View Full Version : Higgins = Robin Masters

05-21-2002, 04:20 PM
For some unknown reason a conversation among friends the other day drifted to great tv shows of our youths and Magnum PI came up. Someone mentioned that in the series finale it was revealed that Higgins was not simply the care taker of millionaire Robin Masters' estate, but was in fact the ne'er seen Masters. Though each of us had a faint recollection of this we couldn't confirm this.

Can someone confirm this and if possible maybe jog our memeories about how this was actually revealed.


05-21-2002, 04:26 PM
Toward the end of the series, Magnum picked up on several clues that Higgins was Robin Masters, and in the final episode, he even got Higgins to admit it.

But, right at the VERY end of the final episode, Higgins tells Magnum with a smirk "I lied!"


So, while I DO believe Higgins was Robin Masters, the dirty, slimy, rat-faced producers decided to toy with us to the bitter end, and never let us know for certain.

05-21-2002, 05:03 PM
I always thought Higgins was not Robin Masters, b/c Robin spoke in a few episodes, and the voice was Orson Welles...

Where are Magnum's Mustache or TV Time when we need them?

05-21-2002, 11:20 PM
Dooku- early in the series, there was an episode in which an unseen character (voice supplied by Orson Welles) who was SUPPOSED to be Robin Masters, made a quick trip in a helicopter to the estate in Hawaii.

Magnum alluded to that episode in one of the very last episodes of the show. He accused Higgins of hiring "some skinny guy who sounded like Orson Welles" to impersonate Robin Masters.

11-08-2002, 05:23 PM
Hate to dredge this up, but I just saw the episode "Transitions" on A&E, and they make it pretty clear that Higgins is Robin Masters.

A woman was trying to kill him and steal his latest manuscript, and in order to do so she was enacting scenes from the manuscript. Thus when Higgins knew where she would strike next, she would know for sure that he was Robin Masters. At the end of the episode, Magnum strongly suggested that Higgins didn't simply read the manuscript - he wrote it. Higgins didn't seem to deny this, saying "I always thought Chapter 4 was weak.....and I think maybe chapter 6 should have etc etc" I never heard him saw "I lied!" with a smirk - was "Transitions" not the final episode?

Bryan Ekers
11-09-2002, 12:34 AM
Higgins = Masters isn't supported by earlier episodes, so anything along these lines would be a pretty blatant continuity error. There have been episodes featuring scenes of Robin (always seen from behind) interacting with old friends of his, and it wouldn't make sense that these people would have casual conversations with an imposter.

For example, the episode "Squeeze Play" (4th season) opens with Robin Masters (voiced by Orson Wells) playing a high-stakes poker game with Dick Shawn. Masters loses a Picasso and some vintage wine and eventually bets the use of his Hawaii estate for one year on a softball game. It's highly unlikely a Masters imposter would be able to make these wagers on Higgins' behalf. At the end of the episode when it is revealed that that Shawn has been cheating (using marked cards) the wagers are all invalidated and Masters declares (as he climbs into a helicopter) that he'll do worse than sue, he'll "write about it". All of Shawn's reactions make it obvious that he believes he's dealing with the real Robin.

Another example is the third-season episode "The Big Blow" in which a number of houseguests comes to the estate; all of whom are old friends of Robin Masters (one of them was played by James "Scotty" Doohan). Masters suspects that one of them is planning to kill him. The Masters character doesn't show up until the very end (his face unseen, natch) when the intended killer is revealed. The killer's motivation is explained only as "Kenya, 1967" or some other vague reference to a past event that the killer and Masters would know about. Again, all indicators show that the guests believe they are dealing with the real Masters.

The last-season introduction of the Higgins = Masters subplot was completely unecessary and creates more problems than it solves. If you're a fan of the show, you're probably better off ignoring it competely.

"Transitions" was the second-to-last episode, incidentally. "Resolutions" (which included the "I lied!" line) was the last.

11-09-2002, 01:56 AM
I always thought that Higgins was Robin Masters.

My favorite episode was when guest star Sharon Stone shot herself at the end of the episode.

