Read Mike Gordon’s coverage in today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. Make him even happier and subscribe! Read Mike’s rundown on season 2 previews, his recap of the cast of characters and supporting cast, and also read Burl Burlingame’s review of the soon to be released season 1 DVD.
Who’s excited about the premiere tonight?!?
McGarrett starts in pokey with fresh faces on way
By Mike Gordon
Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly, Alex O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan as Danny “Danno” Williams in a scene from tonight’s season premiere.
“Hawaii Five-0” opens its second season tonight with an episode titled “Ha‘i‘ole” (“Unbreakable”). Steve McGarrett is in jail wrongly accused of murdering Gov. Jameson.
His partner Danno arrives one day with a surprise visitor to help out. The regular cast is all here — Alex O’Loughlin,Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park — along with series regular Masi Oka as Dr. Max Bergman, who gets promoted to the opening credits.
This episode is packed with guest stars: Terry O’Quinnas McGarrett’s one-time Navy SEAL mentor Lt. Cmdr. Joe White, Larisa Oleynik as CIA analyst Jenna Kaye, Taylor Wily as shave ice entrepreneur Kamekona, Mark Dacascos as the evil Wo Fat, James Marsters as terrorist Victor Hess, Richard T. Jones as Lt. Gov. Sam Denning and even William Sadler as McGarrett’s murdered father, John.
In future episodes, guest stars will include Oscar winnerPatty Duke as an Alzheimer’s patient confronted with the murder of her son. In a rare television appearance, Peter Fonda will play a con artist who poses as a treasure-hunting sea captain. Greg Grunberg of “Heroes” will play an immigration officer who monitors smuggling activities.
“Hawaii Five-0” airs at 9 p.m. Mondays on KGMB. See more photos from tonight’s episode at honolulupulse.com.
Firepower from Sizemore, O’Quinn boosts an explosive new season
By Mike Gordon
The promises are bold: more action, greater drama and powerful guest stars.
It seems that everything about “Hawaii Five-0” was pumped up for its second season. But the creators of the show — executive producers Peter Lenkov and Paul Zbyszewski — say it’s true.
“We can back it up,” Zbyszewski said. “We’ve seen the footage.”
Both men have had a hand in writing episodes for the new season and have watched with genuine awe as more than one wild dream became reality.
“The first few episodes had some pretty amazing sequences that you will not find on any other TV show on any other network,” Zbyszewski said.
But their designs on the hit show go deeper than that.
“We were thinking big with our stories as well in terms of our mysteries and making stories more compelling and more complex,” Lenkov said. “I think we have a lot of good twists and turns and surprising endings to these stories.”
During the break between seasons the “Five-0” creators recruited some serious talent, including actors in pivotal roles that stretch across multiple episodes.
Topping the list are Terry O’Quinn, who won an Emmy for his role in the global hit “Lost,” and Tom Sizemore, a Golden Globe nominee who has starred in such films as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down.”
The relationship between O’Quinn’s character, Navy SEAL Lt. Cmdr. Joe White, and McGarrett, his one-time student, created a new dynamic as the cameras rolled, Zbyszewski said.
“McGarrett has always been the guy with all the answers, who solves every problem for everybody like a superhero,” he said. “But to have him have a moment of vulnerability or even weakness and have to turn to somebody and say, ‘Hey I need your help,’ brings out something in his character that we haven’t seen before. And that’s refreshing.”
O’Quinn was always on the “Five-0” casting wish list. The creators knew he was a powerful actor but unsure what would actually happen between O’Quinn and Alex O’Loughlin. The O’team delivered.
“We were hoping for chemistry,” Zbyszewski said. “But again, you are writing in a vacuum, and until you see footage and chemistry, you don’t know if things will work. But we got lucky. Terry is amazing.”
Sizemore, who plays a police internal affairs captain named Vince Fryer, brings credibility, Lenkov said.
“He is a force of nature,” Lenkov said. “He is a really strong actor and somebody who can do a lot with very little. And he really fits the role. We created this character because we needed somebody to really stand up to Five-0, stand up to McGarrett. It couldn’t be someone who just physically stood up to him; it had to be mentally as well. And I think Tom Sizemore is an intimidating guy.”
