'Magnum PI' Showrunner Clarifies CBS Revival Has a Latinx Writer

Magnum PI showrunner Peter Lenkov was forced to clarify a statement he made Sunday, assuring viewers that there is one Latinx writer on the staff for a show starring a Latinx actor.

"I want to clarify a comment I made yesterday. I made a mistake. We do have a Latinx writer on the #MagnumPI staff, and she is an alumnus of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program," Lenkov wrote. He also tagged the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

During the show's Television Critics Association panel, Lenkov and executive producer Eric Guggenheim discussed how the show will approach the new Thomas Magnum's heritage.

"We're certainly not blind to the fact that he's Latino. It is something that is acknowledged," Guggenheim said, reports TheWrap.

Then Lenkov was asked if they have a Latinx writer on the staff.

"When you're staffing the show, it's incredibly hard to find writers," Lenkov said. "We have a very diverse writers room, it just so happens that we don't have any [Latinax]."

The new Thomas Magnum is played by Scandal actor Jay Hernandez, who is of Mexican descent. In the original that aired from 1980 to 1988, Magnum was played by Tom Selleck. The writers also gender-swapped John Hillerman's Higgins character, creating Perdita Weeks' Juliet Higgins.

During the TCA panel, Lenkov said he created Weeks' character to add the strong female voice lacking in the original show.

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Perdita Weeks and Jay Hernandez. (Photo: Francis Specker/CBS)

"I love that conflict, in the original show, between Higgins and Magnum," he said, reports USA Today. "There was real respect at the core of it. And on the surface they would butt heads. And I thought playing it a little differently with a female character just felt really fresh ... and ultimately we'll see where it goes as relationship grows."

Then again, Lenkov said he still wanted to preserve the "brotherhood" between Magnum and the other supporting characters, which explains why no other character was turned into a woman.

"I did want to keep the bromance in terms of the relationship between guys in the service together," the producer explained. "I felt like I could get more mileage out of a female character in a conflict role."

While Hernandez will do without Selleck's iconic mustache, the actor told reporters that Selleck gave the show his "blessing." Unfortunately, Selleck is not likely to be on the show any time soon, since he is filming Blue Bloods in New York and Magnum is produced in Hawaii.

Lenkov said Magnum's missing mustache will be referenced in the second episode.


Magnum, P.I. debuts on Monday, Sept. 24 on CBS.

Photo credit: Francis Specker/CBS