Jay Hernandez gets keys to the Ferrari on ‘Magnum P.I.’ on CBS

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The best part of the ‘Magnum P.I.’ return to the airwaves is seeing the wonderful lush Hawaiian scenery again. Oh, and Jay Hernandez tooling around the tropical paradise in a hot red Ferrari is easy on the eyes too.

Yes, CBS has given us an action series full of eye candy with great ratings expectations for the reboot of the show that made Tom Selleck (and his mustache) a star.

At the Television Critics Association’s summer 2018 press tour CBS presented an interview panel with stars Jay Hernandez (who stars as Thomas Magnum), Perdita Weeks (Juliet Higgins), Stephen Hill (Theodore ‘TC’ Calvin), Zachary Knighton (Orville “Rick” Wright), Tim Kang (Det. Kimball Cho) and executive producers Peter M. Lankov and Eric Guggenheim.

Of course Hernandez addressed the mustache questions and reported that he wasn’t going to copy that “because that was Selleck’s signature look, and I can’t do any better than that. I’ll just be me.” But he assures there will be plenty of nods to the original show starting with wearing a Detroit Tigers cap. “I’ll be honest, I’m not a Tigers fan, but I’ll play one on TV.”

Hernandez also explained, “What’s great about the creative team behind Magnum P.I. is that they are going to do a lot of ‘Easter eggs’ and little homages to the original show that fans of the original show will love, including the Cross of Lorraine, the Dobermans, and the cars. The original Ferrari 308 is in the show. There’s a lot of things like that peppered throughout the pilot and throughout the rest of the show’s season for the fans. In terms of the people who have some reservations about this reboot, we’re going to do things that are going to satisfy them, that are going to make them happy.”

Hernandez started his acting career as a youngster playing a high school basketball player in 1995 on the NBC Saturday morning sitcom Hang Time, that’s when this reporter first met the talented young man and started to see his career take off when he co-starred with Kirsten Dunst in the teen romance, Crazy/Beautiful, and followed up with another hit film, Disney’s The Rookie. Other notable film roles were in Friday Night Lights opposite Billy Bob Thornton and starring in Eli Roth’s Hostel.

Now he’s the new Magnum, and producer Lankov said Hernandez has something in common with the old Magnum and the spirit of the show. “In terms of the character, I think charm,” Lankov said. “Thomas Magnum survived on his charm. He lived off the good graces of his friends and his friends giving him favors. He was also somebody who didn’t use a gun. He was somebody who was the underdog in most situations that he went into. But, for the most part, I think it distills to charm. Casting the role was the hardest part. We didn’t want to do a clone of Tom Selleck. What we wanted to do was just find the essence of what he brought to that character, which was charm. And we found that in this man, Jay Hernandez.”

The new show centers on Thomas Magnum (Hernandez), a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. A charming rogue, an American hero and a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan, Magnum lives in a guest cottage on Robin’s Nest, the luxurious estate where he works as a security consultant to supplement his P.I. business.

In charge of the estate is Juliet Higgins, a beautiful and commanding disavowed MI:6 agent whose second job is to keep Magnum in line, with the help of her two Dobermans. When Magnum needs back-up on a job, he turns to his trusted buddies and fellow POW survivors, Theodore “TC” Calvin, a former Marine chopper pilot who runs Island Hoppers, a helicopter tour business, and Orville “Rick” Wright, a former Marine door-gunner-turned-impresario of Oahu’s coolest nightclub and the most connected man on the island.

With keys to a vintage Ferrari, and rocking the aviator sunglasses, Thomas Magnum is back Mondays on CBS and CBS All Access. Tune in.

Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 35 years, and was half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.

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