UPDATE October 11: We don't know if this will appear on the show or if Jay Hernandez is just wearing it for fun, but this Star Orchid (aka Magnum Orchid) shirt was worn by Tom Selleck in the original Magnum PI.
It's the start of a new TV season which means new episodes of Magnum PI are airing. When the new series got green lighted, we wondered whether the new Magnum would wear Aloha shirts like Tom Selleck did and whether he would wear some of the same shirts from the original series. When the reboot first aired last fall, Jay Hernandez did not wear Aloha shirts. About one third way through the season, he finally put on a Hawaiian shirt and wore a different one in pretty much every episode there rest of the season.
Even though Hernandez wore different Hawaiian shirts throughout the season, we noticed that most of them were Avanti Aloha shirts. Whether by intention or not, Hernandez did not wear any of the shirts Selleck wore in the 80s show. This made sense to us because we figured the show's producers would be careful not to have the new Magnum step on the original Magnum's toes by wearing the same shirts, especially the red Jungle Bird shirt which is often simply referred to as the Magnum PI shirt. It seemed reasonable to have the new Magnum ease into wearing Hawaiian shirts and also maybe show how he started wearing them. In the new show, Higgins gave Magnum a red shirt as a gift and that's how he started wearing them on the show.
Earlier this summer, we heard through the grapevine that someone from the show purchased the black Midnight Bamboo (aka Magnum Bamboo) shirt from a local retailer. Tom Selleck wore this same print on the show in the 80s. That shirt came in navy (discontinued) and black but it is hard for us to tell from video screen shots which color he wore.
This was noteworthy to us because up to this point, none of the shirts worn on the new show were shirts from the old show. So while we knew that the shirt was purchased for the show, we did not know whether it was for Magnum or one of the other characters. That is until a few days ago when the shows Instagram channel posted these videos.
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the show reportedly recently purchased the iconic Magnum PI shirts. We could not verify this ourselves and do not know if Hernandez will wear the shirt at some point in the season. There is one school of thought that says he should not wear it because that is the Tom Selleck shirt and should be respected as such. There is another school of thought that says having Hernandez wear the shirt would be a nod of respect, a tilting of the cap, to Selleck. We can see both sides but feel that the star of the original Magnum PI was Tom Selleck, not the shirt. And because of that, having Hernandez wear the same shirt is a positive gesture that pays homage to the original show. Hernandez is not trying to be or replace Tom Selleck. He is his own man and wearing the shirt is a way of acknowledging Tom Selleck's iconic portrayal of Thomas Magnum.
So we shall see which shirts Hernandez and the rest of the cast wear in Season Two. We are especially interested to see if Hernandez wears the red Magnum PI shirt and how it is handled in the storyline. It is such an iconic piece of TV history that we think the show's writers would find some way to tap into nostalgia if and when that shirt makes an appearance. All we can do is watch and find out.
When you think of Magnum PI, you probably think of Tom Selleck in his classic red Aloha shirt. But it was not the only one. Here are a few more shirts worn on the show and some background info about them.