Suicide Squad actor Jay Hernandez will play the title role in CBS' forthcoming reboot of Magnum P.I. CBS has jumped hard on the reboot/revival bandwagon, ordering a new Cagney & Lacey as well as a new Murphy Brown. The network previously rebooted classic series Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver to mixed results. Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin will direct the pilot episode of the Magnum reboot.
The original Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) starred Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a Vietnam vet turned private investigator. Generally a laid-back person, Magnum worked out of an Oahu mansion owned by his never-seen wealthy benefactor Robin Masters. The show also starred John Hillerman as Higgins, the punctilious mansion caretaker, who butted heads with the slovenly Magnum. Larry Manetti and Roger Moseley co-starred as Magnum's Vietnam buddies, who aided him in his PI activities. The planned reboot will make one major character switch, re-casting Higgins as a female.
As reported by Variety, CBS has now cast its new Thomas Magnum in the person of Jay Hernandez. Details remain scarce about the character beyond the previously reported news that he'll be a former Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan. Reports say the new show will stick with the original series' basic format and focus on the same four main characters. The new Magnum will delve into the character's PTSD issues, perhaps striking a more serious tone than the breezy original.
New Magnum P.I. star Hernandez's biggest role to date was in Suicide Squad, where he played the fire-making Diablo. Though Diablo seemingly died at the end of that movie while trying to defeat Enchantress, indications are he could return for Suicide Squad 2. Hernandez also appeared in Netflix's Bright opposite Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, as well as both films in the Bad Moms franchise. Hernandez starred in seven episodes of Scandal as journalist Curtis Pryce before the character was killed off. He's also had roles on the TV series The Expanse, Gang Related, Nashville and Last Resort.
During its run through most of the '80s, Magnum P.I. became one of TV's most popular series. And in the process, Tom Selleck's Magnum became one of TV's most iconic characters. It sounds like the new version of Magnum will attempt to take the character in a grittier direction. But will a more serious Magnum necessarily be a better Magnum? The show's writer/producer Peter Lenkov already pulled off a successful reboot with Hawaii Five-0, so he seems to know what he's doing. Then again, Lenkov is also responsible for the MacGyver reboot, which has generally not been well-received by fans of the original (though CBS did give it a second season). We'll see if Lenkov and Jay Hernandez can pull off an updated take on Magnum P.I.