Magnum, P.I.: Season 1, Episode 3

China Doll (18 Dec. 1980)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 150 users  
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Magnum is hired to protect "The Soul of Soong," an ancient Chinese vase, until it can be delivered to its owner.


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Title: China Doll (18 Dec 1980)

China Doll (18 Dec 1980) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Episode cast overview:
Susie Elene ...
Mai Ling (as Suesie Elena)
Duffy (as Lee DeBroux)
George Cheung ...
Choi (as George Kee Cheung)
Yankee Chang ...
Lee Woodd ...
Lee Gaber ...
Tourist husband
Marvin Wong ...
Ho Ling
Alice Lemon ...
Tourist wife
Roland Nip ...
Pin Ling
Remi Abellira ...


Magnum is hired to protect "The Soul of Soong," an ancient Chinese vase, until it can be delivered to its owner.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

18 December 1980 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first episode to try the "new" theme music. This was later rejected and replaced with the original theme. See more »


The kidnapper gives up his hostage before he gets his ransom. All Magnum gives him are instructions for a meet with his associates, which is a completely transparent trap. See more »

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User Reviews

"You Have Unsual Friends"
19 October 2009 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

This episode is one of many "Damsel in Distress" cases Magnum takes on. Basically a woman, Mai Ling, must honor her family and their charge in guarding a sacred vase called the "Soul of Song". There is a Tong warrior/assassin pursuing her from China as the vase has great value to the communist/nationalists. Mai Ling enlists Magnum to protect her and the vase until her cousin can take the vase to a new safe hiding place. Of course the thug assassin catches up to them, gets the girl and demands the vase in return. In the end Magnum and his pals all work together so that the girl and the vase are saved and the bad guy is dead.

I liked the episode, didn't love it. Particularly the way the beginning was handled. We see Magnum in TC's chopper and Magnum is complaining in his voice over about TC going on and on about finding this "China Doll" and starting in on Mai Ling again. Wait a minute...what China Doll? Who is Mai Ling? What the hell is he talking about? The premise is just kind of dropped in the viewers lap and it really didn't make much sense. I mean we can catch up pretty quick but it seemed like they started without us.

Some good parts to the episode - 1) Higgins genuine disappointed look when Magnum 1st arrives at the estate and the dogs are not attacking him. He meets up with Magnum only to find that Mai Ling has charmed the "lads". 2) This is the 1st appearance of the iconic Detroit Tigers baseball cap. 3) At one point Mai Ling says "You have some unusual friends". The importance of friends is a theme that runs through Magnum's life, previously in the Navy and now in civilian life. Same guys, just different environment. Instead of running missions, they're now working on "cases" and Magnum couldn't and can't have successful outcomes without his buddies.

Some odd parts - 1) The Tong assassin drugs Mai Ling and leaves her on the beach. OK, I get that. But really, are we to think that nobody, on a crowded beach, would think to check on a bikini clad-woman who has been lying in the sun, unmoving for 9 hours? 2) Why, out of nowhere, in the cemetery scene do we hear the "6 Million Dollar Man" sound effect not once but twice? You know....the background music when Steve Austin would start to run or throw or jump. Just odd is all.

Episode Body Count: Women kissed = 1, Bad guys shot & killed by Magnum = 1

Running Body Count: Episodes = 3, Women kissed = 2, Bad guys shot & killed by Magnum = 2

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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