After seven years of “Hawaii Five-0,” many continue to credit series star Alex O’Loughlin as the reason behind the success of the show. The Australian actor has helmed the reboot of the classic police procedural since the series start, playing the iconic commander of the Five-0 task force, Steve McGarrett. As “Hawaii Five-0” has lasted going on eight seasons with O’Loughlin at the helm, it’s not hard to see how much the viewers love O’Loughlin.
Fans admire his ability to play McGarrett as a deeply complex man who is often conflicted between what is right and what can get the job done. A Navy SEAL and Commander in the US Navy, McGarrett comes to work with the Honolulu Police Department, after the late Governor Jameson invites him to start a special task force. With the help of Detective Danny Williams (Scott Caan), his father’s former trainee Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), and rookie police officer Kono Kalākaua (Grace Park), the newly formed Five-0 task force solved their first case when they help McGarrett find his father’s, John McGarrett (William Sadler), killer.
With their Governor-approved immunity and means, Five-0 has continued to work to protect the islands from drug and human traffickers, terrorists, the Yakuza, and other big time villains that seem to want to give paradise a very bad name.
O’Loughlin, who was most famous for his two short-lived dramatic series, “Moonlight” and “Three Rivers” before joining the cast of “Hawaii Five-0,” has called Hawaiʻi home since moving to the islands in 2010. He fully embraced kamaʻāina living early on– often frequenting popular local restaurants and night spots, learning to surf, and working out with Hawaiʻi Jiu-Jitsu champion and mixed martial artist Egan Inoue. After the end of season four, O’Loughlin married local fashion designer and model, Malia Jones, a little more than a year after she had given birth to their son, Lion.
Still, while O’Loughlin is the most popular cast member of the series, it is his relationship and his obvious ease with his fellow actors that make the show work so well. So when fans were asked on the Five-0 Redux Facebook page what was their favorite Alex O’Loughlin episode– the responses were not surprising. Many fans could not choose “just one” episode, instead, they commented on O’Loughlin’s personality and their personal admiration of the talented and versatile actor.
Fan Kim Stavish said it best: “There are so many amazing episodes that highlight all the many facets of Alex’s talent that I can’t single out one specific episode. I laugh when Steve is being comical, cry when he’s hurt or sad, and he tugs at [my] heart when he is caring and loving to his ohana. You can really see how much of himself Alex puts into every scene he performs. The compassion and dedication that is seen in Steve, I feel is an extension of Alex himself,” wrote Stavish via the Facebook page.
The episode that fans commented about the most was the 100th episode, “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”), which aired during the fifth season of “Hawaii Five-0.” Fans loved seeing an alternate version of McGarrett’s life as if his father has not been killed and every member of the Five-0 Task Force was on a different path in life. The episode was epic in scope, as it not only was a reunion of sorts as many characters were brought back from the dead, but it also brought an end to the Wo Fat storyline after McGarrett kills him in a modern version of a duel to the death.
Emily Shultz, from Sandy Ridge, North Carolina, wrote about the 100th episode in her response on the Facebook page. “I have many favorites, but one [of them] is the 100th episode. This was so beautifully done. The acting and the final battle with Wo Fat, and the end where Danny tells Steve about his dad [being dead]. The whole thing, especially the parts where Steve was hallucinating, was so emotional. We have all wondered “if perhaps” and The Five-0 [team that] Steve imagined was great. In reality, all of them lost something dear. Steve’s father really is gone, Danny and Rachel are divorced, and Chin was forced to leave the police department because everyone thought he was a thief. That’s what makes it such a great show. You can really relate to the characters. They each have their secret pains. And they face them together,” wrote Shultz.
Cheryl Frick Moreland from Honolulu wrote via the Facebook page, “This is what a very dramatic episode and Alex really [got] to show every type of emotion and go through so much. His acting [in this] episode was beyond amazing. He really showed the depth of his acting skills and emotions to make this the best. It was so emotional that I actually cried,” shared Moreland.
Susan Stiers also wrote about the strength of O’Loughlin’s acting. “The first one to come to mind is “If Perhaps.” Alex was phenomenal [in] an emotionally complex, as well as a physically demanding, storyline. I was quite blown away by his performance,” wrote Stiers.