Action, insights, extras tied up in neat little box
By Burl Burlingame
CBS has always packaged its legacy shows well, and the “Hawaii Five-0: The First Season” boxed DVD collection — available Tuesday — is no exception. Although the packaging is minimalist and functional, there’s plenty of extra stuff here for fans.
For everybody else the show’s oversaturated visuals and thunderous action sequences really crank on a DVD system with 5.1 surround sound. The digital transfer looks good, if a bit hard-edged.
The extras kick off with audio commentary overdubbed on the pilot episode by “Five-0” honchos Peter Lenkov, Len Wiseman and Roberto Orci. We discover, for example, that they were wondering whether Alex O’Loughlin could carry off playing a naval officer, and then, on the first day of shooting, he showed up in Navy dress blues, framed against the USS Missouri. One of the producers marvels that O’Loughlin appears so perfect that he “looks like a strippergram.”
Another laments that they never digitally erased O’Loughlin’s earring holes.
We also learn that fake mountains were digitally added in some shots to make things more Hawaiian-y, that “product placement, baby” is important, and that they were surprised by the amount of rain and wrote a fierce downpour into an early scene. Of course, the day they shot it, it was bright and sunny.
The audio commentary has these gossipy nuggets, of course. The real value is in learning about the real-life problems and constraints constantly facing the production team. Scott Caan was cast late, and every day O’Loughlin would cry out, “Where’s my Danno? Where’s my Danno?”
Almost every episode features deleted scenes. In the pilot the deleted scenes were fairly crucial, including an extended expository funeral scene that establishes McGarrett’s relationship with his sister and father and sets up the toolbox scene; a funny bit as Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) browbeats an underage shoplifter; and villain James Marsters swimming ashore after being shot.
Each of the six discs contains at least one featurette. “Legacy” is a short that links the new and old shows. We learn that “Five-0” is deliberately more of an action show than a stodgy police procedural and that Kim was the first major character cast, the shooting of his pilot scenes overlapping the last days of “Lost.”
“Picture Perfect — The Making of the Pilot” is about exactly that. The first table reading was videoconferenced from Hawaii with CBS execs on the mainland, and O’Loughlin and Caan met there for the first time. And Caan had a moustache.
“Grace Park’s Hawaiian Tour” is a short travelogue that incorporates hula in Kapiolani Park, Hawaiian grinds at Helena’s, stand-up paddle surfing and shave ice.
There’s a music video of the Hollywood stage musicians rerecording the theme music to modern standards — some musicians played on the original version way back when. They tried a guitar version, “and we could not have been more wrong,” said Alex Kurtzman. “You don’t mess with the theme song.”
“Inside Comic-Con” essays the cast and producers dipping their toes in the gigantic San Diego convention. They were unsure how it would play because the “Five-0” premiere was still several months away. True to ComicCon form, the audience was mostly curious about Grace Park — a fanboy fave from her role on “Battlestar Galactica” — wearing bikinis. Lenkov points out that “Daniel and Grace are pretty huge in the ‘genre world.'”
“Shore Lines — The Story of Season One” are quickie recaps of each episode, and a good way to get up to speed. Despite all the bang-bang, boom-boom, the theme beneath is always the concept of a surrogate family.
“Aloha Action” focuses on the kinetic show’s wall-to-wall stunts, courtesy of stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente, who earned an Emmy nod for his work here. We learn O’Loughlin loves action and stunts more than acting.
“Gag Reel” is the usual stuff of actors muffing lines and being charming. What’s clear is that the cast and crew are having a good time.
It winds up with the rather weak promo “Inside the Box,” explaining that the Champ toolbox is the series’ secret weapon, it’s MacGuffin. The writers just have to have clues fall out of the toolbox to gin up a new plot.
The DVD set is priced at $64.99, but amazon.com is selling it for $37.99.
Inside Five-0: Main Cast
By Mike Gordon
Actor: Alex O’Loughlin
A Navy SEAL, Lt. Cmdr. Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) returns to Hawaii in the season one premiere after his father, John McGarrett (William Sadler), is murdered by terrorist Victor Hess (James Marsters). McGarrett is recruited by Gov. Pat Jameson (Jean Smart) who asks him to head an elite task force — later to be named Hawaii Five-0 — that will operate outside the law in its search for criminals.
He soon discovers that his mother, who died when he was 16, was killed in a car bomb meant for his father, and not in what he thought was a car accident — and that his parents’ murders are related. Steve’s investigation leads to the arrest of yakuza crime boss Hiro Noshimuri (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and his first encounter with arch-villain Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos).
