Magnum, P.I. quotes

175 total quotes

Higgins: I have studied Aristotle, Socrates, Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Bertrand Russell; I have toured college campuses debating the virtues of dialectic versus symbolic syllogism; I have written scholarly articles for the need for a new, more dynamic logic. But nothing in my life has prepared me for the workings of the Thomas Magnum mind.

Magnum: [in jail with T.C.] My Aunt Maggie used to say that friendship was something like a sponge; it could soak up a lot of garbage and gunk, but when you rang it out, you still had a sponge. Now I'm not quite sure what all that meant, but I did know as far Rick was concerned, there was a whole lot of ringing out to be done before that sponge could be used again.

Magnum: [narrating] After the first time I was wounded in Vietnam, I'd noticed a weird series of reactions to being shot. I'd wondered if anybody had ever written them down like Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' "Stages of Death". First, there's denial. Then comes a giddy kind of relief, shock and surprise at still being alive. All the senses working together in Technicolor and Hi-Fi at the joy of actually having survived. And then, the paranoia sets in. If it's happened once, it can happen again. Suddenly, every sound is an approaching enemy, every smell a lethal gas, and no way of knowing whether it's a mind game, or a clear and present danger. And no way of stopping the heart racing, the palms sweating, until the paranoia stage has slipped into revenge.

Magnum: [narrating] Even when I was nine years old and my Grandpa took me to the carnival at the county fair, I found myself asking too many questions. Questions like, in the basketball shooting concession, "why was the ball so full of air that it would bounce off the too-small rim, and there goes your quarter?" Or, "why did the beautiful blond lady in the 'dollar-a-kiss' booth smell like a distillery from twenty feet away?" Or, "how come the biggest stuffed animals you could possibly win in the shooting gallery always had an inch of dust on them?" And now, a lot of years later, "who would want to make a murder out of a sideshow?"

Magnum: [narrating] I must've seen a hundred rainbows since I've been in the islands, but each one just seems to take my breath away, despite the best efforts of Mr. Corkall, my high school science teacher. He used to lecture our class on light reflections and refraction, polarization and prisms, but I knew, I knew that that really wasn't what rainbows were all about. So when I got a "C" on my midterm, Mr. Corkall told me that he was really worried that I would go through life not understanding the importance of geometric optics. But to tell you the truth, I was a lot more worried Mr. Corkall might go through life not understanding the importance of a rainbow.

Magnum: [narrating] I'm not really sure which kind of private investigator I am. The Holmesian-type with the constant deductive mind, or one with a Marlowe-type intuitive sense of the darker side of human nature? Hopefully a combination of both. At any rate, it doesn't matter. Not when you have a "little voice". I don't know, maybe a gently nagging "little voice" is just another way of adding what you know, to what you feel, but right now mine wasn't "gently nagging". It was screaming.

Magnum: [narrating] One thing I've noticed over the years. Usually people hire private investigators because they can't unravel the puzzle themselves. Their emotions are too involved. They need someone who is detached, analytical, uninvolved. And that's what I've always tried to give them. But somehow, that all became very difficult when the missing person was Rick and the client was me.

Magnum: [narrating] Sometimes I think maybe I've spent too long in paradise. I sort of take it for granted, like pizza. I mean, while I find a lot of security in the knowledge that paradise and pizza are always there; it's too easy to get complacent. Pepperoni or sausage? Perfect sunrise or a perfect rainbow? Why not just have all of the above, today? Now, I can deprive myself of pizza for a week and appreciate it again, but paradise... it's always at my door. And while it can be very pleasant, it can also be very predictable.

Magnum: [narrating] There's something hypnotic about the climate in Hawaii: every day it's sunny and 80°; every day there are gentle trade winds to take the edge of the humidity; every day--until the Kona Winds come up. The Kona Winds come from the south, from somewhere in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, as they travel toward the unprotected chain of islands sitting vulnerable in the huge expanse of water, they pick up power, and speed, and force, finally crashing into the scattered pits of land. But the Kona Winds do more than whip the sea into a frenzy, they stir the blood and tear at the emotions, thrusting even temperate men into destinies they may later regret. I've always felt drawn to the land's end to watch the winds come in, as if I were somehow... part of the drama.

Magnum: [narrating] When counting the assets of paradise, you have to start with the geographical diversity. Take the Big Island of Hawaii, for instance. Twenty miles in either direction and you've been to the dark hills of the Dakotas, the ranches of Texas, or even the Moon from the beginning of time. Impressive. I like the idea of working on the Big Island. What I didn't like was the vague job description, but the one detail I was told had me on the next plane. Whatever the investigation, I'd have a chance to do something I'd never get to do on a case back home. You can't ride a horse on Hotel Street.

Magnum: [narrating] When I was 14 years old, my grandfather took me crabbing. Now, crabbing's a lot different from trout fishing. See, you tie the bait on the line, you drop it in the water, and when you feel the crab crawl up on the bait, and start nibbling away, you have to slowly raise the line to the surface and then net him as fast as you can. The only trouble is, by the time you can see the crab... he can see you. And nine times out of ten, he'll scuttle right back off that bait and disappear into the ocean. Now I guess that's what I always liked about it, the crab had as good a chance of a free meal as you did. But the best thing about crabbing, was that it taught you patience, concentration, and the second sense of when the time was right to sit, and wait it out.

Magnum: This isn't a war you know. I mean, once nature sets it's course, you can't do anything to stop it.
Higgins: You can if you're British!

[Magnum is unsure if he's talking to Higgins or his half-brother]
Magnum: Tell me a story. The "Gunga Din Story"!
Higgins: For god sake Magnum, this is hardly the time!...
Magnum: If you're Higgins, anytime is the time! The "Gunga Din Story" now!
Higgins: Malaysia, 1943. Our regiment was hopelessly outnumbered and faced certain death. In our ranks was a young Lt. Ian Bowerly and during a lull in the battle he recited Gunga Din. I suppose to keep up our courage in face of the inevitable. His eloquent recitation grew increasingly louder until it thundered through the jungle. To our amazement, the Japanese troops walked forward. Although they spoke no English they were entranced by the poem. They allowed us all to leave the area unharmed except for poor Mr. Bowerly. As we made our escape we could hear him reciting other Kipling favorites, literally for miles. To this day, his fate remains unknown.
Magnum: Thank you. I believe your half brother is going to assassinate the president of Costa De Rosa.