Magnum, P.I. and Murder, She Wrote

Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)
Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)
Type: Crossovers
Group: 16

   Yes, it's true. America's coolest detective crossed paths with your mom's favorite mystery solver. Why did it happen? That's a mystery I'm not sure either of them could figure out.

   Okay - recap time. Thomas Magnum was a Hawaii based P.I. who lived on the estate of the never seen author Robin Masters. Magnum lived on the estate in exchange for taking care of the estate's security. He was a lighthearted guy's guy and was always finding that someone on the show was angry with him for something that was usually not even his fault.

   Also living there was Higgins, Mr. Masters' British man servant. Both men were military veterans, albeit of different wars and different armies. That was about all they had in common and even though they were friends of sorts, Higgins constantly abused Magnum in various ways - of course everyone abused Magnum.

   Murder She, Wrote featured mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, an older lady who had only started writing late in life but became hugely successful when she did. Jessica lived in Cabot Cove, Maine and was constantly stumbling onto real life murders - I mean A LOT of real life murders. For twelve years she stumbled across more than twenty murders a year for God's sake! Figure that at more than 240 murders she just "happened" upon. I have been alive for around thirty years and guess what? Never stumbled onto one murder. Sounds suspicious to me. I'm thinking the old girl was a highly successful serial killer. Hey, she's a mystery writer. Who better to figure out ways to frame these poor dopes for murder? She frames 'em and then points them out as murders to the authorities and tells the cops what she deduced as having happened. It's the perfect crime. If only someone had kept an eye on that body count she'd have been caught!

   One other thing before getting to the crossover. Jessica Fletcher falls under that category of TV folk you would not want to be friends with. The Hart To Hart couple fit here too. Almost every episode, we meet one of these people's friends or relatives and then very quickly they are either A.) Murdered B.) Accused of murder C.)Accused of murder and then murdered! Jessica has had so many friends and relatives whose lives were destroyed or were nearly destroyed right after she showed up that it's incredible. She is either a killer herself or a big ol' jinx!

   Sorry. I have been holding in a Jessica Fletcher tirade for some time.

   The crossover began on Magnum, P.I. and concluded on Murder, She Wrote. It began with Higgins driving some guests to Robin Master's estate discussing Mr. Master's latest mystery novel. As they drove along a cliff side road, another car attempted to run them off the road and kill them! When told what had happened, the always put upon Magnum was just waiting for Higgins to draft him into service in figuring out what was going on and in protecting the guests. To his surprise, his services were not needed. The house guest was calling in an investigator of her own from the mainland and rudely rebuffed Magnum's help several times. I mean Magnum gets picked on - that's part of the show. But this was some really excessive abuse. Magnum kept investigating anyway, being further abused for his voluntary help all along the way. Eventually the mainland investigator showed up and, surprise, it was Jessica Fletcher herself.

   Jessica was quite distressed to learn about her friend describing her as an investigator - Jessica considered herself a writer and not a professional crime solver (despite the hundreds of cases under her belt). She was the only person to show respect to Magnum and what he was doing, telling her friend she should not dismiss and spit on Magnum but seek his help. And Magnum was getting sick of the abuse, at one point pointing out that they were all abusing him when he was the only one who was constantly being shot at!

   In the end, Magnum set a trap for the "killer" who turned out to be a hired assassin. Magnum lured him into the open and, after a chase on foot, shot and killed him. Interestingly, this is another case of a show with two different endings due to syndication. For network TV the ending needed to be a cliffhanger so that the story could conclude on Murder, She Wrote. But in syndication, having a cliffhanger episode on Magnum without the Murder, She Wrote concluding episode to finish the story would not be good. So, in syndication, Magnum kills the guy with it clear Magnum was the hero with thanks all around for his help. Cut to Magnum reading one of Jessica's book and Higgins dreaming of visiting Jessica, who he had developed a crush on.

   The network version didn't work out so well for Magnum. At the end of the chase, several shots were fired and Magnum was found standing over the assassin... who had no gun! Magnum was arrested for killing an unarmed man. Only he said he didn't do it. See Magnum, that's what happens when you make friends with Jessica Fletcher - off to jail for murder!

   So, of course, it was up to good old Jessica to prove Magnum innocent. It had seemed sort of odd in the Magnum, P.I. episode that Magnum's normal contact at the police station had been pushed to the side by a new detective who was very much anti-Magnum. With part two the reason for his introduction became clear. He was there to act as the typical Jessica Fletcher foil - the smug cop who refuses to believe the crazy writer and who is convinced he already has his killer. Magnum's buddy would never buy that - although his utter disappearance from the story and lack of any help seemed odd.

   Anyway, Jessica soon discovered that one of her good friend's friends was the killer. She tricked her into confessing - these killers are always so eager to implicate themselves. It seems she had inherited her husbands business holdings. Another business man badly wanted her to sell them to him. When she refused, he sent the assassin figuring to kill her and then make his deal with her estate. Only she killed the apparent assassin first, leaving Magnum to take the fall. Along the way she also framed Magnum for a second murder. Of course as she blabbed away while holding Jessica at gunpoint, she was unaware that Magnum had snuck into the window behind her. After a brief struggle, the police burst in and took her away. Magnum and Jessica came to an agreement: she wouldn't go into the P.I. business and he wouldn't take up writing.

   I think that was the gist of part two. To be honest this episode was hard for me to follow. First, quite frankly all Jessica's friends - the suspects - were all so annoying I wanted them ALL to be guilty and taken away. They made it hard to want to pay attention. On top of that, the plot seemed hard to follow all on its own.

Other Magnum, P.I. Crossover Links
Magnum, P.I. and Hawaii 50
Magnum, P.I. and Simon And Simon

Other Murder, She Wrote Crossover Links
Murder, She Wrote and The Law And Harry McGraw

Click here to return to main Crossover List

Buy these shows on and support this site at the same time! Check out Magnum, P.I. and Murder, She Wrote on DVD! The Murder, She Wrote Third Season DVD set and the Magnum, P.I. Seventh Season DVD set each include both episodes of the crossover discussed on this page. Main Page/ Email Me