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Five-0 Redux

Hooking up a classic

Since its inception, “Hawaii Five-0” has been touted as a fresh, modern version of the CBS police procedural of the same name. The rebooted series was a faster paced, sexier, and more contemporary version of the original.

That’s not to say the classic, Jack Lord-driven, “Hawaii Five-O” was lesser than or in any way inferior to the new series. It was created for a different type of television viewer.

In our modern age of technological gadgetry, gone are the time-consuming scenes of police detection. Scenes like the one with Lord’s McGarrett spending hours with a pretty blonde clerk, using the eraser end of a No. 2 pencil to look through stacks of death certificates to find the one that would incriminate his target.

Now we have Chin and Kono working the magic table, Max deciphering clues via forensic medicine, and the Fonger analyzing everything from handwriting, blood, and hair samples, to decrypting cell phones, computers, and audio and video evidence. And we have not even begun to discuss the larger weapons, faster cars, use of helicopters, and team’s ability to take a punch or deliver a few jiu jitsu-style moves to the bad guys.

The reboot is definitely not your grandfather’s “Five-0.”

But this week’s episode, an update of the 1973 episode “Hookman,” was all about the reboot making it’s way back to its roots. And they choose a fantastic show to make that journey. After watching the original version online at CBS.com, the method they used to mimic shots, locations, and even lines from the 1973 script, written by Rod Baker and Glen Olson, were spot on. Former L.A. narcotics detective and “Five-0” writer, Joe Halpin, did a superior job not only staying true to Baker and Olson’s version, but including the appropriate character arcs of the contemporary McGarrett and crew into his update.

Halpin also made excellent use of current technology to heighten the tension of the procedural as well as to move along the pacing of the episode. This was another difference between the reboot and the original version, which took it’s time unveiling the intricacies of how actor Jay J. Armes, who played the original Hookman, could use a scissors, engrave gold plates, and put together his sniper rifle.

In the update, Jason Koger, a double upper amputee, stood in for Peter Weller for the close-ups of his prosthetic hands. Koger’s hands are not very hooklike, but watching what he could do with his prosthetics was still as interesting and fascinating as it was to watch Armes perform the same actions in the original.

(Weller played double duty, by the way, as both Curt “The Hookman” Stoner and as director of the episode.)

And even though the episode was amazingly close to the classic version, all the elements we love about the current “Five-0” were solidly in place. The cover and concealment discussion during the McKinney (Charlie Murphy) shoot out between Danno and McG was the right amount of manly bromance that fans just eat up. We got an excellent actual cargument during yet another slick car chase, with Danno actually wearing a seat belt, as well as explaining why he is the better police pursuit driver.

I hate to break it to you, Danno, but you will never drive that car as long as McG is your partner.

While the episode made great strides to stay close to the original, Halpin had to make some concessions for modern times. Max (Masi Oka) and Fong (Brian Yang) getting out in the field and helping to discover the actual trajectory of the Ookala (veteran stuntman and actor Norman Compton) shooting was a clever nod to updated forensics. And the method the Hookman used to kill the painter who walks in on him was taken into account, as Stoner’s limbs are not hooks, but actual hands. So instead of stabbing down on his victim, he crushes his throat instead.

Other scenes, like McGarrett arguing with Governor Denning (Richard T. Jones), were a replay of the same scene from the original, with a few additional tweaks. When McG and the Gov walked in the courtyard of the State Capitol, Alex O’Loughlin’s McGarrett doesn’t really hug it out with the Governor, like Jack Lord’s McGarrett basically does in the 1973 scene. And the ending shootout was similar, yet Kono got the kill shot on Stoner — in the original, it is Danno (James MacArthur) who takes out the Hookman. But both McGarretts try and draw him out by driving into his line of fire with their cool cars.

There was so much to enjoy about this episode — the storyline was updated believably, the character actors, the flashback into McG’s life, as well as the action and movement of the episode all made for a cool update. Halpin and Weller definitely hooked up the original to make it work for today’s modern audience.