11-12-2002, 03:06 PM
Yes, I have returned to beat this to death. :)

A&E just aired the two part "Resolutions" episode over the last two days. Higgins does, indeed, say "I lied" about being Robin Masters right at the end of the episode. All should be well with the world, eh?

BUT - just what in the hell happened at the end there? (Spoilers, I guess). Just hours before Rick's wedding, Magnum is having a knife fight with the newscaster's "real" attacker, the security guard. They struggle, and it's pretty damn clear that Magnum gets knifed. Cut to the final wedding scene, there he is in his Navy uniform, no worse for the wear, everything's fine. He even says "Surprise!!"

Um....what the hell happened to the guy he was fighting? Why wasn't he hurt by that knife wound? Is the newscaster going to be OK? Why have that thread running through the series finale, only to not resolve it at all? Were they ever going to bother to explain why he was lied to about his daughter being alive? Did they ever explain what Magnum was going to do now with his life?


Oh well - at least tomorrow they start over at the beginning - I've never seen the 2 part series premier "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii"...

11-13-2002, 09:49 AM
Selleck keeps saying he wants to do a Magnum movie in order to tie up loose ends. That includes the who's Robin question and presumably exactly what happened prior to Rick's wedding.

11-13-2002, 02:26 PM
No surprises here, but I would certainly see that movie. It's not like any of the supporting characters aren't available...

Tim R. Mortiss
11-13-2002, 02:49 PM
I always assumed that the producers left the Higgins=Robin question deliberately vague. Wouldn't be the first time a simple question was left dangling to add to the dramatic tension.....Timmy

11-14-2002, 01:28 AM
The Higgins=Robin Masters plot thread was clearly an invention for the final season, but that doesn't completely invalidate it.

The early episodes can be reconciled with the final season if you look at it as a Remington Steele type situation. In that show, Steele was an invention used by a highly competent but not well regarded private detective Laura Holt, who needed a flashy front man to get attention while she worked behind the scenes. A con man (whose name we never learn) latched onto the fictional identity as a meal ticket, and came to like it enough to stick with it.

In the case of Higgins=Robin Masters, Robin Masters is the flashy front man used by Higgins originally to draw attention while Higgins did the real spy work. When Higgins retired from the spy biz, he continued to use Masters as a front man for his ghostwriting, so that Higgins could lead a normal life.

In this scenario, Masters is a real person who serves as a front for the real commando/spy/writer Higgins.

Or you can just pretend that that final season didn't exist. I like this option, if only because the final episode of that penultimate season was so much better than the finale we finally got. When it was filmed, Magnum had been canceled, and the episode was intended to be the series finale. CBS renewed Magnum for one more season at the last minute, and a brief intro to the episode was added, explaining this.

What I liked most about this was a subtle (for a tv private dick show) effect that was used at the beginning. Every episode of Magnum has a voiceover by Magnum, in character, in past tense, in the first scene in which Magnum appears. This is the film equivilent of the first person narrative of most detective fiction. First person narrative carries with it the implication that the person telling the story survived to tell it (notable examples such as Sunset Boulevard and American Beauty notwithstanding--in both cases the narrators tell you they're already dead at the very beginning). By removing the introductory voiceover (it was instead replaced by an amplified heartbeat as an outgunned, nearly out of ammo, Magnum is trapped in a warehouse by armed thugs), this subconscious reassurance was removed, but it wasn't until after Magnum's attempted escape from the warehouse that we realize what it was that was missing that made the scene more tense than usual. That and the knowledge that the rules go out the window in series finales--title characters can be killed (on Buffy, this is true of every season finale).

And the final scene was a perfect end (for Magnum). As trauma surgeons try to revive Magnum, he walks off into the clouds. Higgins orders him to come back, and Magnum looks back over his shoulder, then walks away into the mist. It fit so well as a final commentary on Magnum's character and his relationship with Higgins.

The final scene we got instead (Magnum walking on the beach holding hands with his daughter), though pleasant, didn't fit the character as well.

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