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Everything to Know About Magnum P.I. Fan Favorite Rick Wright

As one of the most social characters in Magnum P.I., Rick always brings the laughs and the heart.

By Jackie Manno & Jessica White

How to Watch

Watch Magnum P.I. on NBC and Peacock.    

NBC's Magnum P.I. gifted fans with some seriously cool crime-fighting characters, along with a dose of romance, emotion, and humor. One of the cherished reboot's principal characters, the street-smart Rick Wright (played by Zachary Knighton), adds equal parts sentimentality and laughs to the show. 

Also a beloved character in the 1980s original series, Rick Wright takes the art of Aloha to the next level. Whether he's phoning a friend for super-sleuth Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) for his latest case or slinging cocktails behind the bar at La Mariana, Rick adds sarcastic humor and jovial zest with each of his scenes on Magnum P.I. Rick has come a long way since his Magnum P.I. beginnings, and fans cherish any moment where they see the beloved bartender and friend thrive.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Rick Wright, one of Magnum's closest friends on the island.

Who is Rick Wright on Magnum P.I.?

Rick “Orville” Wright was a former Marine and one-time Prisoner of War with Thomas Magnum and T.C. (Stephen Hill) during their time in Iraq. Introduced in the reboot's pilot episode, Rick is the proud co-owner of a hip bar in Honolulu called La Mariana alongside T.C. He is also known to be a very well-connected man, which can come in handy when Magnum needs a hand on a case. Rick's robust phonebook of island friends lent itself to dozens of mysteries throughout Magnum P.I.'s five seasons.

Rick Wright from Magnum P.I. shown looking at someone or something.

Rick Wright's Questionable Mentor, "Icepick"

In Season 2 of Magnum P.I., Rick's father figure, a mobster with the nickname “Icepick,” was released from prison but elected not to tell Rick at first. However, the father-son duo eventually reconnected, and Icepick disclosed that he was planning on getting revenge on someone he knew in prison. Wright attempted to talk him out of this, but Icepick ignored his reasoning and ended up shot. In Season 3 of the NBC nail-biter, Icepick returned to prison. When Wright went to visit him, he learned Icepick was transported to the hospital and was on his deathbed.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Bobby Lee's Jin Jeong on Magnum P.I.

Rick Wright and Suzy's Romantic Island Romance

Rick (Zachary Knighton) and Suzy (Betsy Phillips) make a toast while surrounded by friends at a bar

On the lighter side of things, one of the most swoon-worthy plotlines to come from the new Magnum P.I. was the connection Rick formed with La Mariana bartender, Suzy. Fun fact – Suzy is played by Betsy Phillips, and she and Knighton are married in real life! After some flirtatious exchanges between the coworkers in Season 3 of Magnum P.I., they agreed to keep their relationship platonic to keep work-life simple. 

In Season 4 of Magnum P.I., Suzy resigned from La Mariana to accept a six-month residency at an artist co-op in California. Moments after their employee relationship was discontinued, Rick and Suzy shared a steamy moment confirming their affection for each other. Suzy left Hawaii and while she was away, received life-changing news: she was pregnant with Rick's baby. 

RELATED: Wait, How Did the Original Magnum, P.I. Series End?

Rick's feelings for Suzy only strengthened after they became parents, avoiding romance to guarantee they prioritized their daughter, Joy. Rick and Suzy's will-they-won't-they relationship came to a head in Season 5 of Magnum P.I. after Rick finally came clean about his ongoing love for Suzy. Suzy echoed the sentiment, and the pair thrived in their relationship. In the series finale of Magnum P.I., Rick and Suzy got engaged and celebrated the union surrounded by their loved ones!

Who is Zachary Knighton? 

Rick Wright on the beach facing another character and talking to them.

Zachary Knighton is an American actor whose previous roles include Happy Endings, Parenthood, and Santa Clarita Diet. As far as his role in Magnum P.I., Knighton had a blast reimagining the well-connected Rick Wright.

"I was a huge fan of the original and I grew up surfing and sailing and I'm a diver," Knighton said in an interview with CBS News. "I love the outdoor aspects of the tropical climate. Of course, the appeal of moving to Hawaii was great. I love the show and I love Larry Manetti, who was the original Rick. I was a fan of him, even pre-Magnum P.I. days. It just felt like a choice that made sense. I had gone down this road of a lot of pilots and things I had been doing since Happy Endings got canceled. This felt like a sure thing and something that would stay on the air for a while. I love the team involved and it has been a blast. We are really fortunate that people love the show."

Originally published Feb 17, 2023.