Magnum, P.I., and Murder, She Wrote were iconic 80s TV detectives with sharply different styles, but they still managed a crossover. In Magnum P.I., Tom Selleck stars as Thomas Magnum, a retired veteran turned private investigator. He lives in a stunning property and also serves as a security expert for the mysterious novelist Robin Masters, who supposedly based his books on Magnum’s own adventures.
Magnum is backed up by a unique supporting cast. Higgins, the property’s chief steward, is accompanied by his loyal Dobermans Zeus and Apollo. Despite their occasional clashes, there’s a hidden bond between them. Magnum’s army buddies, Rick Wright, and TC Calvin, bring their own unique style to the team. Together, they form an unbeatable crew, always ready to crack cases or lend a hand when Thomas needs assistance.
Meanwhile, in Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury stars as Jessica Fletcher, a retired school teacher-turned-mystery novelist and amateur sleuth. With her sharp intellect and endless curiosity, Jessica travels the world, solving perplexing mysteries, unraveling intricate conspiracies, and even assisting MI6 on special occasions. While she resides in the seemingly tranquil town of Cabot Cove, Maine, it’s actually the murder capital of the world, where visitors often meet an untimely demise, unaware of the lurking danger.
‘Magnum, P.I.’ and ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Crossed Over in 1986
Both shows dominated the whodunit TV format during the 80s. However, fans from both shows still fondly remember when the two sleuths teamed up.
In November 1986, two crossover episodes were aired, with each show featuring one of the episodes. In the episode “Novel Connection” of Magnum P.I., which aired on November 19 of that year, Jessica Fletcher, played by Lansbury, assisted Magnum in investigating an assassination attempt on Higgins (John Hillerman) and his guests.
The adventure continued the following week in the Murder, She Wrote episode titled “Magnum On Ice.” In this episode, Jessica embarked on a quest to prove Magnum’s innocence in a series of brutal murders.
Although the crossover occurred early in the run of Murder, She Wrote, it took place towards the end of Magnum P.I. The characters bouncing off of each other in this crossover was key to its success. Higgins never misses a chance to dunk on Magnum, who underestimates Jessica’s crime-solving skills at first. But she proves him wrong, outshining him as the ultimate detective with her killer instincts, problem-solving prowess, and charm. Jessica effortlessly uncovers hidden clues and expertly pries information from people, leaving Magnum impressed.
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