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Five-0 Redux

Touch of death

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NCIS: LOS ANGELES Special Agents G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell) and Sam Hanna (LL COOL J) team up with Danny (Scott Caan) and Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) in Hawaii to track down a suspect who is threatening to release a deadly virus into the population. IMAGE COURTESY CBS

Welcome to a two-night crossover event. When the Five-0 Team joins with the NCIS agents from Los Angeles. This is not a new thing for a network to do—crossing over characters from one hit show to another. They did it with “Magnum P.I.” when Higgens got some help from Rick and AJ, of “Simon and Simon,” to find the woman who had betrayed the English manservant. Really it was CBS’s effort to save the floundering “Simon and Simon” and pair it with the extremely popular “Magnum P.I.” Perhaps I am dating myself, but when I think of crossover events on network television, I can only think of my favorite 80’s television show—which ironically, also took place in Hawaii. It would have made my blog if I could also recap a “Hawaii Five-O” crossover as that would have been extremely serendipitous, but the most I can recall was that Thomas called local cops “Five-O” and when he wanted information, he sometimes pretended to be “McGarrett of Five-O.” More recently the crossovers have been between a hit show and their spinoff counterparts like “NCIS” and “NCIS: LA,” and “CSI” and “CSI: Miami” or “CSI: NY.” You get the picture.

“Pāmake Loa” translated as “Touch of Death” is this week’s “Hawaii Five-0” and “NCIS: LA” crossover event. Of course, “Hawaii Five-0” has the Hawaiian title and “NCIS: LA” the English translation. Pāmake means fatal, disease, or to be near death, and loa is our word for “very.” So if you wanted to thank someone very much, you would say mahalo nui loa. Touch of death is a poetic translation of “Pāmake Loa.” For Five-0 the touch of death is small pox. Not really anything you want to touch, but definitely a dramatic way to describe a disease that attacks skin cells, like the smallpox virus.

The Five-0 Team, without McGarrett who is in Japan still tracking Joe White and the Shelburne question, work with Max and Fong to find out information about a Veteran who was found dead outside of his home covered in Smallpox lesions. As they try and figure out if the entire island needs to be quarantined and if Danny’s mosquito bite is actually a Smallpox macula, they find a few dead end suspects, one literally dead in his car and another in the wind—Dracul Comescu, played without any vampiric tendencies by Craig Robert Young. Danny checks out Dracul and makes a call for help to NCIS Special Agents G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Sam Hanna (LL COOL J) in Los Angeles.

Bringing the NCIS boys in helped drive the action as well as the humor, as we got a cranky cargument between Danny and Sam about proper car chase driving techniques. Danny seems to highly dislike taking driving instructions from former Navy SEALs. But I did like Sam’s advice to Danny to lose his bad habit of his clothing style and his naming of Danno’s ride—Winifred is seemingly perfect for his silver Chevy. I can’t see McGarrett driving a car named Winifred, perhaps Misty would be a better name for a McG car, but I digress. Kamekona and Sam’s “how much you lift” showdown was another nice moment of humor that was very appreciated as I tried to damp down my doomsday daydreams of an epidemic exploding on my island, real or imagined. I did like how the smallpox “trials” were held on Sand Island, which Kono was correct in calling “Quarantine Island.” Sand Island is now an industrial area where Matson and Horizon dock and store their shipping containers, but it once was a quarantine stop for incoming ships, and was also a Japanese Internment camp during World War II. But believe me, I would prefer that name to stay in history.

The metaphor of touch of death continued as the cast searched for Comescu at the International Market Place. I’m pretty sure I could have spotted the Chechen buyers just by their bad guy black uniforms among a sea of colorful bikinis and board shorts, but I suppose once an underworld European terrorist, you can’t shed your black suit, even when you are trying to blend in on a tropical island. I’m glad that Callen was the one who had the showdown with Comescu. If you don’t watch “NCIS: LA” then you may not know that Comescu’s Romanian family killed Callen’s grandparents and mother, and likewise, Callen and his crew finished off Comescu’s family. When Callen shoots Comescu before he can open a vial of Smallpox, and Sam asks him, “are you all right?” it had to do with Callen ending the feud with the Comescu Family and perhaps ending the constant threat that loomed over Callen’s head.

Even in paradise, Callen and the Five-0 crew are touched by death. Yet it seems their case is not fully closed. They still need to find the nine vials of Smallpox, and now there is more than just an island at risk, as the Team—both Five-0 and NCIS—head back to Los Angeles to find the vials and make sure death does not explode throughout the US.

Make sure you tune in Tuesday, May 1 to “NCIS: LA” to see how “Touch of Death” concludes in the City of Angels. And like we “Hawaii Five-0” fans like to say, “Be there, Aloha.”

Redux Side Note:

I hope you didn’t miss local actor and radio personality Devon Nekoba on Monday night’s episode as he was in the airport scene in “Pāmake Loa” as TSA SAC Myers where he took the Five-0/NCIS team to the flight evil Dr. Smallpox was booked. You can check out my interview with him about his experience on set with the “Hawaii Five-0” cast as well as the “NCIS: LA” guest stars.

Saturday, April 21, Taylor Wily hosted a WRAPUM party at Aloha Tower for Five-0 fans to walk the red carpet and take pictures with their favorite shave-ice man. Fiji and J-Boog, as well as “Hawaii Five-0” guest stars Cradle2Grave performed. Guest cast members Devon Nekoba and Karl Herlinger were there to meet fans and say hello to Wily. Local boy Herlinger is scheduled to appear in the season finale as “Toothpick.” The “Guys with Issues” podcasters James Mane, Jonny Sparkles, and Russel Kealoha recorded their show at the event, which will drop Tuesday, May 1. You can subscribe to them on ITunes. All in all, it was a fun night for fans to feel special as well as to meet Wily. You can see Brian Tseng’s pics from the event here.

(See photos from the “Hawaii Five-0” / NCIS: Los Angeles episodes here.)


Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama. Reach her on Facebook and on Twitter.

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  • definetly felt the loss of mcg in this one but it was super fun to watch. only awkward part was pre- ncisla when it felt like they fumbled thru without their lead. max at the magic table – awkward
    ect ect but it redeemed itself after that and was a majot rollercoaster ride! two thumbs up.
    and poor craig/dracul such a quick demise for such a major villain! cant wait for part 2

  • I liked the episode a lot and I do not watch NCIS-LA.  I just got the DVDs but I’ve only watched the first couple of episodes of season 1 so I don’t know the full story behind Callen and Dracul’s history.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the episode and can’t wait for tonight’s conclusion.  I could tell by the way G was reacting to the situation and the look on his face when he heard Danny say Dracul’s name that there is major history there.  And the way Sam asked G if he was alright after he shot Dracul spoke volumes about G’s feelings toward him. 

    But I agree with Joey..I missed Steve.  I am not taking away anything from the others. Scott, Daniel, LL and Chris did a fantastic job but I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for Sam and Steve to catch up on old Navy times or for Steve and G to bond and form a kinship over the fact that they have both lost their families.  Danny could have felt ganged up on with 2 SEALS around.  Yeah…it would have been a lot of fun…but they pulled it off very well without Alex. 

    Great review always.  Can’t wait to see how it all works out tonight!  Aloha nui loa!

  • Loved this episode, one of the best of the season! Scott, DDK, Grace, Chris and LL Cool J were great, so much so  I did not feel McGarrett’s absence at all.  Now, looking forward to Part 2 on NCISLA.

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