I’m a Highway to Heaven fan. I watched it regularly when I was a kid coming home from school, and I own the first three seasons as an adult. (Unfortunately, A&E only released the first three seasons.)
One character I’ve always liked was Diane, who was the wife of Scotty, a quadraplegic lawyer. Diane was played by actress Margie Impert. As you can tell from the Internet Movie Database, Margie Impert did her acting work during the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, and Highway to Heaven was the last thing that she did. But I’ve long wanted to see the role that she played in Magnum, P.I. And, not long ago, I had such an opportunity.
In Magnum, P.I, Margie Impert played Madeline Jones, a clerk in the records office. The first episode on which she appeared, “Mr. White Death”, was on TV in 1982. On this episode, Magnum went to the records office to look for information in order to find the son of a wrestler (and the wrestler was played by the late Ernest Borgnine). Magnum had to wait in a long line, and, when he finally got to the front, Ms. Jones at the desk was talking on the phone with her boyfriend (or maybe he was her husband), Ray, rather than helping Magnum. Ms. Jones was upset because Ray was seeing another woman. After she hung up the phone, she shouted at Magnum to mind his own business!
The next episode on which she appeared was “Blind Justice”, which was on TV in 1984. I don’t entirely remember what the plot of that episode was, but I recall that it related to an abusive husband who was accused of murder. Magnum had to go to the records office to get help from Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones was a lot sweeter this time around, and she got Magnum his information. But then, she was talking on the phone with Ray, upset that he wouldn’t eat dinner with her. Magnum exclaimed to the lady he was with, “This is the exact same conversation she had when I was here three years ago!” When Ms. Jones hangs up the phone, she shouts at Magnum to mind his own business!
Well, it’s inevitable that Ms. Jones would get her own episode, and, in 1985, she did. The episode was called “Ms. Jones”. In this episode, we get to witness Ms. Jones’ usual rudeness, but we also see something else about her: she is a genius. She has the ability to understand and remember complex details of land law, and she is really good at chess. (Higgins later in the episode seeks to learn some of her chess knowledge while she is undergoing hypnosis.) The plot of this episode is that Ray has been kidnapped, presumably on account of some invention that he made, and Ms. Jones comes to Magnum for help in finding him. We hear the story of how Ms. Jones met and fell in love with Ray—-she was an eccentric outsider, and Ray made her feel accepted. We also see that Ray is played by Sam Anderson, who would later play Bernard on LOST! And the guy who played Colonel Decker on the A-Team, Lance LeGault, played a stern colonel on this episode of Magnum.
To my surprise (and maybe I shouldn’t be overly surprised by this), Diane in Highway to Heaven was quite different from Ms. Jones in Magnum. Diane was a strong woman who encouraged her husband and pushed him to do what was right. Ms. Jones also was a strong woman, but she was jealous, rude, and eccentric in a genius-sort-of-way (not that Diane wasn’t smart).