If you watched the season-six finale of Archer and guessed that Sterling’s aviators were not only a nod to Magnum P.I., but also an indicator of the story for season seven, well, you deserve a prize. Be it a weekend at Poovey Farms or a romantic evening in Dr. Krieger’s van, you should get something for being such a genius, because the intelligence agents behind FX’s celebrated animated series were certain no one would get it. Rather, we were all expected to have quite the “A-HA!” moment when Archer’s spectacular shot-for-shot remake of the Magnum P.I. opening credits premiered on Monday, and it was definitely a hell of a way to kick off February for those of us living in the Danger Zone.
But as any hardcore Archer fan knows, this isn’t the first time that the series has paid tribute to Tom Selleck’s classic character. In season two’s “Placebo Effect,” Sterling took down a dirty pharmaceutical kingpin in a scene that served as an homage to Magnum P.I.’s dark and controversial episode “Did You See the Sun Rise?” in which “Magnum just murdered somebody!” Specifically, he murdered a Russian colonel named Ivan, whom Magnum knew from his time in a Vietnamese POW camp, and Archer brought that scene back to the mainstream with a Regis Philbin twist on the payoff line. And then, obviously, murder.
This time, though, the Magnum P.I. reference is much more important in terms of what it means for the entire upcoming season, which premieres on March 31.