Having cheated death at the hand of the Eye Network, Magnum P.I. soon will return via NBC with Season 5 — and at least one “ethically questionable” bit of undercover work.
When last we tuned in, partners-in-private detecting Thomas Magnum and Juliet Higgins (played by Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks) acted on four seasons’ worth of UST and shared a passionate kiss against an improbably perfect sunset. Elsewhere in that finale, Detective Gordon Katsumoto got suspended from the HPD, while Rick and Suzy welcomed the birth of their daughter.
What’s new for Magnum P.I. in its new NBC home? And what things are wonderfully the same? Ahead of the double-episode Season 5 premiere (airing Sunday, Feb. 19, starting at 9/8c), TVLine sat down with Hernandez and Weeks to get a peek ahead….
TVLINE | All right. Last April, I’m talking to Jay for the episode he directed, and he says that if Magnum and Higgins are ever going to happen, it’d have to be at the end of the final season of the show.
JAY HERNANDEZ | Yeah.
TVLINE | What happened after that?
HERNANDEZ | Well, a lot happened after that! [Laughs] We got canceled with great numbers and a fan base, and then found another network to pick us up.
TVLINE | When I spoke to you that April, did you have any indication that a kiss would be happening in the season finale?
HERNANDEZ | I’m trying to remember….
PERDITA WEEKS | [To Jay] Yeah, you would have known. We would have already shot it.
HERNANDEZ | [To Perdita] Really?
WEEKS | We wrapped on the 4th or 5th of April.
HERNANDEZ | See, for me, the timeline is a blur. Ask her the timeline questions!
WEEKS | I think we would have already shot it. And just because they kissed at the end didn’t mean that they would get together.
TVLINE | In that same interview, when I asked about renewal prospects you said, “We’re golden” — so that one worked out well for you.
HERNANDEZ | You know what, it did work out. It’s like, I didn’t know how it was going to happen but I knew it was going to happen. And ultimately, look what happened.
TVLINE | Perdita, in the season finale it was Juliet wearing her heart on her sleeve, finally, which was a catalyst for the kiss. What was important to you about that scene and Higgins’ role in the relationship moving forward?
WEEKS | I mean, I’m glad that they had her do that. I think it needed to come from her in order for it to happen, because she was always going to be the one who leads with her head, whereas [Thomas] is very much more heart-driven. He is the more naturally emotional or romantic one, while [Juliet] is very stuck in her head and over-analytical.
Going forward, I just hoped that they would soften her and we’d see more of that as opposed to her being sort of needlessly harsh towards him, which I always perceived as a defense mechanism. She has her walls up. She doesn’t want to get close to somebody, and in fact she says that a couple of times. She’s scared of falling for him basically because she doesn’t want to get hurt. Now that [the kiss] has happened, you see a softer side of her towards him, specifically going forward.
TVLINE | But there’s still that occasional moment where she’ll yell at him for grabbing the wrong bottle of wine from the cellar.
WEEKS | Oh, yeah.
HERNANDEZ | [Laughs] That’s always going to happen.
WEEKS | Don’t worry, there’s loads of that still. They still argue.
TVLINE | During the TCA panel, when I suggested that Season 5 is a much sexier show, you added that the language is a bit more grown up, which I had noticed as well.
WEEKS | Did you? Yeah. I think I say “bitch” at one point, which I’ve never said.
TVLINE | And when it looks like they may have a house guest for a couple of nights, Juliet is like, “But when are we going to get to… you know?”
WEEKS | Exactly. And I think someone said “bastard” in one of the first few episodes. I don’t know if that’s still in there, but it was literally written on the page and I was like, “Oh!”
HERNANDEZ | It’s funny, it has shifted a little bit towards that direction, and there were moments where Magnum was doing it but it didn’t feel right for me. I forget what word it was, but it was very judgmental about another character. It was like, ‘Oh, this piece of s–t.” It wasn’t that, but I was like, “The character is not like that.” I would say something like that, but…. [Laughs] It is interesting because they are kind of pushing where the boundaries are a bit in different directions. But for Magnum, I think that stuff doesn’t really apply to him, because he’s such a nice guy. He withholds judgement, which I think is a nice quality to him.
