military insignia. I am not certain of the specific Gurkha unit, but I believe the conflict is post WWII for two reasons. First, Higgins introduced himself as a Sergeant Major, and we are led to believe that Higgins was very young during WWII. I don’t believe Higgins ever revealed precisely when he became a Sergeant Major, but I’m almost certain it wasn’t during WWII. Remember, in “Luther Gillis: File #001” (season 5), Higgins said that in the Spring of 1954 he was the youngest in a squad of six spending three months watching the Andrews‘ Farm. Second, Vivian Brock Jones appears to be younger than Higgins, so she probably would have been a child during WWII.

There are many Gurkha units serving with the British Army. They have served since well before WWI and continue to serve today. During WWII, Gurkha units fought in North Africa, Syria, Greece, Italy, Burma and Singapore. Following India’s Independence in 1947, six Gurkha units were attached to the Indian Army and four were attached to the British Army. The four units attached to the British Army include, 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles; 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles; 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles; and the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles.

The 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes action during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. Following their tour in Malaya, they served in Malaya, Borneo, Brunei and Hong Kong.

The 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in the Far East until the British withdrawal from East of Suez. In 1969, the 6th Gurkhas served in Hong Kong, Brunei and Church Crookham.

The 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in Malaya, Borneo and Hong Kong through 1970.

The 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history also includes service during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. From 1962 through 1966, the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles saw action in the Indonesian Confrontation.

Higgins’ history tells us that he served in Burma in 1945. It is possible Higgins served with the 4th Battalion of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles during WWII. This unit fought in Burma during WWII. It was the lead element of the Indian 7th Infantry Division. Based on Higgins’ history, he very likely could have served with this unit. However, their insignia is a little bit different than the shoulder insignia on Higgins’ uniform in the episode. The Kurkis of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles are facing inward, not outward like the patch on his uniform. Therefore, the scene we see in “A Letter To A Duchess” is probably not from 1945 Burma because the unit patch is different, but more importantly, because Vivian would have been to young in 1945. Additionally, if she was ever in Burma, she most likely would not have still been there 1945. The war was raging and most of the British and Indian troops were very isolated. It would have been far to dangerous for Vivian to be anywhere near Higgins at that time. Therefore, it is more likely that the scene we see in the episode was supposed to take place much later, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but based on “Higgins’ History,” Higgins‘ shoulder insignia, Vivian’s age and the limited information we have about Vivian‘s history, I would say that Higgins would have been attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the Far East, perhaps Malaya in 1960, until the end of the Malayan Emergency in July 1960, or during the Indonesian Confrontation from 1962 through 1966. This part of his history is not accounted for, and Vivian would have been in her early to mid 20s. The primary reason I would say Higgins was attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles is the shoulder insignia on Higgins' uniform most closely resembles the 6th Gurkha's Tactical Recognition Flash compared to the three other Gurkha units attached to the British Army after WWII.

I would like to know why the costume designer for the show chose that particular shoulder patch for Higgins. I suppose it's always possible that the selection of that particular shoulder insignia is a flub, and that scene was supposed to take place in 1945 while Higgins was in Burma. However, if this is the case, then this would qualify as a flub for many reasons, many of which have already been mentioned.

Aside from all of the technical stuff involving Higgins' shoulder insignia, this is also one of my favorite episodes from season 4. Higgins doing his commando stuff in an effort to save Vivian in the alley is great. The fight scene on the boat at the end is great too. There is a big guy who jumps from the upper deck onto the lower deck, but basically does a bellyflop onto a table and smashes it to bits. That looked like that hurt no matter how much training you've had, but it was hilarious. As the guy jumps he growls and roars and looks like he is doing his best impression of Superman, but without the ability to fly. He crashes down like a stone smashing the table. Although hilarious, I never realized what the point of that was. No one was really in danger except the poor sap who landed like a stone. Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode as it features Higgins prominently. A "Higgins-centric" episode as Doc would say.


IH, your knowledge never ceases to amaze me!

:D


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:14 pm 
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Thanks Doc. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Wow IH, what a post! Very, very interesting!

Based on your observations, I would say this has to be the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the Far East, early 60s (Malaya 1960 would be the "ideal" pick). It can't be WWII, Vivian is too young. I guess the other big question here is, why is a Duchess driving around in a car in the middle of a battle zone, with bombs falling?

IslandHopper wrote:
As the guy jumps he growls and roars and looks like he is doing his best impression of Superman, but without the ability to fly. He crashes down like a stone smashing the table. Although hilarious, I never realized what the point of that was. No one was really in danger except the poor sap who landed like a stone.


LOL! This always cracked me up, too! "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr", belly flop onto table! I actually have a Flash video clip of this brawl in the 'Video' section - Dock Fight!.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:09 pm 
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Doc Ibold wrote:
IslandHopper wrote:
James J. Walters wrote:
I got a question for you guys. I may have missed it, but in the flashback scene where we see Higgins met Vivian for the first time, where is it set? Higgins is in military attire and appears to be involved in some kind of military activity.

