27 September 2023

Hawaii Five-O, Seasons 1-7

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Directors: numerous including Jack Lord, Bruce Bilson, Douglas Green, Charles S. Dubin, John Peyser, Alf Kjellin, Via Vision Entertainment

Cast: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong Chun, Gilbert Lani Kauhi

Out on DVD: James MacArthur co-stars in the television police-drama series Hawaii Five-O that premiered in 1968. The 43-disc collection of the first seven action-packed seasons are available in the one pack from Via Vision Entertainment.

Created by Leonard Freeman, the 1968 television series Hawaii Five-O was shot on location in Honolulu, Hawaii and throughout the island of Oahu and other Hawaiian islands with occasional filming in locales such as Los Angeles, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Jack Lord plays Steve McGarrett whose tousled yet immaculate hairstyle, as well as his proclivity for wearing a dark suit and tie on all possible occasions, rapidly entered popular culture. While the other members of Five-O ‘dressed mainland’ much of the time, they also often wore local styles, such as the ever-present Aloha shirt.

McGarrett and his team chased international secret agents, criminals and organised crime syndicates plaguing the Hawaiian islands.

The heat is on in Season 6 as the Hawaii Five-0 team takes on some of the Aloha States most notorious and baffling criminal cases involving murder, the mob, espionage and kidnapping.

As McGarrett and Danny Williams (MacArthur) recover from their transplant in Season 7, a vigilante begins killing serial killers and leaves their bodies on Five-0 property with ivory chess pieces in their mouths: the first is found inside Five-0 Headquarters at Iolani Palace, and the second is found inside Lou Grover’s (Chi McBride) car.

Both seasons in this collection again feature some top names in guest acting roles.

First episode in Season 6 sees a double amputee setting out to avenge the loss of his hands by killing every law enforcement officer who contributed to his maiming. Jay J. Armes guest stars. Morton Stevens won an Emmy for his score to this episode.

Slim Pickens and Bo Hopkins guest star in anything but a One Big Happy Family. This household of serial killers, have left a trail of death on the mainland, start a new wave of terror when they reach Hawaii.

Jack Lord goes behind the camera in Death with Father to direct his first episode. A retired narcotics agent’s (Andrew Duggan) son (Peter Strauss) is suspected of manufacturing heroin. Episode 24 sees a stylish jewel thief and master of disguise (David Wayne) evading McGarrett and then sends the Five-O chief an invitation to his next performance.

Episode 7 in Season 7 sees a cattle baron (Leslie Nielsen) seeking revenge when one son (Perry King) says another was killed. Bruce Boxleitner also guest stars. An autopsy in episode 8 reveals that the victim of a gangland slaying led a double life. Jessica Walter, Sam Elliott and Abe Vigoda guest star and real-life Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi has a cameo.

Lord directs another episode titled How to Steal a Masterpiece. Thieves break through three security systems to steal art from a millionaire. Gail Strickland, George Voskovec and Luther Adler guest star.

Other interesting episodes include a heroin smuggler being slain before he can sell information to the police. Ed Flanders, Bruce Boxleitner and Jo Ann Harris guest star.

In Hit Gun for Hire, McGarrett is out to stop a gang war by hunting down a hired gun. Sal Mineo and Tommy Sands guest star. In The Hostage, McGarrett clashes with a police captain over Five-O’s handling of a murder/kidnapping. Linda Purl and Scott Brady guest star.

Most episodes of Hawaii Five-O ended with the arrest of criminals and McGarrett snapping, “Book ’em.” The offense occasionally was added after this phrase, for example, “Book ’em, murder one.” In many episodes, this was directed to Danny Williams and became McGarrett’s catchphrase: “Book ’em, Danno.”

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