Magnum P.I. was produced by Donald Paul Bellisario. He created and wrote for Magnum P.I in 1980. CBS aired the pilot episode back on December 11, 1980 and aired their last episode on May 1, 1988.
The first episode was somewhat of an introductory period for many of the characters and some plot lines. They killed off a semi-important character in the beginning of the pilot to get the ball rolling and then from there the deceased character became the McGuffin, the plot driver. It’s not much of a surprise that the majority of the cast is caucasian, due to the time period it was made. The 80’s wasn’t a big year for minority actors or actresses. The acting was slightly exaggerated and the vibe was incredibly “DETECTIVE” feeling. For someone that was raised on this island, the series wasn’t very accurate; especially the driving scenes.
The stars of the show represent white males that are up in the hierarchy having the time of their lives living in “paradise”. There wasn’t much in the pilot regarding to the locals of Hawai’i, but the one time we saw a minority on screen was when he beat up the McGuffin and then proceeded to get shot about twenty minutes later. He didn’t have a purpose in the pilot’s plot other than to instigate the main characters. The McGuffin was also very dismissive of the “local” character, just going along with him and not suspicious of him at all, yet there was no dialogue that made us think “oh, he might know him.” It was like the “local” character was just air. Which isn’t entirely a good thing.
I was born in 1997, and no matter how much I read and study about political issues of the past I can never fully understand what it must be like to actually live through the different strife and conflict that they must have had in the 1980’s. I know that this was only twenty years after Hawai’i became a state, therefore locals must have still been feeling the hurt and the betrayal of the U.S. On top of that this was only a mere forty years of the closing on Japanese Interment camps that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It probably was a very tense time that was in between being wronged and trying to move on.