‘Blue Bloods’: Tom Selleck Opens Up About Why ‘Magnum P.I.’ Ended in 2017 Interview

by Suzanne Halliburton

Blue Bloods star Tom Selleck was reflecting back on his old show, the one that launched his career into stardom, albeit at age 35.

Rather than talking about Blue Bloods, a popular show on CBS, Selleck steered an interview in 2017 towards Magnum P.I. That was a CBS series, too. It was based in Hawaii and fans couldn’t get enough of Selleck as Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I.

He was the former Navy SEAL turned private investigator. You can’t think of 1980s-era TV without Magnum P.I., as Selleck drove around Hawaii in a red Ferrari, solving crimes and living in a beachfront estate that faced the Pacific Ocean.

And Selleck, who now plays Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods, said Magnum P.I. could’ve run far longer than nine seasons.

“Magnum never was canceled,” Selleck said. “God knows how many episodes we could’ve done, with the No. 1 show on the air.”

For the official record, Selleck was in 162 episodes. Filming in Hawaii always is a sweet gig.

Selleck explained he decided to end his participation in the series. And it was difficult to go on without Thomas Magnum. The show ended May 5, 1988 with an episode called Resolutions.

“I had given the show an extra year,” the Blue Bloods star said. “I had done the No. 1 movie in the world. I was tired from (Magnum) because I was doing 90-hour weeks for eight years. I wasn’t tired of it. So, it was time. What a nice way to go off. What a nice way to pay homage to the show. It was still so popular.”

Before Selleck Starred in Blue Bloods, He Turned Down Raiders of the Lost Ark

The show ran from 1980-88 and it ranked among the country’s top 20 series for five straight years. CBS was such a firm believer in Magnum P.I. the network wouldn’t allow Selleck to take the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s difficult to imagine how Selleck’s career would’ve changed if he’d played Indy instead of Harrison Ford. For example, would he still have landed in Blue Bloods?

Magnum P.I. ended with Magnum going back into the Navy as a commander. He located a daughter he thought was dead. And he reunited with an ex. Higgins confessed to being Robin Masters, the mystery owner of the estate. Then, he recanted that confession at Rick’s wedding.

“The character is very important to me for a lot of reasons,” Selleck said of Thomas Magnum. “When you don’t get a regular job til you’re 35… To think it could happen twice (counting Blue Bloods), makes me really fortunate. That’s rare in people’s careers. Most people’s are shorter than that. Sometimes, it’s just the way things fall. I got kind of lucky.”

You could argue that fans of both Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods are the lucky ones.