26 September 2023

Hawaii Five-O, Seasons 1-7

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Directors: numerous including Paul Wendkos, Richard Benedict, Hershel Daugherty, Alvin Ganzer, John Peyser, Charles S. Dubin, Seymour Robbie, Jack Shea, Paul Stanley, Michael Caffey, Abner Biberman, Via Vision Entertainment.

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

It’s been more than five decades since it was first released, but Hawaii Five-O was instrumental in ushering in a thrilling new era of television police-action drama. Leonard Freeman created this police procedural TV series that premiered in 1968. In fact, it was the longest-running crime show on American television until Law & Order surpassed it in 2002!

Now you can relive the Five-O enthusiasm from the iconic ocean wave that opened each episode to the flashing blue lights that closed them with the first seven action-packed seasons of Hawaii Five-O available in the one pack from Via Vision Entertainment.

This 43-disc collection includes the feature-length pilot movie Cocoon that started it all. Also included is a special featurette, Emme’s Island Moments: Memories of Hawaii Five-O. Originally broadcast in 1996, this program features interviews from the cast and crew, as well as, a special tribute to the lead actor, Jack Lord.

The show’s focus is on a fictional state police force led by former US naval officer Steve McGarrett (Lord), a detective captain, who is appointed by the Governor, Paul Jameson.

The cool-as-ice Detective McGarrett and his second-in-command, Danny ‘Danno’ Williams (MacArthur) lead the charge as they crack down on crime while relentlessly pursuing McGarret’s nemesis – the sinister Wo Fat.

This is the primary of a two-part analysis. The first three seasons (reviewed this week) see new crimes, new criminals and new corruption confront the elite federalised task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the islands sun-drenched beaches.

Out on DVD: Jack Lord 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.

Cocoon is episode 1 (of 24) in Season 1. Season 2 (with 25 episodes) opens with a guest-starring role for Loretta Swit after the brides of three GIs killed in Vietnam turn up dead. Harry Guardino is a soldier with a murderous grudge which is uncovered by the hard-working Five-O team. In episode three, McGarrett discovers the real threat after fear spreads through Hawaii after rumours of an imminent tidal wave. The villainous Red Chinese agent Wo Fat has kidnapped a renowned geneticist (Will Geer) and plans to use the scientist’s discoveries to create a superior race. After a gullible research scientist (Charles Aidman) disappears from his important government post, McGarrett encounters resistance from federal agents when he attempts to uncover the mystery.

The 24 episodes in Season 3 have a wide-range of storylines. It opens with swift moves by Five-O to prevent a threat against the kidnapped daughter of a surgeon (Donald Moffat) who is to operate on a wounded U.S. undercover agent. In an attempt to trick McGarrett, a woman (Vera Miles) falsifies evidence linking two murders. She wants him to re-investigate the homicide charge that had her husband convicted. Gary Collins also guest stars as the woman’s lawyer/accomplice, and local television personality/pitchman David ‘Lippy’ Espinda appears as the bartender. Part 1 of The Grandstand Play in episode 23, sees the son of a professional ball player (Pernell Roberts) reluctant to tell his father or the authorities about being a witness to a murder at a ballpark. This episode features footage from an actual Hawaii Islanders game and cameos from Hawaiian personalities Tim Tindall (as the tennis instructor), Les Keiter (as the baseball announcer) and Granny Goose (as a building landlord). Action-packed conclusion shows McGarrett racing against time to find the boy before the real killer does.

What a stirring trip down memory lane!

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