CBS’s “Hawaii Five−0” is a remake of the original cop drama, titled “Hawaii Five−O” (1968−1980). Currently nearing the end of its second season, “Hawaii Five−0” exhibits a level of drama that seems out of place within the peaceful and appealing landscapes of Hawaii. The opening sequence of each episode is basically an homage to the beauty of the state, showing sweeping jungles and deep blue oceans. More than anything else, the show is a testament to the wonders of Hawaii.
The blatant ‘travel−advertisement’ spin doesn’t stop the show from being entertaining in some respects, though. While there is nothing particularly original about the concept, the script contains some hidden gems of humor, which lead to interesting character development. Chief among these characters is Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), a Navy Seal who has dedicated his life to finding out why his parents were murdered. After all, what would a procedural crime drama be without a sub−story involving a riveting tale of vengeance?
With the permission of the Governor, McGarrett forms an elite task force of cops called Five−0 to stop the major crimes that seem to be happening on a daily basis in Hawaii. Season one provided convincing development for all characters involved. Danny Williams (Scott Caan), a New Jersey cop who relocates to Hawaii in order to be with his daughter, instantly butts heads with McGarrett over the case involving Steve’s father. Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park of “Battlestar Gallactica” fame) is a cop who just graduated from Honolulu Police Department academy but somehow manages to be on the same level as the more seasoned agents around her. Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) is Kono’s cousin and is sort of the rebel of the group, completing the image with his very own motorcycle.
In the first season, these characters interacted in a realistic way, allowing for natural friendships to build up, such as the one between Steve and Danny. Unfortunately, season two recycles plots and grasps at straws to find intriguing crimes for each episode. The first half of this season was wasted on a plot involving Kono becoming a dirty cop, which just fizzled out once it was revealed that she was actually a double agent the entire time. The crimes she witnessed and had to take part in as part of her cover are never mentioned again, and the delicate frame of mind she appears to be in after her undercover work is completely ignored.
Guest stars abound on the show, with appearances from stars like Masi Oka of “Heroes” (2006−2010) and “Lost’s” (2004−2010) Terry O’Quinn. Even James Caan, of “The Godfather” (1972) fame, guest starred in a recent episode. However, familiar faces don’t make these characters more interesting. Masi Oka has been playing Dr. Max Bergman since season one, but only in the most recent episodes has his character been fleshed out at all.
The show’s formulaic crime−of−the−week style is like any procedural cop drama, but its Hawaiian setting gives it the chance to feature interesting snippets of information that would not be present in other shows. Pieces of history about Hawaii and the island culture are surreptitiously slipped into the script, which helps to fill out the lackluster plotlines.
The saving grace of the show is the banter between McGarrett and Williams, which is undeniably helped by Alex O’Loughlin’s face. Each actor has definitely shined in previous roles, so it seems odd that the acting in “Hawaii Five−0” can be stilted and unemotional. Hopefully, that comes down to the scriptwriters and not the actors. The show is aesthetically pleasing to watch, but if realistic crime dramas are your thing, then this show should probably be avoided. “Hawaii Five−0” doesn’t attempt to be realistic. It’s flashy, over the top and, occasionally, clever enough to keep watching.