Nadezhda Miloshevska of Macedonia wrote, “Absolutely [my favorite] is the 100th episode. [This] episode awakened [a] range of emotions that I cannot explain with words. From the moment Steve was hallucinating and had trouble [connecting] fantasy with reality– to the wonderful ending when the Five-0 [team coming] to the rescue. When Steve asked about his father and Danny had to tell him his father [had been] dead for a few years, just broke my heart. The way he trusted Danny and all that display of emotions between the two of them [was] just perfect. It made me cry,” wrote Miloshevska.
Angela Gerstner of Munich, Germany sent me a message about her favorite Alex episode. Gerstner heads the “Alex O’Loughlin Fans for Organ Donation” Facebook page and is an admin on the Five-0 Redux Facebook page. She also wrote about the 100th episode, as well as the season six finale, “ʻO ke aliʻi wale no kaʻu makemake” (“My Desire Is Only For The Chief”) which featured a storyline close to her heart– organ donation. “My top-favorite episode is definitely the 100th episode because of Alex’s excellent performance and the episode’s main focus on Steve. “Inā Paha” was full of strong emotions for Steve – and Alex is simply brilliant and absolutely ‘rocks the screen’ when he gets to play emotional scenes. There were other episodes I loved, [including] the Season 6 finale – [mainly] because of the writers’ brave decision to incorporate the rather unpopular topic of organ donation. Seeing Danno save Steve’s life by donating part of his liver to him, made many viewers aware of the benefits of organ donation. The storyline with the organ donation might actually have been Alex’s idea because he’s been an ambassador for organ donation since he played a transplant surgeon on his previous show [‘Three Rivers’],” wrote Gerstner.
Another episode that really showcased O’Loughlin’s talent was “ʻŌlelo Paʻa” (“The Promise”) where McGarrett heads to North Korea to find the remains of his best friend and SEAL brother, Freddie Hart (Alan Ritchson). Susan Morrell of Park City, UT wrote about how the episode “always touches my heart. The range of emotions that Alex expresses about his friend displays the depth of his acting abilities– for which he doesn’t get enough recognition. I love that Freddie points out how Steve and Catherine (Michelle Borth) have something special, [which] convinces me we’ll see them together again. And I love how it ties back to the Pilot. The final scene at the gravesite brings me to tears every time, especially when Steve sees his Five-0 family standing there. Alex is an incredibly gifted actor,” wrote Morrell.
Gail Weaver Robertson from Virginia wrote about a season four episode, “Makani ʻOlu a Holo Mālie” (“Fair winds and following seas”), where McG and Catherine head to Afghanistan to find the son of a man who once saved Cath’s life. Their rescue plan goes awry as the Taliban capture Steve and almost behead him. “When he comes home alone from Afghanistan, all beat up, and [Catherine] calls to say she’s staying, adding emotional pain to his physical pain [was tough]. The depth of his expressions, the grief in his voice– when he told her he loves her [and] the camera pulls back to show him alone– my heart broke for him. Fabulous acting by Alex,” wrote Robertson.
Sally Amelotti of O’Fallon, Missouri, wrote about the season five episode, “Hoʻoilina” (“Legacy”). This was an episode “where Steve reopened a cold case that his father was unable to close. He [meets] Ellie Clayton (Mirrah Foulkes) when he [is] at his father’s grave site, learns who she is and finds out about the case his father never solved. His love for his dad is so deep in this episode. He dug and left no stone unturned to give Ellie closure and to close a case that his father never did. He wanted to honor his dad. I love how [his face] shows his love for his dad and he still can help him even though he is gone now. [He’s an] exceptional actor,” wrote Amelotti.
All in all, fans had a lot to say about their favorite actor in their favorite episodes. Many fans said over and over again how much they love the fact that O’Loughlin can do humor as well as he can do sadness and tragedy. His talent is not just his ability to be physical or fight or shoot a gun. His acting talent is amazing, as he can make us feel several different kinds of emotions each week, in each episode and storyline. It’s no wonder fans will continue to love “Hawaii Five-0” and tune in each week.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
August 24 was Alex O’Loughlin’s 41st birthday. In honor of his special day, Angela Gerstner and the “Alex O’Loughlin Fans for Organ Donation” Facebook page is having a birthday campaign for the “Five-0” star’s birthday. As O’Loughlin is a Taylor’s Gift Foundation spokesperson and advisory board member, all of his birthday donations will go Taylor’s Gift.
The Foundation works to increase organ donor registration, provides resources and knowledge for organ recipients and donors, through “Taylor’s Place.” They also support those touched by organ donation through the Legacy Gift program.