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Wait, What Happened to Rick’s Girlfriend on Magnum P.I.? A Show Romance Refresher

Magnum P.I.'s Rick Wright is finally experiencing fatherhood alongside his island sweetheart, Suzy.

By Jessica White & Jill Sederstrom

Magnum P.I.’s Rick Wright is a man who can get you what you want.  

How to Watch

Watch Magnum P.I. on NBC and Peacock.    

With connections all around the island, Wright, portrayed by Zachary Knighton, can conjure up virtually anything, whether it’s a possible buyer for a 300-pound tuna or inside information on a prison — but when it comes to the tiki bar owner’s love life, things are a bit more complicated. In the romance department, Rick is a tad unlucky in love.  

Rick has long been crushing on La Mariana’s former bartender-turned-mother of his child, Suzy, but the romance has hit its share of obstacles. (Fun fact: In real life, Betsy Phillips, who plays Suzy, is Knighton’s wife and the couple share two kids, according to her Instagram). While Suzy and Rick's chemistry is undeniable, the fear of what commitment will do to their co-parenting arrangement has created hesitance. Regardless, Magnum P.I. fans have had their fingers crossed for a potential romantic reunion at some point, and it seems like the tides have finally started to turn for the cherished couple.  

Read on to learn more about Rick and Suzy's Magnum P.I. romance.

A close-up of Suzy Madison slightly smiling while talking to another character.

Who is Rick's girlfriend, Suzy, on Magnum P.I.

Suzy made her first appearance in Season 2, Episode 19 (“May the Best One Win”) after Rick discovered her estranged father, Justin Madison, dead in a booth at the bar. The only clue to his identity at the time was an off-hand reference Madison made before his death about needing to “get back to Suzy.” 

The medical examiner was able to positively identify the body as Madison, discovering he died of a heart attack, so Rick set out to notify his daughter. While Suzy initially failed to feel much sympathy for her father (he walked out on her and her mom years ago), she made peace with his death after discovering he named his houseboat in her honor and filled it with her photos and artwork. 

Suzy returned in Season 3 after Rick hired her to paint a mural on one of the bar’s outdoor walls. She started working as a bartender, where she made a name for herself with her popular signature cocktails.  

There’s an indisputable spark between Rick and Suzy, but since he was technically her boss and they didn't want to complicate matters, any hope of a romance had to wait.  

Suzy and Rick became parents before dating

Rick Wright (Zachary Knighton) smiles while looking at someone off camera

At the start of Season 4, Suzy was thrilled after being awarded a six-month residency at an artist co-op in San Diego. She put her notice into Rick, and just minutes after they sever the employee relationship, the pair finally released the building sexual tension in a nearby supply closet.  

Suzy had to go to California just a few days later. While she was away, the pair would keep up through FaceTime. However, according to Rick, the exact nature of their relationship was left up in the air. In one video call, Rick was happily surprised to learn that he and Suzy were expecting a baby.  

RELATED: Does The Original Thomas Magnum, Tom Selleck, Appear In The New Magnum P.I.? 

Suzy returned to Hawaii at the end of the season after the residency ended to an eager Rick, who hoped to rekindle their romance.  

But Suzy had other ideas. While she admitted she was “crazy” about him, she didn’t want a romantic relationship to jeopardize their role as soon-to-be parents. 

“Look, all our past relationships ended and this one, it can’t. We have to be in each other’s lives forever and I’m sorry, this is — I think this is what’s best for our kid,” Suzy said, adding that she believed the “only way to make sure we don’t end badly is to never start at all.”  

Rick later confided to his buddy and silent partner in the bar, Theodore “T.C.” Calvin (Stephen Hill) that the meeting didn’t go how he planned.  

RELATED: Everything to Know About the Magnum P.I. Season 5 Cast

“You know, it started great. We’re talking, we’re laughing, it’s everything I wanted it to be and then she says we should be friends. Total curveball,” he lamented. 

T.C. reminded Rick that many of the greatest things in his life — including the baby and Suzy — were “curveballs” and encouraged his friend to let Suzy set the pace. 

“Always be flexible,” T.C. said. “Maybe stop stressing about where you and Suzy end up and just see where it goes.”  

