“Magnum P.I.” proved to be one of Tom Selleck’s most iconic shows and turned the actor into a bit of a sex symbol. But the classic series almost ended in the darkest way possible.
For most of the series’ run, “Magnum P.I.” was an escapist crime drama and adventure. After all, it featured Selleck donning his signature Acapulco shirt and driving a Ferrari 308. What’s not to love? But the series creators wanted to end the show by killing off Selleck’s Thomas Magnum. The last episode would have featured the character’s demise.
That’s right, Season Seven was meant to be the show’s last. According to Distractify, the episode saw Selleck’s character shot and on the verge of death. The episode continued as Magnum fought for his life before heading off toward a white light at the end. That’s how the creators would have ended the show with Magnum’s implied death.
So why did the show come back for an eighth season? Monetary reasons played a large factor. The show was extremely popular for the network. And many viewers wanted to see how the show would bring Selleck’s character back to life.
Season eight featured Magnum waking up in the hospital. It turns out he survived his gunshot wound after all. He then spent the season avenging an old girlfriend, re-enlisting in the U.S. Navy, and finding out his daughter is still alive.
The show ended on a positive note with Selleck’s character and his daughter walking down the beach. It was a much better final image to leave the character on.
Tom Selleck Quits ‘Magnum P.I.’
Of course, a big reason the show came to an end was because of Tom Selleck himself. After multiple seasons on the air, Selleck wanted to bring the series to a close. The actor was struggling with being in the limelight for so long and he needed a break from Hollywood.
During an interview in 2020, Selleck detailed his thought process on walking away.
There was a big difference between what he thought fame would be like and what it was actually like. Selleck grew tired of being a public figure and wanted some much-needed privacy. So he withdrew from acting temporarily.
“I knew intellectually what it would mean in terms of being a public person, but until you’ve lived it, there’s no way to understand it,” said Selleck. “I had a feeling of, ‘I don’t think I’m cut out for this.’”