Wo Fat turns out to be the mastermind and had long wanted an end to the elder McGarrett’s interest in his criminal activities, the evidence of which is contained in a toolbox dubbed the Champ Box. But after the Champ Box is stolen, Steve mysteriously begins receiving items from the box that are clues to the truth.
After getting a skeleton key that was in the box, he realizes it opens a drawer in an antique desk in the governor’s office. He concludes that his father was killed because he was close to exposing Jameson’s connection to Wo Fat. But when Steve breaks into the governor’s office and confronts her, he gets Tasered by Wo Fat, who then calmly shoots Jameson and puts the weapon in McGarrett’s hand.
Arriving police book McGarrett for murder.
Season two opens with McGarrett doing cellblock push-ups in an orange prison jumpsuit. What happens next is the TV equivalent of being shot from a cannon. O’Loughlin considers it unconventional, dynamic television.
“The crime stories are really good, and all the stuff with Wo Fat is really exciting but the action this season so far is really huge,” O’Loughlin said. “I have jumped out of an airplane, galloped across Lanai on a quarter horse, driven a speedboat and scuba-dived to 200 feet. There are all kinds of things happening.”
The show’s creators have generated an almost breathless pace.
“The guys keep delivering the material, and somehow here in production we keep delivering the performance,” he said. “It has taken a lot. We have worked a lot of hours. We have worked some weekends but I think it’s worth it. Hopefully everyone will feel the same way.”
Actor: Scott Caan
Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan) was a New Jersey cop who moved to Hawaii after his ex-wife Rachel (Claire van der Boom) relocated to the islands with their daughter and her new husband. He met Steve McGarrett in the first episode during his investigation of the elder McGarrett’s murder.
McGarrett convinced Danno to join the “Hawaii Five-0” task force by telling him the unconventional job would allow him to make Hawaii a safer place for his daughter.
Working in Hawaii is a tough fit for Danno, who doesn’t like the ocean and the state’s laid-back sensibilities. He insists on proper procedures and the belief that the uniform of police authority is a dress shirt and tie. He doesn’t surf and would prefer a baseball game to a hike in the tropical wilderness. And, at least initially, he didn’t like his ex-wife. When she called his cellphone, the ringtone was the shriek from “Psycho.”
What he does like are malasadas and Coco Puffs from Liliha Bakery.
Danno has a younger brother, Matt Williams (Dane Cook), a Wall Street broker who visited him in Hawaii. But Matt was on the run from federal agents and forced his brother to ignore that so he could escape.
Unknown to everyone on the task force except McGarrett, Danno reconciled with Rachel, and she told him, as the season ended, that she was pregnant with his child and was leaving her husband to return to New Jersey. Danno said he would go with her — but that was before McGarrett ended up in the slammer in need of the team’s help.
Danno apparently won’t be pining for his ex for too long. Autumn Reeser, from “Entourage” and “The O.C.,” has been booked on the show as a love interest.
Because the show is already successful, the addition of several recurring characters in the second season lends more creative flexibility to the stories on “Five-0,” Caan said.
“I think what they are doing is trying to expand the show as much as they can because you are not going to lose what we already have,” he said. “And the idea would be to make the show bigger and have more people for other people to fall for and enjoy and be excited to watch.”
New cast members also challenge Caan’s acting skills, he said.
“As much as I like working with everyone I did last year, doing a show like this, it does feel like the same old characters,” he said. “So it’s somebody else to play with. And everyone so far has been super-cool. I hope they keep adding characters. It keeps things fresh.”
Actress: Grace Park
As season one began, the greenest cop on “Five-0” was young Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), who was recruited for the team by her cousin Chin before she even graduated from the police academy.
Kono was a professional surfer but had to leave the circuit after she blew out her knee. She decided to become a cop.
With “Five-0,” Kono was often tapped for undercover work that drew on her beauty, but she could kick butt, too.
Her private life remained private throughout the season. Her story arc included a sense of loyalty, strong family ties and a few naughty texts sent as bait to a bad guy. She often challenged her cousin’s ethical decisions.
But her trust in those around her got her arrested as the “Five-0” task force was disbanded in the season one finale.
During the first five episodes of season two, Park gets to really dig into her character in a way she wasn’t able to last season.
