When Magnum P.I. premieres its fifth season (now on NBC), its lead characters Tom Mangum (Jay Hernandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) are together romantically, something that showrunner Eric Guggenheim shared he originally thought would be something that happened at the end of Season 5.
But you know what they say: You make a plan and the universe laughs. In this case, it was perhaps a blessing in disguise that the timeline for such a storyline got pushed up because officially leaning into that new dynamic might have aided in the campaign to save the show after CBS canceled it, leading to NBC to pick it up for a proper end.
The decision to put them together came because "the chemistry between these two actors is just amazing, and it had becoming harder and harder, honestly, to keep them apart," Guggenheim explained during a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the show.
The decision to put them together in Season 4 came out of discussions right from the first day of Guggenheim's writers' room on that season when he asked his fellow writers, "Is this the year we get them together?"
"That started a dialogue of us trying to decide, what are the pros and cons of getting them together?" he said. "And the more we talked about it, the more we were excited about [it]."
Weeks added that she considers the characters "two people who are meant for each other but navigating working together and being in dangerous situations."
That relationship is front and center when the series launches its fifth season premiere titled "The Passenger," but there have been some changes from season to season and network to network. For one, there are new locations to visit, as the characters will spend an episode on Moloka'i (though, notably production will film on Oahu, standing in for the other island). For another, there is a slight tonal shift coming.
"I think it's sexier, I think it's more romantic," Guggenheim said of Season 5. "It's more emotional."
NBC's order for the fifth season is 20 episodes, which will be split into two parts of 10 episodes each. The first 10 episodes encompass one larger story with a "beginning, middle, and an end," Guggenheim said, adding that there will be some other storylines that don't get completed until Part 2.
Magnum P.I. Season 5 Part 1 premieres with two episodes beginning at 9 p.m. Feb. 19 on NBC and you can watch a minute-long trailer for the season below. The series so far has a Metascore of 48.