Even in paradise there are snakes in the grass. When Navy SEAL Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett is lured back home to O'ahu in pursuit of his father's murder, he's tapped by the governor to head up a newly established task force assigned to take on Hawaii's nastiest crimes. Never mind that McGarrett, at first, only goes along with it because it expedites his ongoing investigation. McGarrett's persistent digging into his father's murder proves to be a recurring sub-plot that threads thru all of Season One. But this hyper reimagining of HAWAII FIVE-O is so much more than about one man's obsession.
Still, one decider is that the governor promises McGarrett full immunity and no red tape. McGarrett, you'll quickly observe, is like a bull in a china shop. It's what makes him fun. He's an intense, unapologetic man of action even more so than he's an investigator. Episodes are often fueled by McGarrett's wild, headstrong impulses, and this, along with his dynamic physicality, adds an electrifying element that's very much absent from the other, more plodding police procedurals. It's a good thing the Commander runs into his new partner, Danny Williams. Danny, six months out of Jersey PD and flaunting that abrasive, smart-alecky Jersey 'tude, is actually the more by-the-book detective. Danny (or "Danno") and McGarrett immediately get on like pork sausage and a Vegan.
Apart from the unforgettable, driving theme song and "Book 'em, Danno!" and Jack Lord's glorious hair and that it originated a slang word for "cop," I don't remember much about the original series. I certainly don't remember the original McGarrett and Danno sharing this same tremendous chemistry. In every episode, this McGarrett and Danno engage in awesome banter and bickering and mocking, lots and lots of mocking. The scenes between Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan are what truly sells the show for me. They are so much fun and dictate the tone of the show. But, no worries, HAWAII FIVE-O trots out other elements that compel you to tune in like an addict. And I don't just mean the snark and the swagger and the laugh-out-loud funny.
Daniel Dae Kim (LOST) and Grace Park (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) make fantastic additions to the show, respectively playing disgraced cop Chin Ho Kelly and sexy ex-pro surfer and now rookie cop (and Chin Ho's cousin) Kono Kalakaua. Yeah, Kono is now a girl. Just like Boomer is now a girl. I love that the show explores Chin Ho and Kono's family ties and personal lives. In fact, the personal lives of all four characters comprise huge chunks of the episodes, something that didn't happen in the original series. And I'm a sucker for Danno's sweet interactions with his young daughter Monkey- er, Gracie. But, for Chin Ho Kelly, yeah, it's a pretty painful backstory.
HAWAII FIVE-O is in large part forensics and police procedural. What elevates it above the rest of its genre competition is that it's an explosive action-adventure series as well; McGarrett tends to shoot first, ask questions later, and then shoot some more. Each episode also doubles as a lush travelogue reel of Hawaii, with each exterior shot serving as an inviting postcard. I wouldn't at all be surprised if tourism has shot up in the Aloha State since HAWAII FIVE-0 premiered. The gorgeous backdrops lend a vibrancy, inject an energy. You could say the state of Hawaii is the show's fifth major character.
Although this incarnation separates itself from the original and rapidly constructs its own mythology, familiar names and themes crop up. Looming large is the presence of Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), a remorseless crime lord who once more becomes the show's big bad. And don't be surprised if actors from the original show surface here.
There's always that striking disconnect that hits you whenever you watch shady stuff going down in bright, sun-drenched environs. The Five-O unit routinely navigates paradise's underbelly, tangles with the more exotic sorts of crooks (high seas pirates, Samoan gangs, the Yakuza). There's that one case the Five-O had to solve while under the duress of an impending tsunami (in "Kai E'e"). And how about the charred corpse that was uncovered in the fire pit of a luau ("Mana'o")? "Ke kinohi" is a volatile episode which provides impetus to McGarrett's ongoing investigation of his father's murder. "E Malama" isolates and showcases each member of the Five-O unit even as a federal witness, hunted by the cartel, races against the clock to testify at the courthouse. As a comic book fan, I always appreciate these shows' stabs at featuring comic cons, and "Ne Me'e Laua Na Paio" is a good 'un. "Oia'i'o" is the highly charged season finale that sends shockwaves rippling thru the Five-O team.
This show has raked in such good buzz that A-list guest stars have flocked in. James Marsters (Spike from BUFFY and ANGEL), Kevin Sorbo, Dane Cook, Masi Oka (HEROES), Rick Springfield, and a surprisingly good Sean "P. Diddy" Combs are only a few of the recognizable names. And so why don't you catch the wave as well, brah? In what other detective show can you eyeball crimesolvers solving crimes in shorts and flip flops? If you're tired of the old forensics cops and robbers programming, give this a try. Thomas Magnum would want you to. So would his mustache. So would Jack Lord's hair. And Scott Caan's mousse.
HAWAII FIVE-O - THE FIRST SEASON set has all 24 episodes on six discs with the following bonus features scattered throughout:
- "Shore Lines: the Story of Season 1" (00:30:26 minutes)
- "Aloha Action" focuses on the show's hi-octane action stunts (00:15:14 minutes)
- "Grace Park's Hawaiian Tour" - On O'ahu, Grace samples local cuisine, takes a hula lesson, goes stand-up paddle surfing, and scarfs down delicious shaved ice (00:05:25 minutes)
- "Legacy" goes into the casting of the show and the cast & crew talk about updating the series while paying homage to the original show (00:11:38 minutes)
- "Picture Perfect: The Making of the Pilot" (00:27:07 minutes)
- "Re-scoring the Theme Song" - clip snippets of the orchestra recording the theme song from the Eastwood Scoring Stage, Burbank on June 16, 2010(00:01:43 minutes)
- "Inside Comic-Con" - Months before the show's debut, the cast & crew visit San Diego Comic-Con and receive a warm reception (00:06:22 minutes)
- "Inside the Box" explores the case evidence inside McGarret's dad's tool box (00:06:47 minutes)
- CBS On Air Launch Promos / Eye Lab Online Launch Promos
- Cast & Crew Commentaries on 2 episodes: "Pilot" (with Peter Lenkkov, Len Wiseman & Roberto Orci) and "E Malama" (with Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, and director Brad Turner)
- heaps of Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel (00:07:32 minutes)