TVLINE | In one of the early episodes, there’s this thing with a manicurist who is an old flame of Magnum’s or whatever—
WEEKS | [Scoffs] Oh, with Kimmy.
TVLINE | —and Juliet has to overhear the conversation. Will we ever get the flip side of that, where Magnum sees men flirting with Juliet?
WEEKS | I doubt it.
HERNANDEZ | And personally, I think Magnum would be OK with it. I think he’d be like, “I understand.”
WEEKS | Yeah. He’s not jealous like I would be.
HERNANDEZ | I wouldn’t play it as jealous, and if they wrote it that way I’d be like, “Sorry, guys. I’m not doing that.”
TVLINE | That’s what I love about Juliet’s reaction to the manicurist, she isn’t jealous at all. She kind of laughs it off…. Magnum and Higgins are planning to keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the gang for a while. Will you get some good comedy out of that?
HERNANDEZ | Yeah, we did some fun stuff in there. But obviously, they’re going to have to find out at some point.
TVLINE | I wonder if it’ll be one-by-one, or everybody finds out at once….
HERNANDEZ | We can’t really blow it for you guys, but it’s fun. We get some fun moments out of milking that.
TVLINE | Is there any undercover work ahead, beyond them posing as lifeguards in Episode 2?
WEEKS | Oh, God, yeah. There’s a lot of undercover stuff. In his episode [that Jay directed], I go undercover in a major way.
HERNANDEZ | And in an ethically questionable manner.
WEEKS | “In an ethically questionable manner.” We’ll just brush over that! But it makes for a very interesting…
HERNANDEZ | It’s a fun episode, yeah. The fans will like it.
TVLINE | Michael Rady has joined the cast as Detective Childs. How will Thomas and Juliet’s dynamic with him be different than what they had with Katsumoto?
WEEKS | He’s a little bit more of an eccentric character, I think, than Gordon. He is very tongue in cheek.
HERNANDEZ | Gordon’s like, “Head down, do the work by the numbers.” He’s sort of abrasive, but you’ve got to love him. Childs is a little more playful.
WEEKS | “Playful” is a good word. Absolutely. It was an interesting addition, because at first we just hoped that it wasn’t going to be cookie cutter Katsumoto.
HERNANDEZ | It’s like, “Don’t repeat the dynamic that we established with Katsumoto. It’s got to be different.” I was concerned about that, because he slides in, he’s a detective, he could easily just be a placeholder for Katsumoto.
TVLINE | The fans are worried about Katsumoto’s role in the show, at least at the beginning of the season since he’s suspended from the police force. What can you say to them?
WEEKS | Tim [Kang] has some really fun stuff this season. He’s about to shoot a really fun one where he goes undercover to help us.
HERNANDEZ | And in the episode that I directed, he’s also got some good…
WEEKS | …really meaty family stuff.
HERNANDEZ | Big character stuff.
WEEKS | He’s got a really interesting arc this season.
HERNANDEZ | We’re going to see him get out of the police department and have fun.
TVLINE | I saw in the trailer, him on his motorcycle.
WEEKS | Exactly. And he’s in his home clothes. He’s not in his suit, which was nice for Tim. He’s always in…
HERNANDEZ | He sweats profusely.
WEEKS | He’s like me! We’re both sweaters, and it’s very hot in Hawaii, and he’s always in a shirt and a waistcoat and a vest and a jacket….
HERNANDEZ | He’s always boiling.
WEEKS | He’s boiling hot, with the boots and everything. Then they put a tack vest on top of that! The poor guy. So finally he gets to wear a t-shirt and shorts, which is really great. We were all so happy for him that Katsumoto got fired for a minute.
HERNANDEZ | The fun part of [the episode I directed] is he goes off the island. So I’m like, “We’ve got to put him in a parka.“
WEEKS | He’s in the snow!
HERNANDEZ | So he’s got layers on. Tim was like, “You did this on purpose, didn’t you?!”
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