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'Hawaii Five-0' stars promise even more thrills and drama

The hit series kicks off its third season at Sunset on the Beach

By Steven Mark

LAST UPDATED: 9:50 p.m. HST, Sep 23, 2012

“Hawaii Five-0” kicked off its third season tonight in true Hawaiian style — with the beauty and warmth of the ocean, sky, breezes and beach matching the spirit and exuberance of the fans and actors.

An enthusiastic, international crowd of thousands gathered on the beach at Waikiki to cheer on the stars and executives of the show, who in brief comments provided hints of a season that promises even more excitement and emotional drama than the first two.

In last season’s cliffhanger finale, each member of the crime-fighting team faced a crisis: Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) discovered that his mother was still alive after believing that she was dead for 20 years, Danny Williams (Scott Caan) was considering whether to leave the squad to be with his daughter, Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) was racing to save his wife and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) was tied up and dumped overboard at sea.

O’Loughlin, whose fans were among the most vociferous in the crowd, said his character is “evolving” in his relationship with his mother, portrayed by Christine Lahti.

“We have a lot of issues,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff for all the characters to deal with on a personal and emotional level.”

O’Loughlin praised the writers and CBS for scripts that continue to “go back to character for us.” 

“It’s so easy for a show, especially one that becomes a hit, to just go straight to procedural and they just do their thing … and it’s the crime of the week. They don’t do that. They keep filling us with great new back stories and character stuff.”

An Aussie, O’Loughlin said it was great that so many Australians came out for Sunset on the Beach at Waikiki.

“I love hearing the accent. I’ve been away from home for a long time now,” he said, but he warned his female fans that “my lady (Malia) is here, she’s pretty ferocious now and she’s eight months pregnant.”

Kim, who spent part of the summer doing charity work for Malaysia and Singapore, said his character will face some “big decisions” this year.

“I think Chin Ho started in a place where he was searching for family, and now he’s found it,” he said, adding that it was good to take a break after the drama of last season. 

Michelle Borth, who has been “promoted” to a series regular this season, said she is excited to show off more martial-arts moves. She portrays Navy Lt. Catherine Rollins, the romantic and crime-fighting partner of McGarrett, but so far has been relegated mostly to bedroom and office scenes.

“For this season it’s a lot of fight scenes, a lot of taekwondo,” said Borth, who’s taken up surfing since moving to Hawaii. “You just feel like a female version of McGarrett. And then we have some insane elaborate setups, explosions, helicopters and cars, like out of a film. It’s bigger and bolder.” 

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