Watching the Detectives - Hawaii Five-0

Hawaii five 0

In a series of articles, Susan Omand and Steve Taylor-Bryant are going to remember the policemen, spies and criminal specialists that entertained them over the years. Today, Susan heads for Hawaii...

Way back in the late 1960’s a TV series started that mixed sun and surf with the usual police procedural. The show, starring Jack Lord and James MacArthur, ran all through the 70’s and it was...


...for once, I’m not going to wax lyrical about a show from way back in the day that you don’t remember because the remake is BRILLIANT! Yes, you heard me. A remake of a much adored show actually works and it works very, very well.

There are several reasons for this, partly them, partly me. Y’see I’m not overly precious about the original show. Although I watched it fairly regularly (mother was a huge fan) I was much more into Starsky and Hutch and the Rockford Files. So I didn’t meet the idea of a remake with the high dudgeon of a dyed-in-the-wool fan desperate for it to stick to canon. But surprisingly, and this is the other reason it works, they have stuck fairly close to the original, with the premise that “the Five-O”, named for the fiftieth state of the US, are an elite squad attached to the police force but working outside their rules and answerable only to the Governor.

Of course there have been obvious updates for technology and such but they have even kept a lot of the cast names the same, including the main bad guy, Wo Fat, although Kono has now become a girl and is the cousin of Chin Ho. In the new show, main man Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is an ex Navy seal, persuaded to stay on the island of Oahu to head up the task force, after he arrives to look into his father’s murder. He’s joined by Danny Williams (Scott Caan, son of James), a New Jersey cop who relocated to be closer to his daughter when his divorced wife moved to the island. Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim, Lost) is a Honolulu police detective who came to the Five-O because he was a friend of Steve’s but also to try and clear his name after being accused of corruption in the force. Chin Ho’s cousin Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park, Battlestar Galactica) was in the process of taking her police cadet training when she was asked to join the Five-O. The main team are assisted on and off by the wonderfully geeky coroner, Dr Max Bergman (Masi Oke, Heroes), McGarrett’s old boss, Joe White (Terry O’Quinn, Lost and the X-Files), conspiracy theorist Jerry Ortega (Jorge Garcia from, yes, Lost again) and Kamekone (Taylor Wily), who adds a lighter note to the series, runs the local shrimp stand but knows and sees everything. Add into this mix wonderfully creepy bad guys such as Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) and Victor Hesse (James Marsters, Spike! And the reason I started watching the show in the first place) and a large selection of people who you haven’t yet decided are good guys or bad guys, like McGarrett’s own mother, and you have a star studded cast for a great show.

The show’s creators have been involved in the writing of every episode which has kept a consistency with the storylines so often missing in long running episodic series and the calibre of directing has always been high with people such as Bryan Spicer (The Man in the High Castle) involved. As well as the week to week cases, there is always an over-riding long story arc over the whole series and, quite often, the two are connected, leading to a quite intricate and involved plot in what could just have been an ordinary police procedural with added bikinis.

And the third reason it all works so well? They kept the theme tune.

Book ‘em Danno.

Follow Susan on Twitter at @omandoriginal

Image - CBS

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