A man nominated to be a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court asks Magnum to find a woman he last saw on December 6, 1941.
Magnum is hired by a Supreme Court nominee to find the woman he married forty years ago, in 1941, on the eve of the raid on Pearl Harbor. He was a young Navy Ensign, she was a prostitute, and after their marriage they subsequently became separated in the bombings, with the Judge presuming her dead - until recently, after he has started receiving blackmail threats relating to an incident forty years ago. Magnum's investigations into the case are helped by the fact that Higgins wants a favor, and is being overly nice and co-operative in return.
- Tom Selleck as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV
- John Hillerman as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III
- Roger E. Mosley as Theodore "T.C." Calvin
- Larry Manetti as Rick Wright
- Remi Abellira as Moki
- Anne Lockhart as Diane Westmore
- June Lockhart as Diane Westmore Pauley
- Miguel Ferrer as Ensign Robert "Bobby" Wickes, USN
- Scatman Crothers as Tickler
- Jose Ferrer as Robert Caine
- Elizabeth Lindsey as Kiki
- Merlin Ching as Maku (credited as Sonny Ching)
- Reri Tava Jobe as Hostess
- Patricia Herman as Jessie
- David Palmer as Mueller
- The title is a reoccurring phrase and theme in the 1897 Rudyard Kipling poem "Recessional".
- José Ferrer plays a Navy officer who later becomes a judge named Caine. He had previously played a Navy lawyer in The Caine Mutiny (1954).
- Diane: Ok, Mr. Magnum. You know who I was, or rather what I was. So, just tell me how much you want and I'll decide whether to pay it! Although, it better not be more than fifty bucks, because since the Governor died, I could care less about what anybody knows about my past. But above all, don't toy with me, especially about Bobby! Or you won't even get your fifty bucks.
- Magnum: Miss Pauley, he hired me to find you.
- Diane: Well you're remarkably preserved for your age. Bobby was killed, forty years ago on the Arizona.
- Magnum: Higgins, who died?
- Higgins: Mr. Blackmore. Heart attack.
- Magnum: Higgins, who's playing for Mrs. Blackmore?
- Higgins: No one. The funeral's today, the game's tomorrow.
- (Higgins leaves)
- Magnum: What a strange little man.
- Magnum: It was more ironic than a Robin Masters novel; she thought he was dead, he thought she was dead... and only the chauffeur knew the truth! He should have been the butler! (Narration)
- (to Higgins)
- Magnum: I'm sure I can learn bridge. I'm great at poker... What's wild?