All young Steve wanted was to grow up to be just like his policeman hero of a father. To him, no man stood taller than his dad – he was the only hero there was, and someday, Steve was going to be just like him. Since those long-gone childhood days he has since been estranged from his father and Steven McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is now a distinguished Navel Commander – including two tours under his belt and even a stint on the Navel police force. During his pursuit to rid the world of vicious criminals like the Hesse brothers, Steve’s father is used as leverage for the younger brother’s release and murdered when the prisoner is killed. Angry without another thought save for revenge, Steve returns home to Hawaii to bury his father where he is offered lead on an undercover task force with direct authorization from the governor to search out the kind of criminals who don’t go for petty thieving. Although the Governor (Jean Smart) is determined to win Steve over, he refuses her cryptic offer, and promise of unlimited support and immunity because he knows the man who brutally murdered his father – he knows how this man operates which suggests that Hesse is already long underground – and cannot be touched… But that was before Steve met the equally dedicated Detective Williams.
Newly transplanted from New Jersey Danny ‘Danno’ Williams (Scott Caan) doesn’t like Hawaii’s climate but he moved to be close to his young daughter. He and Steve clash from the very beginning and neither one of them likes the other, but then Steve recants his refusal to form a specialized branch of law, he taps Danny as one of his team members forcing the pair to work together if not get along. Determined to bring his father’s killer out into the open, Steve brings in an ex-cop, Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) accused of taking bribes and stealing evidenced drug money and Chin’s cousin, Kono (Grace Park) – a former surfer turned rookie cop to see the job complete.
Re-booting a classic TV series that is so well remembered is a challenge – and a risk. Producers need the right hand scripting it, a capable cast and network backing in order to make a go of anything. Fortunately, this show checked off each requirement. NBC tried to make a modern Knight Rider successful only to fail miserably, and even a re-make of the James Garner Rockford Files was filmed with an unaired (as far as I know) pilot, while more recently ABC tried their hand at making a 21st century Charlie’s Angels top the charts – again without success (after a mere three or four episodes, ABC pulled production on the show). The fact that Hawaii Five-0 impressed so many fans was perhaps surprising to critics – even though a great number of them were actually impressed by this stylish and suspenseful re-boot.
Although the first episode hooked me on this series (the casting and characters are phenomenal… but I’ll discuss them later down the page) I was somewhat disappointed a rare few times over the course of season one although in all likelihood, it probably only stacks up to being a handful of instances – if that, which caused me to feel this way but, whatever the reason behind them, a few cases weren’t nearly as captivating as they could have or should have been. One episode (“Belief”) never did intrigue me like I wanted it too – its premise is a personal one for Danny, and personal stories are always up my alley but I think the dissatisfaction was because it moved at such an alarming rate. Most of the cases that Five-0 gets are quick solves because that is what they were created for – they were authorized out of nearly non-existent resources and were formed in order to solve not only, cases on a timetable but also by going the unusual routes, the methods that most cops wouldn’t and couldn’t touch.
Throughout this entire freshman season, I was continuously impressed with the acting. This show doesn’t skimp on its humor either – in much the same trending that every other crime series follows, fortunately it doesn’t distract from the focused performances of the leading characters. Alex and Scott were great together, but Alex especially emanated a wonderful leadership position. I liked how he handled the majority of the situations and that, somehow even in tragedy, he always gets results. Even the villainous characters are phenomenal – they make us detest them without lifting a finger; their expressions and demeanor speak volumes all on their own. I don’t know how other fans felt about her, but I also loved Danny’s ex. Played by Claire van der Boom, the actress did a wonderful job with her character and I liked the interaction between she and Danny. Her character is nothing like what fans are led to believe of her before we actually get to meet her on-screen. The insinuations and actual first impression are two different things entirely, and I liked that. Even though the young actress who plays their daughter is adorable, she doesn’t have the talent to act well… or not yet, anyway. Filming actually did take place in Hawaii and as a result, crews do a splendid job of featuring the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands and their culture. It isn’t hard to recognize why this show made such an impression on the viewing audience last season – it can compete with the best of the long-running shows that have been given multiple seasonal renews. I only hope this one is given the same opportunities.
My only complaint about this show? I am going to be on pins and needles until season two appears on store’s shelves! Your thoughts about this retooled Hawaii Five-O crew are most welcome - don't be shy, share below!