This week’s summer repeat of “Hawaii Five-0” was a great reminder that even on a hit television show, a guest star can sometimes make or break an episode. Thankfully, what usually happens is that a guest makes the show even better, and in some cases becomes a part of the team. This season was no exception– the guests were great– and in some cases, just as beloved as our Five-0 favorites.
There were several well-loved guest stars that made the season seven list, some because of their star power, and others because of their stellar performances. This list is comprised of mostly “good guys”– guests who helped or aided the Five-0 team in some way. Don’t worry if your favorite is not listed here, some of our best guest stars made the “bad guys” list– and will be featured next week.
We first met former FBI profiler, Alicia Brown, in the second episode of the season, “No ke ali’i wahine a me ka ‘aina” (“For Queen and Country”). Brown is a retired behavior analyst who worked with the FBI for 15 years. Her specialty was profiling serial killers– even the one she blames for abducting her own daughter.
Forlani is famous for her film roles in “Meet Joe Black,” “The Rock,” and “Basquiat,” as well as her television roles, including recurring roles in “CSI: NY” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Her role as Alicia Brown is not a huge stretch for her, but I loved that there seemed to be a major secret behind her seemingly fragile demeanor. She worked well with series star Alex O’loughlin, and this lead to many fans commenting on their chemistry and speculating if Forlani might have been cast to play McGarrett’s next romantic partner.
While the romance did not come to fruition, the relationship between McGarrett and Brown was cemented after McG and Danno (Scott Caan) sought her out for advice and expertise to help them catch the “Chess-Piece killer.” At first, she turns them down, but slowly comes around when she starts to bring them information to help them with their case. In “He Moho Hou” (“New Player”), which was also this week’s hiatus repeat, she is pulled in even further when the Chess-Piece killer leaves her a dead body souvenir in her bed. Still, it wasn’t until “Hū a’e ke ahi lanakila a Kamaile” (“The Fire of Kamile Rises in Triumph”) where Brown and McGarrett figure out that their “Chess-Piece” killer of serial killers is police psychiatrist Dr. Madison Gray (Elizabeth Röhm).
Forlani returns a few episodes later to try and help Five-0 catch Dr. Gray in “Hahai i nā pilikua nui” (“Hunting Monsters”). Instead of “catching” Gray– Brown is lead to finding her daughter, Sienna abducted but alive, in a cabin in Wisconsin. Still, while the reunion allowed Gray to escape police capture, she does return to continue her torment of Brown. It is only after Gray threatens Sienna that Brown ends the threat of Dr. Gray– and her life.
This is the second time Forsythe has made the best guest stars of the season list. He returned in season seven to reprise his role as former HPD detective-turned-private-eye Harry Brown. Fans loved Forsythe in season five’s “Wāwahi moeʻuhane” (“Broken Dreams”), and were thrilled to hear he would be back in “Huikau nā makau a nā lawaiʻa” (“The Fishhooks of the Fishers Become Entangled”).
Harry is welcomed back by McGarrett and Five-0 as one of their own, but not before he is almost arrested in the lobby of Five-0 headquarters. Even as a friend of Five-0, HPD doesn’t take kindly to Brown, who fails to identify himself and the side piece he is carrying. Still, the team gets on board with his case of infidelity masked as a kidnapping. It’s Harry’s old school eye and Five-0’s technological savvy that help solve the case.
I think we like Harry because he seems to remind McGarrett about what his father was like, and perhaps what he would be like– if he had lived. I think Harry also confirms the team’s concept that “good old-fashioned detective work” can make or break a case. Sometimes the old school ways can take you farther than digital surveillance and fancy magic tables in an investigation. It was observation and knowledge of human nature that helped Brown figure out the case, and realize that just because someone plays the victim– doesn’t always make them innocent.
At first, it seemed that Petty’s role was going to be very minor. She was billed as Nurse Jenny Kitson, in “Weheʻana” (“Prelude”). She is the caretaker of a coma patient, Aheʻahe Makino (played by Hawaiʻi actor Crichton Uale), who Danno needs to protect from a drug dealer who wants Makino dead. Nurse Jenny as a strong woman, one who is not afraid of the threat of death and gunfire, and fights back with sheer nerve and a bit of sarcasm. She plays off an equally flippant Danno with a bit of fire and charm.
Famous for her film roles in “A League of Their Own” and “Tank Girl,” Petty easily endeared herself to Five-0 fans who enjoyed her snarky comebacks and desire to protect the comatose Makino at every turn. Even though she was not a cop, nor did she carry a gun, she bravely stood between danger and her patient throughout the episode. And like we love the Five-0 crew for always standing up for the most vulnerable, fans adored Petty who stuck by the same kind of rules– but as a nurse and protector of life.
While most of the guest stars on this list are ones who are famous before appearing on “Hawaii Five-0”, Abtahi is one of the few who many of us may not know– but should. Abtahi played Guantanamo Bay prisoner Naser Salaam in “He keʻu na ka ʻalae a Hina” (“A Croaking By Hina’s Mudhen”). Most of his story was told in flashback, in scenes between himself and McGarrett, who helped to capture and interrogate Salaam, after he was captured in Afghanistan. McGarrett shows him kindness and dignity during a time when Salaam was basically being tortured by the CIA. McGarrett is supposed to be following the CIA’s lead to gain intel from Salaam about various terrorist groups and insurgent activity. But McG still wants the terrorist to feel as if his beliefs and his life are worthy something.
The scenes between Abtahi and O’Loughlin are what make the episode. The two actors have to play two men who have been made enemies by their countries, two soldiers fighting for their own people and beliefs, yet they still can reach out to each other as human beings. While it is McGarrett’s actions of kindness that frame their relationship, it is Salaam’s want to return the dignity that McG showed him ten years earlier that bring the relationship full circle.
Salaam tells McG that there is a terrorist threat on O’ahu that could put those McG loves in danger. Salaam wants to show McGarrett the same respect that McG did when Salaam was first captured. It is a scary message that he relays to McGarrett, but not one without merit. Of course, Five-0 stops the attack after investigating Salaam’s warning, but we are all reminded that without a simple act of grace– no one would have been saved. It is a credit to Abtahi’s acting and the quiet strength he instills in his character that helped us to believe in Five-0’s subsequent actions. If I had a favorite guest star this season, it would be Abtahi.
OVERALL, the guests of Five-0 have been really superior. The episodes with these guest stars have had stronger storylines, and the actors have mixed really well with the series regulars. While guest stars have always added more dimension to “Hawaii Five-0,” it seems as if there were several this year who helped to strengthen the stories and action of the show.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Other guest star notables: Chris Vance as British MI-6 agent Agent Harry Langford; Rosalind Chao, who played newly elected Hawaiʻi Governor Keiko Mahoe; Kanya Sesser as Konoʻs former surfing rival, Rosey Valera; Christine Lahti’s real-life daughter, Emma Schlamme, who played a Young Doris McGarrett in the 150th episode; Missy Peregrym as Danny’s Sister, Bridget; and last but not least, the legendary Hal Holbrook as USS Arizona survivor Leonard Patterson.