Some say it takes a big man to show you what love and strength are all about. While many would say this is more metaphorical– it also describes the “Hawaii Five-0” character Capt. Lou Grover, played by the incomparable Chi McBride. Grover is a big man at 6’4” and he has a genuine heart, which he often shows in the most unlikely moments. From his first episode, the season four opener— when he literally peeled off his pants and walked in his undergarments to knock on the door of a hostage situation– he has continued to peel off his layers and reveal his true emotions.
Grover is an ex-Chicago cop, who was the head of HPD’s elite SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Unit until he was forced to retire. He joined the Five-0 Task Force at the end of season four. His fall from grace happened after his daughter Samantha (Paige Hurd) was kidnapped by the hacker Ian Wright (Nick Jonas) and Grover was forced to steal a SWAT tactical vehicle in order to save her. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the Five-0 Team help Grover try and get her back– and after he was forced out of HPD, offer him a place within the task force. Since season five, McBride has been a series regular, and fans quickly embraced him and his big-hearted character.
In season eight, Grover seems to have taken the two young ones– Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath) and Junior Reigns (Beulah Koale)– under his wing. He has taught them the ways of old-school detecting and shared the wisdom of his many years as a cop in Chicago as well as his years doing undercover work, to help “the kids” hone their investigative skills. He is always one to help his team– even breaking down a wall to save their lives. Grover may be the king of one-liners, but he is also someone everyone wants on their side in a shootout, a takedown, and on a golf cart. We’ll just ask him to perhaps leave the lime green golf shirts at home.
With his big smile and hearty laugh, and his penchant for shedding tears whenever the situation strongly moves him, Grover is well-loved by fans. They also enjoy his family dynamic– along with daughter Samantha, and his wife, Renee (Michelle Hurd), Grover’s son Will (Chosen Jacobs) has been in several episodes, as he dates Danno’s (Scott Caan) daughter Grace (Teilor Grubbs).
While his family is supportive of his work with McGarrett and Five-0, they also know what it’s like to have a father who is a cop– even though this time, he wears an Aloha shirt rather than a bulletproof vest to work. Renee is always by his side, supporting him, and giving him a kick in his backside when he doesn’t do what he needs to do, as a father and a husband. We all remember her reaction to his Valentine’s Day faux pas, as well as what Grover looked like in a blue velvet suit paired with his golf shoes. .
At the start of season eight, Grover had Samantha face Aaron Wright, (Joey Lawrence), the brother of Ian Wright who kidnapped her in season four. He wanted Samantha to see that they had arrested Wright so she would not be afraid of anyone named Wright any longer. Perhaps it was to soothe the nightmares of her kidnapping, or perhaps it was to show her that her father would protect her no matter what. But it also shows how much Grover knows that hiding from your past and not being able to face it head on can traumatize you more than the event ever will.
Fans not only love how much Grover protects his family but also how much he interacts with his son about his relationship with Grace. He always has a suggestion for how to handle women for Will, and it’s darling how Will reluctantly listens to his father’s sometimes out-of-touch nuggets of advice. When Danno dreamt of Will and Grace’s wedding day, Big Daddy Lou was all smiles and happy that Will was about to marry his teammate’s daughter. While it was Danno’s dream– it certainly seems like a future Grover can get behind.
In season eight Grover and his family faced a few demons from their past, yet it was Grover’s dramatic confession of suicidal thoughts that was one of the biggest hurdles he had to face. In “O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia” (“What is Gone is Gone”) Grover tries to get a suicidal Brad Woodward (Devon Sawa), who is accused of murdering his wife, to give up his gun. Grover understands what the tormented man is going through. He reaches out to save Brad’s life, as he’s been there before.
Grover opens his heart and tells Brad the tale of his own walk toward suicide. “Suicide is not a rehearsal. Death is final. You pull that trigger and there’s no rewind, man. You will have thrown away your whole life in one split second mistake,” Grover tells Brad. He tells Brad that when he was a cop in Chicago, he was negotiating with a man who was holding his two-year-old hostage, but the guy killed himself and his own child while on the phone with Grover.
Grover blamed himself for both deaths–especially that of the child– and found himself drinking too much to ease the pain, and one day when his wife and kids are out of the house, he takes his gun and attempts to try and shoot himself in the heart. But Will unexpectedly comes home and Grover’s plans are interrupted. His tearful yet honest confession– causes Brad to give Grover his gun. Grover promises Brad that he is not alone, just like Grover realized when Will inadvertently stopped him from ending his life.
While Grover has always been tormented about what happened in Chicago with the death of the little boy and his brush with suicide, it was one of the reasons he decided to pack up the Grover family and bring them to Hawaiʻi. It may have been a dark time in his past, but it eventually led him to Five-0.
It seems as if Grover certainly enjoys his career with Five-0– especially after what happened in Chicago, and the aftermath of his accusing his former Chicago PD partner Clay Maxwell (Mykelti Williamson) of murdering his wife Diane (Kim Wayans). In season six Grover decided to take his investigation into his own hands. He returned to Chicago, in “ʻUmia Ka Hanu” (“Hold the Breath”), to confront Clay and get his confession. While many fans thought the episode went overboard with its brutality, Grover does it to find justice for Diane and to save Clay’s girlfriend LeAnn (Jonell Kennedy) from the same fate.
But his old city (which ironically is where the actor got his nickname from– he was born and raised in Chicago) doesn’t support his investigation into his old partner, so finding evidence to convict Clay of Diane’s murder is difficult to find. But while Clay is in prison, he organizes a hit on Grover and his family and it is his Five-0 friends who save him. If nothing else, it does solidify that he belongs in Hawaiʻi with McGarrett and Five-0.
Yet it wasn’t until season eight that Grover finally got the evidence to convict Clay in “Kama’oma’o, ka ‘aina huli hana” (“At Kama’oma’o, The Land of Activities”). Grover is called to Florida to meet death row inmate Sebastian Wake (James Frain), who has requested to have Grover witness his execution. When Grover visits Wake to try and find out how he possibly knows him– Wake promises to give him the evidence that would prove Clay Maxwell killed his wife. But Grover can only get the evidence– if he will ask the warden to delay Wake’s execution.
Grover fails to get it delayed and leaves to head back to Hawaiʻi, frustrated by the fact that he was so close to perhaps proving Clay’s guilt. But as he is leaving the prison, a guard gives him a note that Wake left for him. It is a map that leads Grover to a box of mini audio tapes. The tapes are recordings of Wake’s conversations with Clay and all the evidence Grover needs to prove he had been right about Clay killing his wife.
Grover’s first call is to McGarrett, tears streaming down his face, telling his friend: “We got him.” While it was Grover’s tenacity that moved them to catch Clay, he knows that without the help of McGarrett and his Five-0 ʻohana, that moment of triumph would not be worth shedding any tears.