Image


You can hear explosions in the background, so some sort of military action is taking place. I don't think the particular location or conflict is mentioned. However, it appears that Higgins' shoulder patch (Tactical Recognition Flash) is that of a British/Gurkha unit. His shoulder patch has two crossed Kurkis (curved knife used as a weapon and tool, a/k/a Gurkha Knife), which is a prominent feature of British/Gurkha military insignia. I am not certain of the specific Gurkha unit, but I believe the conflict is post WWII for two reasons. First, Higgins introduced himself as a Sergeant Major, and we are led to believe that Higgins was very young during WWII. I don’t believe Higgins ever revealed precisely when he became a Sergeant Major, but I’m almost certain it wasn’t during WWII. Remember, in “Luther Gillis: File #001” (season 5), Higgins said that in the Spring of 1954 he was the youngest in a squad of six spending three months watching the Andrews‘ Farm. Second, Vivian Brock Jones appears to be younger than Higgins, so she probably would have been a child during WWII.

There are many Gurkha units serving with the British Army. They have served since well before WWI and continue to serve today. During WWII, Gurkha units fought in North Africa, Syria, Greece, Italy, Burma and Singapore. Following India’s Independence in 1947, six Gurkha units were attached to the Indian Army and four were attached to the British Army. The four units attached to the British Army include, 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles; 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles; 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles; and the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles.

The 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes action during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. Following their tour in Malaya, they served in Malaya, Borneo, Brunei and Hong Kong.

The 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in the Far East until the British withdrawal from East of Suez. In 1969, the 6th Gurkhas served in Hong Kong, Brunei and Church Crookham.

The 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history includes service in Malaya, Borneo and Hong Kong through 1970.

The 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles post WWII history also includes service during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 through 1960. From 1962 through 1966, the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles saw action in the Indonesian Confrontation.

Higgins’ history tells us that he served in Burma in 1945. It is possible Higgins served with the 4th Battalion of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles during WWII. This unit fought in Burma during WWII. It was the lead element of the Indian 7th Infantry Division. Based on Higgins’ history, he very likely could have served with this unit. However, their insignia is a little bit different than the shoulder insignia on Higgins’ uniform in the episode. The Kurkis of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles are facing inward, not outward like the patch on his uniform. Therefore, the scene we see in “A Letter To A Duchess” is probably not from 1945 Burma because the unit patch is different, but more importantly, because Vivian would have been to young in 1945. Additionally, if she was ever in Burma, she most likely would not have still been there 1945. The war was raging and most of the British and Indian troops were very isolated. It would have been far to dangerous for Vivian to be anywhere near Higgins at that time. Therefore, it is more likely that the scene we see in the episode was supposed to take place much later, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but based on “Higgins’ History,” Higgins‘ shoulder insignia, Vivian’s age and the limited information we have about Vivian‘s history, I would say that Higgins would have been attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the Far East, perhaps Malaya in 1960, until the end of the Malayan Emergency in July 1960, or during the Indonesian Confrontation from 1962 through 1966. This part of his history is not accounted for, and Vivian would have been in her early to mid 20s. The primary reason I would say Higgins was attached to the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles is the shoulder insignia on Higgins' uniform most closely resembles the 6th Gurkha's Tactical Recognition Flash compared to the three other Gurkha units attached to the British Army after WWII.

I would like to know why the costume designer for the show chose that particular shoulder patch for Higgins. I suppose it's always possible that the selection of that particular shoulder insignia is a flub, and that scene was supposed to take place in 1945 while Higgins was in Burma. However, if this is the case, then this would qualify as a flub for many reasons, many of which have already been mentioned.

Aside from all of the technical stuff involving Higgins' shoulder insignia, this is also one of my favorite episodes from season 4. Higgins doing his commando stuff in an effort to save Vivian in the alley is great. The fight scene on the boat at the end is great too. There is a big guy who jumps from the upper deck onto the lower deck, but basically does a bellyflop onto a table and smashes it to bits. That looked like that hurt no matter how much training you've had, but it was hilarious. As the guy jumps he growls and roars and looks like he is doing his best impression of Superman, but without the ability to fly. He crashes down like a stone smashing the table. Although hilarious, I never realized what the point of that was. No one was really in danger except the poor sap who landed like a stone. Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode as it features Higgins prominently. A "Higgins-centric" episode as Doc would say.


IH, your knowledge never ceases to amaze me!

:D


Wow! I was looking for the answer to James' original question and read the fabulous analysis by IslandHopper. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:54 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words MPS. Much apprecaited. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:18 pm 
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I like how the 4th season focuses more attention to the development of other characters as well, this episode especially.

I enjoy the music in the beginning. The transition from the scene in the English midlands to the surf ski crowd in Hawaii is a nice tune to whistle to.

Can't forget the fight scene at the end. Its' a tossup between this and the Lemon Brawl! Only thing is that I wouldn't dive into a bath of rolling barrels, lol.

To bad they didn't resolve the letter issue. Higgins should have professed his love to Vivian and explained the mistake, but Higgens has his honor. It's a shame that she wasn't a reccuring character.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:04 pm 
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I love when Higgins walks i non Vivian and Magnum drinking beer and watching baseball. I know Higgins was heartbroken at the moment, but it was very hilarious. I guess because of Magnum having no idea of what was going on.


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