In a recent interview with TV Guide, Zachary Knighton, known for his role in Magnum P.I., shared insights into his directorial debut on the NBC procedural drama. The series is set to conclude in 2024, marking the end of a five-season run. Knighton discussed his experience preparing for the directorial role, the challenges of maintaining the show’s visual aesthetic, and the emotional aspects of bidding farewell to the long-running series.
Knighton revealed that he had shadowed experienced directors, particularly mentioning David Straiton, who provided valuable advice. He emphasized the importance of fighting for creative choices while directing for the home team. The actor expressed gratitude for the support he received and highlighted the fun he had directing the episode.
Addressing the visual freedom he had as a director, Knighton explained that while there is a well-established visual language for Magnum P.I., he aimed to bring a fresh perspective. He cited examples like an underwater opening scene and a helicopter sequence, showcasing his efforts to add unique elements to the episode.
When asked about the selection of the episode, Knighton mentioned that he did not get to choose it but speculated that it might have been picked due to its humorous tone. He also shared his joy at working with comedian Bobby Lee, an old friend, in a different storytelling format.
Discussing a significant plot development earlier in Season 5B involving his character Rick and his wife Betsy Phillips, who plays Suzy, Knighton expressed personal delight at working with his real-life wife on the show. He described it as a dream come true and appreciated the natural and organic way she was cast in the role.
As for the cancellation of Magnum P.I., Knighton acknowledged the bittersweet feeling of the news. He expressed gratitude to NBC for allowing the cast and crew to complete the final 20 episodes. Despite the sadness of saying goodbye, Knighton revealed a sense of readiness to move on to new roles and experiences.
Knighton praised the dedicated fanbase of Magnum P.I., describing them as the best fans he’s ever had. He compared their efforts to save the show to a campaign during his time on Happy Endings but noted the unprecedented scale of the Magnum P.I. fan campaign, including a billboard in Times Square. While expressing appreciation for the fans, Knighton hinted at being open to returning to the role if it were for the fans’ sake.
The interview provided a glimpse into Knighton’s multifaceted experience on Magnum P.I., from acting and writing to directing, and the emotional journey of concluding a significant chapter in his career.