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Magnum P.I.'s Jay Hernandez Weighs In On That Whole Seatbelt Thing

With the original "Magnum P.I." leaving a looming mustachioed shadow that's hard to escape, the CBS reboot of the series had a rough road to travel even before its initial 2018 premiere. Honestly, how could it not? Tom Selleck delivered levels of leading-man charisma and just plain coolness that made the part of Thomas Magnum an absolute cornerstone of '80s pop culture. Some longtime fans might have had their pitchforks ready after the opening credits rolled on the reboot's first episode. But despite fan apprehension, the latest "Magnum P.I." proved itself a consistent hit for four seasons. The show has even survived cancellation, now finding a new home with NBC.

Sure, the "Magnum P.I." reboot has a few key differences. Notably, the dynamic between Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) – who was originally the male character Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman) — has now explored a romantic beat. But the core formula from the original remains intact. Magnum is still a private investigator in Hawaii, and he has access to some of the most impressive vehicles that would make the characters in "The Fast And Furious" sneer in envy. In the reboot, Magnum has driven nearly everything from a Toyota GR Supra to that iconic tomato red Ferrari 308 we often witnessed Selleck burning rubber in. Unfortunately, some fans may have noticed that Magnum doesn't exactly drive in the safest manner. No, we're not talking about the character jumping from car to car. The character has often been spotted without wearing a seatbelt. However, when pressed about this fact, Hernandez had an answer ready about Magnum's supposed aversion to simple car safety.

Hernandez does technically wear his seatbelt on the show

It's a familiar scene for "Magnum P.I." Bad guys engage in a brief shoot-out with Magnum and Higgins and then race away in their cars, while our heroes give chase in theirs. But between dodging and drifting dangerously on the curving Hawaiian freeways, it feels like Magnum is truly living on the edge without clicking his seatbelt. Except, that's not quite the whole scenario. As Jay Hernandez noted in an interview with TV Line, the actor technically wears his seatbelt while filming. He just hides the strap under his shoulder, as he finds it strange for his character to have to wear one.

Hernandez said to TV Line, "I was like, 'Why can we go around carrying guns and shooting people, but you make me wear a seatbelt anytime I get in the car?'" He also added in the interview that it's 100% his decision. Coincidentally, it mirrors Selleck's version of the character in a way. For instance, even in the original show's opening, Selleck can be seen driving without his seatbelt. However, the move does continue a known trend of Hollywood films and TV series not showing off much seatbelt usage. Per NBC News, currently, the lack of a seatbelt on TV comes at a bad time, as there has been an actual decline in people using seatbelts and an increase in highway accidents. Maybe we'll see Magnum properly wear the safety device more next season.

Hernandez does a lot of his own stunts for Magnum P.I.

It might seem weird for Jay Hernandez to wear a seatbelt on "Magnum P.I." at all, especially if he's hiding the strap in order to combat what he feels is a contradiction with his character. But the actor clearly believes in at least a modicum of personal road safety as he is performing quite a bit of driving on the show, as noted by Broadway World. "Magnum P.I." does have a team of stunt doubles and coordinators, according to its IMDb credits page. And they would have to, as some of the wildest scenes from the series would require some trained professionals. Yet, Hernandez has performed some heavy stunt work of his own, including hanging off a helicopter and, of course, tons of driving.

The actor's on-set stunt work has even led him to compare himself to another Hollywood actor also known for doing their own stunts. Hernandez once said to Broadway World, "I do everything; I'm like the Tom Cruise of television shows!" The "Magnum P.I." reboot had its share of jaw-dropping scenes throughout its four seasons. So it'll be exciting for fans to witness what the show has in mind for its eventual return.