Hawaii Five-O is a show that is more than worthy of my obsession


Being a mere seventeen years old, I didn’t have the luxury of catching the past eight seasons of my favorite show on tv right when it aired. Frankly, it was too morbid and violent for my young brain. However, being a mere seventeen years old, I did have the luxury of binging and re-binging my favorite show on Netflix one summer. In fact, I finished rewatching it just in time for season nine to begin airing on tv.

Then tragedy struck. CBS pulled the plug on Netflix, leaving me sparking in blue anger. Hawaii Five-O disappeared from Netflix and all other streaming platforms except for CBS All Access, which I am not about to pay for.

I guess this sadness is not foreign to me when it comes to Hawaii Five-O. I’ve been wallowing in sadness ever since Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, who played Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, left the show at the end of season seven back in 2017.

Their absence was felt all through seasons eight and nine, though, it was cushioned by the introduction of Tani Rey and Junior “Junes” Reigns played by Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale. These newcomers filled the empty positions on the task force and are beginning to fill the empty holes in my overly invested heart that the departures of the “#originialsquad” left.

Being the cop-show obsessed person that I am, I struggle to find a way to express my emotions about the show to my clueless friends, which has led to the creation of endearing nicknames for the characters. The “#originalsquad” consists of the Hawaiian born ex-navy seal Steve McGarrett (“Navy Babe”); his sassy partner from New Jersey, Danny Williams (“Jersey Babe”); his father’s mentee, Chin Ho Kelly (“Love Of My Life”); and  “Love Of My Life’s” cousin and recently graduated Kono Kalakaua (“Bad Babe #1”).

Alas, this season’s cast holds a special place in my heart as well, consisting of Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny Williams (Scott Caan), Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale), Lou Grover (Chi McBride), Tani Rey, Junior Reigns, and Jerry Ortega (Jorge Ortega).

While I love the crime and sleuthing involved with cop shows, of which Hawaii Five-O has an amazing variation that continually surprises the audience, it is the portrayal and development of character that makes this type of show addicting. Season nine of Hawaii Five-O dove into many of the characters, excellently rounding them out.

In particular, Junior was explored as a character. Throughout the season the audience learns more about the murder of his sister and Junior’s estrangement with his father. Junior heals and breaks, becoming a truly dynamic character.

However, the writers did miss one glaring and obvious chance for character development. In episode seventeen, Junior faces a moral dilemma; he is forced to obstruct information from the rest of the task force in order to protect the baby daddy of his ex-girlfriend. In a suspense-filled climax of the typical 43-minute episode, Junior has a chance to fire at the baby daddy and close the case. I won’t say if he or did not, but I will say that, regardless, this affects if this moment should have rippled through Junior in the episodes to come.

Furthermore, the writers were decisively cruel when it came to romantic relationships this season. More than anything, I believe that Junior and Tani should be together. These two complement one another perfectly, and yet, they always almost get together. My top three moments of this couple-that-isn’t include the swimming montage at the end of episode three, Junior buying Tani the “mermaid experience” she always wanted as a child, and the non-platonic slow dancing at a wedding.

Another broken romance in this season was Steve and Catherine’s. Catherine, a recurring character played by Michelle Borth, comes back briefly at the beginning of the season and stood as a reminder of how elated I am that Steve does not have another love interest. I was crushed when she once again left the show after two episodes, though she did leave a glimmer of hope for these two to once again become a couple.

Those two episodes were some of the most important episodes in the entire season not only because of the events that occurred during them, but also because of the way they tie in past seasons. A man named Omar Hassan is hunting Steve and his seal team from sixteen years ago because of an operation run off the books that eliminated a known terrorist, Omar’s father. This isn’t Steve’s first encounter with Omar, and it won’t be his last, either.

Moreover, these detrimental episodes not only set up one of the two overarching plots, but they also bring back the beloved recurring character Joe White (Terry O’Quinn). Unfortunately, thanks to these episodes, it is safe to say that Joe will not be making any more appearances throughout the show unless it is a flashback.

The other continuous plot involves characters who had played more minor roles up until this point. In the first half of the season, Tani finds a gun connected to the murder of Adam’s half-sister in Adam’s house right as he is returning to Hawaii after ending his marriage with Kono. Beware of plot twists.

I adore Adam. Everything about him. The acting. The actor. The character. The development. He goes through some tough times after he comes back to Hawaii, and I’m glad the writers found it moving enough to include. He struggles with alcoholism for a while until his friends set him straight and support him. This shows the common theme of “ohana,” family, that the whole show rests on as well shows a lovely bit of healing that Adam goes through. Later in the season, he helps a homeless man work through the same struggles he did.

Beside troubles with alcohol, Hawaii Five-O portrays and touches on many other social issues. The topics are tackled very tastefully and written in very well with the crime of the week. There is an excellent episode about the LGBT community and its struggling youth. Grover takes the lead in a beautifully hurtful episode about racism. Danny and his daughter Grace take the lead in a tearful and stressful episode centered around bullying and the harassment young girls face.

Additionally, I would have liked to see more Danny this season. I found myself missing his banter with Steve and the classic “Book’em Danno.” In fact, I felt like many characters did not get adequate screen time.

This got me thinking. Worrying, actually. Is there a chance that Caan, who plays Danny, is leaving the show? Upon further research, I found both wonderful and horrifying news. It is wonderful that all signs indicate that Caan will be returning. However, I went a little too deep and found out that O’Loughlin (Steve) and Ortega’s (Jerry) contracts are set to expire before season ten, and they may not return. The most horrifying part is that the writers set up the season finale so that either actor can leave the show with their character having an explanation for leaving as well.


Nevertheless, this season featured both very unique episodes along with “typical” Hawaii Five-O episodes. One of the more unique episodes revolves around a gun that had been used in countless cold cases, many of them connecting to members of the task force. In the midst of episode twenty’s crime, the characters flashback to when they had been involved with the gun in question which adds a little something more to the episode, therefore making it one of my favorites. I found the web weaved by the gun intriguing.

On the other side, a more classic episode is the Halloween episode. There is an extra creepy and macabre Halloween episode every season, and I enjoyed how Jerry was the lead in this season’s because I think his wits and expertise are unappreciated. Also, I love that some of the episodes featured cherished minor characters, such as the task force’s preferred coroner, Noelani Cunha (Kimberly Jonelle Balmilero).

Lastly, I loved, for the most part, all the recurring characters who made appearances this season. This includes the art dealer Gerard Hirsch (Willie Garson), Steve’s sister Mary (Taryn Manning), and the ex MI5 agent Harry Langford (Chris Vance). However, I really did not need the reappearance of Aaron Wright (Joey Lawrence), the cybercriminal. So rude. I hate that guy.

Aaron Wright aside, Hawaii Five-O is the holy grail of cop shows. The characters are as real and fascinating as the crimes. It is anything but typical, and I strongly recommend that anyone who wants a little bit of suspense, anticipation, and action watch it right away.