The Commercial Appeal

Magnum, Higgins’ romance makes a ‘sexier’ TV show

- Erin Jensen

A private eye’s private life is heating up on “Magnum P.I.”

The will-they-or-won’t-they romantic tension finally came to an end for Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) in May’s fourth-season finale, when the two admitted to having feelings for one another. Their budding relationsh­ip was explored in the series’ fifth season, which premiered Sunday on a new network (NBC, 9 EST/PST).

The remake of the 1980s Hawaiian crime-fighting action series, which starred Tom Selleck, found a new home when CBS axed the series after four seasons. NBC, already the show’s producer, greenlit a 20-episode fifth season that will be split into two parts.

Series co-creator Eric Guggenheim says Magnum and Higgins’ relationsh­ip will “be a secret for a little while,” kept from their friends and colleagues, but will become “a big part of the season.”

What happened on the ‘Magnum P.I.’ finale?

Higgins finally decided she had to tell Magnum about her romantic feelings. “I’ve tried to deny it, and I just can’t anymore,” she said. He conceded those feelings were mutual, but both said they had reservatio­ns about pursuing a relationsh­ip. “I don’t want to risk losing our friendship, our partnershi­p,” she said. “Maybe we shouldn’t go there.”

“I think you’re right,” Magnum responded. “We probably shouldn’t.”

And when it seemed like hope was lost, Magnum kissed Higgins beneath a golden sky, as Ray Lamontagne’s “I was Born to Love You” played in the background.

Magnum and Higgins ‘still bicker constantly’

Hernandez told reporters at January’s Television Critics Associatio­n press tour his character is “a bit more of a romantic than I imagined,” which he finds refreshing. But he said Magnum and Higgins’ dynamic is preserved: “We still bicker constantly.”

Weeks said the characters’ profession­al relationsh­ip tests their romance, as “two people who are obviously meant for each other” have to “navigate working together, being in dangerous situations.”

The romance adds a new layer to the action series, Hernandez said, explaining he feels a new need to look after Higgins. “Sometimes I look at the scenes, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I’d let you do that,’ ” he said. “She doesn’t need protection, but I have that impulse.”

“That’s how these arguments will happen,” Weeks said.

A ‘more romantic,’ ‘sexier’ show

Guggenheim says the new season “is probably our most emotional yet. We’re mining a lot of emotion out of” Higgins and Magnum’s new relationsh­ip. The series is now “more romantic,” Guggenheim says. “It’s sexier.”

“What’s interestin­g is the way they got together it wasn’t a traditiona­l courtship, and Higgins actually touches on this in the season premiere,” Guggenheim says. “Magnum never had to seduce her, never had to woo her, and we’re going to see a little bit of that. Magnum’s going to do things to try to make up for that.

“He has her, but he wants to feel like he earns the relationsh­ip,” Guggenheim continues. “Fundamenta­lly, he is a romantic at heart. Higgins for a long time was guarded, and maybe even a little cold. Those walls are starting to come down, and as a result, she’s a lot more vulnerable now than we’ve seen her before.”

 ?? ZACK DOUGAN/NBC PROVIDED BY ?? Higgins (Perdita Weeks) and Magnum (Jay Hernandez) will keep their relationsh­ip a secret for awhile in Season 5 of “Magnum P.I.”
ZACK DOUGAN/NBC PROVIDED BY Higgins (Perdita Weeks) and Magnum (Jay Hernandez) will keep their relationsh­ip a secret for awhile in Season 5 of “Magnum P.I.”

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