“I’ve really enjoyed exploring the other side of Kono and her life without ‘Five-0,'” she said. “The weird thing is, we don’t give away so much about what she is going through, but you know she is going through something.”
Weirder still, Park doesn’t know what’s going on, either. So she guessed.
“She is probably asking herself a lot of questions that Chin asked himself when he was going through his scandal,” Park said.
“I think where we started going by the end of last season, where we explored the story line of each individual character, that is a story line you can keep exploring,” she said. “I think it’s fun because it’s available, and that’s pretty limitless because that’s the entire world of drama.”
Actor: Daniel Dae Kim
Chin Ho Kelly
Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) was working as a security guard when he met Steve McGarrett in the very first episode. They immediately realized they had several connections: Both were star quarterbacks at Kukui High School, and McGarrett’s father was Chin’s mentor when he joined the Honolulu police force.
Chin explained to McGarrett that he was dismissed from the force after being accused of stealing $200,000 from the police department’s asset forfeiture locker. Steve didn’t care and enlisted Chin for “Five-0.”
The stolen money, though, was really taken by Chin’s Uncle Keako (Sab Shimono), a police officer whose wife, Auntie Mele (Elizabeth Sung), needed an expensive but lifesaving kidney transplant. Chin knew this and took the rap for his uncle. After Auntie Mele died, Chin’s uncle confessed to the crime. Chin tried to keep the lie intact, but the police brass didn’t believe him and reinstated him in the season one finale.
For the new season, Kim wants the show’s creators to build on the solid foundation created last season — and give his character a bit more action. (Wink, wink.)
Chin did have an awkward meet-up last season with his ex-fiancee Malia, a doctor played by Reiko Aylesworth, who is due to return in the new season. Tune in to see whether that relationship will be rekindled despite the bad blood between Kono and Malia.
“I think what I would like to see this season is more of an exploration of Chin’s love life and for Chin to get involved in some more physical action,” Kim said. “He’s more cerebral than some of the other players on the show, and I would like to see him mix it up a little.”
Relationships with more depth not only will enhance the story arc, but will attract new viewers, Kim said.
“I think if we can make the character stories more complex, intertwine the procedural element with the personal stories, then I think we will be able to draw in a viewer we didn’t have in the first season and keep the ones that were loyal to us from the start entertained,” he said.
The new actors recruited to the cast have injected energy into the show, but how that will play with fans remains to be seen, Kim said.
“It’s a good question and one to which the answer won’t come forth until the episodes air, I think,” Kim said. “If we do it improperly, then it will seem like our brand is becoming diluted. But if we do it well, I think it enhances us.”
Inside Five-0: Supporting Cast
By Mike Gordon
Actor: Terry O’Quinn
Lt. Cmdr. Joe White
As the Navy SEAL who trained McGarrett years earlier, Lt. Cmdr. Joe White is a tough, wily veteran who arrives in Hawaii in the first episode of season two to help his old friend.
He’s played by Terry O’Quinn and will be a recurring member of the “Five-0” team.
O’Quinn played John Locke on the popular ABC series “Lost,” which also filmed in Hawaii, and said he’s still learning what his new character is all about. His goal is to create a realistic persona.
“I like the fact that he is steely but doesn’t have to be Clint Eastwood,” O’Quinn said. “I think he can be a guy who can also just be a guy. When you meet a lot of people in the military, they don’t all walk around looking like they can chew on barbed wire, but they will do whatever they’re asked to do.”
The new role reunites O’Quinn with fellow “Lost” alumnus Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Chin Ho Kelly. Kim said his friend brings “class, professionalism and a sense of relaxed ease” to “Five-0.”
“I think Terry has a very strong sense of who he is and what he brings to the table,” Kim said. “He has a great way of setting an example without consciously trying to.”
Surprisingly, not everyone on the “Five-0” set had heard of O’Quinn.
“I didn’t know who Terry was because I wasn’t a fan of ‘Lost,'” said Grace Park, who stars as Kono Kalakaua. “I got a glare shot my way because I didn’t jump up and shake his hand when I met him. Then we started doing a read-through, and he is very good and I thought, ‘Uh-oh, who is this guy?'”
Actress: Lauren German
Assigned by Lt. Gov. Sam Denning (Richard T. Jones) to make sure the “Five-0” team follows the rules, Lori Weston is a former Homeland Security officer with solid profiling skills.