Things took a dramatic turn at the end of Season 4 when Suzy almost died after complications from labor. She was rushed into emergency surgery after the birth of their daughter, and while things were touch and go for a while, Suzy ultimately survived. She and Rick decided to name their daughter Joy. 

Suzy and Rick's Will-They-Won't-They Relationship

As the new parents adjusted to their fresh set of responsibilities, they shared time with Joy and have kept relations strictly platonic since the baby's arrival. In Season 5, Episode 6 (“Dead Ringer”), Rick admitted he’s still hopeful something more will bloom. 

“I’m in love with the mother of my child, but she shot me down. I’m a grown-a– man living on my friend’s couch, and now I have a new baby, who I don’t get to see every day because I don’t live with her mother, who I’m in love with, but she shot me down,” he told T.C. and Teuila "Kumu" Tuileta (Amy Hill). 

Even though the romance has struggled to get off the ground, Rick is still hopeful, especially after discovering that Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) have finally turned their years-long partnership into a romantic relationship

“OK, Thomas and Juliet have had a lot of back and forth over the years, right? They’ve been in limbo and now they’re not,” he said. “The thing is if they can get out of it, so can I. So maybe, me, Joy, and Suzy can live together like a family.” 

Rick and Suzy officially got together in Magnum P.I.'s final season

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

The second part of Magnum P.I. Season 5 saw Rick face his bachelor lifestyle head-on as a new woman landed on his radar in Episode 11 ("Hit and Run"). The beautiful Piper (Chelsea Gilligan) started working at a nearby boat, and they instantly hit it off. In fact, Piper seemed to be very fond of Rick, so much so that she stopped by his job and asked him on a date.  

Rick admitted that while he's single, his romantic status is complicated. Translation: He's still stuck on Suzy. Piper shrugged this away and continued her flirtatious banter in Season 5, Episode 12 ("Three Bridges"). Higgins took note of the increased romantic tension and asked Rick if he was holding back because of Suzy. Rick denied this accusation, instead insisting he didn't want to date someone working so close to home, but something seemed to be swirling beneath the surface. It all came to a head by the episode's close after Rick accepted Piper's date only to choke and bail at the last moment. 

Rick found himself on Suzy's doorstep, and the long-awaited confession finally arrived.  

"You see, I was on my way to go on a date tonight," Rick admitted. "She's funny, she's nice, she's smart, she's pretty. The thing is, she's not you." 

He continued, "When you said before that you don't wanna keep seeing me, I totally heard you, and I respected that. I still do. But even thinking about going on a date with somebody else, it just doesn't feel right. So I'm just going to bring it up one last time, and if you still feel the same way, I promise I will never mention it again. So should I go out on this date tonight?" 

"No," Suzy smiled. 

"No?" Rick asked incredulously. 

"Do not go on a date with her," Suzy said, closing the distance. "Or anyone else." 

The pair chuckled before sharing a heartwarming kiss, a gratifying union for Magnum fans patiently waiting for this moment. Rick and Suzy can finally explore parenthood as a couple, heading into uncharted waters as a combined force. 

Rick and Suzy celebrated their engagement with loved ones

The moment fans have been waiting for occurred during the Magnum P.I. series finale ("The Big Squeeze") after Thomas Magnum revealed he was holding onto an engagement ring for Rick. Rick and Suzy are taking their relationship to the next level! Rick proposed to Suzy, and she happily accepted, later celebrating the union at La Mariana alongside their excited friends. Magnum gave a tear-jerking speech in honor of his ride-or-die, Rick, and his soon-to-be wife. 

"Here we are after a, well, interesting path. Look, seducing your employees generally doesn't work out like this…" Magnum teased. "Before you guys even went on a date, you skipped right straight to the next step, in fact, you skipped three or four steps and probably a couple of bases."

"There were there were some surprises, there was some reluctance, there was fear, worry," Magnum continued. "But ultimately, Suzy, you're gonna make an honest man out of Rick. And although your path was less than traditional, and perhaps even because of that, I have no doubt that this love will last a lifetime."

The Magnum P.I. crew cheered in Suzy and Rick's honor, a beautiful and heartwarming send-off for one of Magnum P.I.'s cutest couples. 

To contribute to the relief efforts for those affected by the devastating wildfires in Maui, please visit  Aloha United Way at UAW.org.  

Originally published Apr 8, 2023.