The ninth season of “Hawaii Five-0” is in full swing and continues to entertain fans, yet the need to stay ahead in the Friday night ratings game is still an important necessity for the veteran police procedural. Which is probably the reason why two major plotlines have gone through some serious changes in the latest episodes of the series — specifically about McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno’s (Scott Caan) fledgling restaurant and the end of Adam’s (Ian Anthony Dale) relationship with Kono (played by former series regular Grace Park).
Even after “Hawaii Five-0” dropped the characters of Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua from the overall storyline — the show has continued to endure. Despite all the controversy and the number of factors that led to Daniel Dae Kim and Park leaving the show — fans continued to watch.
While the show mourned the loss of Chin and Kono, it certainly bounced back with new characters, the elevation of a few recurring cast members to series regulars — specifically Dale, along with Taylor Wily, Dennis Chun and Kimee Balmilero — and a new storyline for McGarrett and Danno. The need for the “bromantic” duo to have something to do together seemed important when the show probably didn’t know what would happen after such a major shake-up within the cast. As fans love McG and Danno — even “shipping” the mix of their characters into the popular hashtag, “McDanno”— the idea for the two to open a restaurant together in the eighth season seemed perfect.
The other storyline that needed to be revised was the fact Adam would return to “Hawaii Five-0” without his wife (played by Park). The romantic love story of Kono and Adam started in the second season and sparked a Romeo-and-Juliet-style tale of forbidden love and heartbreaking separation. As Adam was the son of a yakuza boss and his business seemingly built on criminal elements, his relationship with Kono, a member of HPD and the Five-0 task force, was doomed from the start. Yet, despite all their trials, the couple married at the end of the fifth season — only to face even more trouble because of Adam’s yakuza past. When the eighth season began, Kono was off on the mainland continuing her work to shut down a huge sex-trafficking ring, and Adam began to do his own work with Five-0.
THE NEED FOR CHANGE
Because of the departure of Kim and Park, the need for change was inevitable. After seven seasons most shows just need to revitalize themselves in order to keep up momentum and ratings. Change is sometimes very good — and for “Five-0,” it was just what they needed.
At the start of the eighth season, the show quickly found two refreshing replacements for the departing actors by adding Meaghan Rath as Tani Rey and Beulah Koale as Junior Reigns. The new actors added a youthful surge of energy to the team, and they continue to help give the show an interesting dimension. Now veteran police officers like McGarrett, Danno and Grover (Chi McBride) can impart their years of investigative wisdom on the two rookies, as well as learn from their eager enthusiasm. It also helps with the humor and lightens the edge of cynicism that sometimes creeps into the characters and storylines.
Once Dale became a series regular, this allowed his character, Adam Noshimuri, to run an arm of Five-0 investigating organized crime. As Adam was once part of the yakuza until he married Kono, he was perfect for helping Five-0 with this kind of work. It also helped him pay his dues and allowed McGarrett to bring him on board as a full-fledged member of the task force when he returned this season.
One major plotline was added that fans seemed on the fence about — the introduction of a new business venture for the show’s heroes McGarrett and Danno. After the duo disarmed a dirty bomb in the seventh season, Danno confessed to McG that he wanted to open an Italian restaurant and retire from the dangerous business of being a cop. In last season’s opener, the two bought a space in Chinatown and embarked on opening an Italian bistro using all of Danno’s grandmother’s recipes. For McGarrett and Danno, fighting crime together is hard enough, adding business partners to the mix just became a recipe for disaster.
THE END OF ‘STEVE’S’
All through the eighth season we watched McG and Danno bicker, disagree and “monku” (Japanese and local speak for complain, or in Five-0 speak — “cargument”) at each other about the furniture, the interior design, the food, the menu, the keys and even the name of the place. Was it called McDanno’s Bar and Grill as Kamekona’s (Wily) shirts implied? Or was it Kamekona’s Italian Bistro as their silent partner suggested? Or was it Steve’s as McGarrett had wanted all along? We still have no confirmation on the actual name of the place.
Perhaps that was their biggest red flag — the fact their business was just called “the restaurant.” Like farmers who don’t name animals that will eventually feed their families, perhaps never naming the restaurant made it easier for them to sign away their ownership to Kamekona when they realized they needed to cut their losses.
The restaurant experienced far more downs than ups. Last season, Danno asked his Uncle Vito in New Jersey to help, which only made matters worse; the tools McGarrett used to fix the space were stolen; and they could not get a liquor license in order to open. Every person they met, and every friend near and far, warned them not to open a restaurant. They needed help — and Kamekona came to their rescue.
Kamekona swooped in at the end of the eighth season to save the restaurant, giving McGarrett and Danno enough money to end their troubles. This season started off with more promise and in the 200th episode the restaurant had a successful, if not costly, soft launch. By the end of the episode, McGarrett finally came clean admitting to Danno that what he really wants to do with his time is be a cop. “I got the badge. I got this great job. What am I doing running a restaurant, Danny?”
McGarrett admits that being a cop is all he knows now and he loves his job, and he doesn’t want to walk away from that. Danno surprisingly agrees, telling McGarrett that while he still doesn’t want to get shot at, he’d “rather die from a bullet than die from the stress of running this place.” So they both agree to allow Kamekona to buy them out. And just like that — they toast the end of their short, but passionate run as restaurateurs — knowing just when to quit.
Thankfully, the restaurant storyline ended because it was superfluous at best. Having Kamekona run the new place — which he actually called Steve’s in the Thanksgiving episode to the delight of fans everywhere — works so much better. Let McGarrett and Danno be cops, and let Kamekona open the doors for a new hangout for Five-0, as well as for their new friends from “Magnum P.I.”
THE END OF THE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS
No one is really surprised by the breakup of Adam and Kono. Long-distance relationships just do not work, and when one member of the couple is most likely never going to return — something has to give. So when Dale returned to the show after completing his summer series, “Salvation,” the time was right for Adam to announce the end of his marriage to Kono.
Really, they should have done this last season, but perhaps the showrunners thought they could still work something out with Park to make guest appearances. But the show probably has a better shot at bringing Wo Fat back from the dead. Park announced in September she was joining the cast of the ABC show “A Million Little Things” and that she was “good leaving the boys’ club,” according to an Entertainment Weekly article. So that’s that, folks, a big aloha oe from Kono.
It’s a sad ending to a beautiful love story — yes, one of conflict, bloodshed and deadly opposition — but the course of true love never did run smooth, to quote William Shakespeare. Since the moment Adam saved Kono’s life in the third season, and when she went on the run with him in the fourth season, their relationship was set. It turned into a huge struggle to stay together. From the yakuza wanting Adam dead to Gabriel wanting all of his money to Adam spending 18 months in prison — the couple never had it easy.
When they were finally settled and free, it was a shame it ended with Kono choosing her job over their marriage, and Adam realizing they just couldn’t make it work.
When McGarrett offered him an official spot on the team, it made for an interesting addition to the task force. An educated businessman who knows how to handle a weapon and understands organized crime can’t be a bad asset on a police task force, no matter that he is technically a convicted felon. I’m sure the governor has given him her blessing. The Five-0 task force has “immunity and means,” and that’s what makes all the issues about Adam go away.
Not to mention that McGarrett trusts him, and he has come through for them time and time again. The jury is out however on what will happen with the issue about his having the gun that killed Noriko in his possession. Let’s hope he and Tani find out who is trying to frame him before it blows up in their faces.
If nothing else, it will be a better storyline than any restaurant issues or lingering marriage problems.