The recurring character is played by Lauren German and will first appear in the second episode of the new season. Her new character is a hard-working professional who’s smart, German said.
“I get thrown into the mix, and McGarrett has no say in the matter,” she said. “McGarrett is like, ‘Who is this person I have to work with now?’ It was fun playing that dynamic.”
Her character has also been described as a potential love interest for McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), but German is still waiting for her first kiss.
“I’ve been here for 2 1/2 months, and nothing of the sort has come up in the scripts,” she said. “Alex and I are … just buddies on the show, which is great because I feel it will allow me to stick around longer.”
Actor: Masi Oka
Dr. Max Bergman
The city’s quirky coroner, who likes to play the piano in his morgue, will have an expanded role in season two investigating cases for the “Five-0” team.
Played by Masi Oka, the character of Dr. Max Bergman is the designated science guy, but his manners are so odd, he always provides comic relief.
“What I like about him is the surprise,” Oka said. “He’ll say things that are completely unexpected.”
Oka has been talking with the show’s writers in the hopes they will like his ideas about Bergman — he can’t reveal them yet — and how to expand the character.
In the first episode of season two, fans are going to learn more the coroner than they knew last season. The show will even take viewers to his home — in Kalihi.
“There are a bunch of things I pitched the writers, and hopefully some of the stuff they loved,” Oka said.
Inside Five-0: Also Starring
By Mike Gordon
Actor: Tom Sizemore
Capt. Vince Fryer
Tom Sizemore, who has worked with the likes of directors Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, will have a multi-episode story arc as Capt. Vince Fryer of the Honolulu Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. A former Detroit homicide detective, Fryer goes head to head with McGarrett.
What’s that like for Alex O’Loughlin? He loves it.
“I’m a young actor, and he has a career I admire and he’s very, very good at what he does,” O’Loughlin said. “He keeps me on my toes. And one of the things I like about Tom is, we go toe to toe on this show. And I’m not scared and neither is he. When we are both firing on all cylinders and working on that, that is when the really interesting things happen.”
Actor: Richard T. Jones
Lt. Gov. Sam Denning
After Gov. Jameson was shot dead in the season one finale, her right-hand man had to step up. Enter Lt. Gov. Sam Denning, played by Richard T. Jones, who had recurring roles in the TV series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Girlfriends” and “Judging Amy.”
The show’s creative team has hinted Denning is a more conservative governor who doesn’t necessarily approve of the way “Five-0” does business. In the season two premiere, expect him to demand more oversight over the team.
Actor: William Baldwin
Frank Delano was a Honolulu homicide detective kicked off the force for corruption. Played by William Baldwin in a multi-episode story line, he belongs to a group of dirty ex-cops. Baldwin, younger brother of Alec, starred in the Ron Howard film “Backdraft” and more recently had roles on the CW’s “Gossip Girl” and NBC’s “Parenthood.”
Actress: Daniela Ruah
NCIS Special Agent Kensi Blye
In a first for “Hawaii Five-0,” a character from another CBS show, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” will appear in an episode. Kensi Blye, who is played by Daniela Ruah, will show up later this fall.
The actress said she welcomes the chance to work with a new cast.
“It doesn’t feel odd at all,” she said. “In fact, it is really, really fun … because if you are working with the same people on the same show for so long, obviously a little bit of variation once in a while is always welcome.”
Actor: Mark Dacascos
An ex-Chinese agent turned international arms dealer, Wo Fat has no allegiances and no qualms about playing both sides of a conflict. He is portrayed by Mark Dacascos, who brings a lethal menace to the role.
“You know, Alex is a fantastic McGarrett, and so to be a worthy opponent, Wo Fat has to bring it,” Dacascos said. “He’s an agent from China. He’s got skills. He is smart. So, yes, I am trying to give him that razor-sharp edge.”
Wo Fat continues his evildoing ways in the season two premiere, and as he has already proved by gunning down Gov. Jameson, he’s not afraid to personally take care of business.
Actress: Larisa Oleynik
CIA analyst Jessica Kaye, who’s played by Larisa Oleynik, arrived late last season to help “Five-0” hunt down Wo Fat. The arms dealer killed her fiance, a CIA field agent, and she helped the team get close to him. Kaye cements her position in the “Five-0” family in the season two premiere, but watch for her in the game-changing shocker at episode’s end.