It would have been nice to have Al Harrington in the update, as he played original Ben Kokua, but I’m not sure how Mamo Kahike could have worked in the updated episode. The Sgt. Duke Lukela character, played by Herman Wedemeyer, had a smaller role in the original version, unlike Dennis Chun’s Lukela, who had a bit more screen time. I definitely did not like it when the modern Lukela was shot — another deviation from the original — but I am optimistic he will return for more time in the reboot. I think Chun is a wonderful link between the classic and modern shows.

The teary ending was probably the biggest difference of the night. In the Jack Lord version, the episode ended with a close up of a strained but satisfied McGarrett. In the updated version, McG is visited by the ghosts of his past. The modern McGarrett cannot escape the “sins of his father,” nor can he shed the demons that haunt him about leaving his home and his family when he was shipped off at a young age and became a Navy SEAL. But by knowing that he made his father proud, as dreamlike as that may seem, perhaps now this McGarrett can find some kind of peace.

Redux Side Note:

Honolulu Star-Advertiser film and television reporter Mike Gordon wrote a very complete feature about the original writers of “Hookman” in Sunday’s newspaper.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

38 responses to “Hooking up a classic”

  1. I liked it too. Some people didn’t like Danny’s rant in the gun shop, but that was Danny being Danny, who was very concern that Steve about to go off and do something stupid,like getting killed. It was better that original.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Robin-
      There’s been a lot made about that rant. I agree it’s more Danny being Danny-I think Danny sees using a weapon as justified because he is a cop. But to Danny the gunshop owner isn’t justified because he isn’t using the weapons for a just purpose- like fighting crime. It definitely goes along with his character. Thanks for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

    • sapphiretaurus says:

      That was hardly better than the original. In the original, there was no anti-gun rant from Danno or anyone, as it had no place in the storyline and would have just plain silly. Steve and Danny were going to gunshop to question the owner about the sale of certain guns pertaining to the case and nothing more. There was no need for preaching, and that does make the original episode inferior to the new one. Danny being Danny on the new show doesn’t help the new show any. Danny comes across as whiny, immature, hot-headed, irrational, and disrespectful. He could have shown his concern for Steve in a more calm manner which would make him more credible.

  2. Dina says:

    This episode has to be my favorite of the season let alone a TRUE Procedural that really entertained as well. Wendie you never cease to amaze me with how you capture the feeling of the episode thru a “fan” eyes yet always the critical “eye” states what is great- or not so great! YEt this episode was stars all around for sure and an easy review this week for you- thanks as always

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Thanks Dina! It really was a good procedural. I was happy that it wasn’t full of red herrings which they seem to love to use! LOL And I loved how it was close to the original but updated enough for us “modern television viewers” to still get behind and enjoy:) Thanks so much for always reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  3. Diane says:

    Hi Wendie, great review, can’t add much to it. I did like that they had Steve talking about his friend Chelsea who was the daughter of the first officer that was shot. Gave us a little insight into his pain of leaving his friends and his sister, and a little guilt of not being there for them. Loved the ending scene when his father appears to tell him how proud he is of him.
    I have already read the hate on other sights of Danny complaining. I agree with the earlier statement, its just Danny being Danny, and he is the one you would expect to disagree. A little political gun debate keeping with the current situations was not overdone, and did show both sides. I wish people would get over it, Danny is who he is, and he’s not going to change, nor do I think he should.
    Thanks again Wendie for a great review, and for giving us a place to put our 2 cents.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      I agree Diane- I think it was along the lines of Danny’s character. He likes to complain a bit, and get his digs in– and he did in this one. I too loved the little bits of backstory we got about Steve. Very nice. Thanks for reading and commenting- you can post your “2 cents” here anytime:) Aloha, Wendie

  4. Linda Stein says:

    Wendie: I thought the did an excellent job in updating a classic. I was really impressed with the whole thing. It’s not an exact copy, of course. There were enough changes to make it current but still managed to convey the original story really really well. Alex totally rocked the emotional scenes and they even were able to get snarky Danny in the episode and make it fit. Yes…I was totally impressed.

    I really enjoyed how everyone got into the action. In the original Jack’s Steve was very much a lone wolf. He’s the one talking to the ME and the guy in the crime lab. He’s in the chase alone. The original was very much JACK’S show with everyone else playing 2nd fiddle. Our ensemble cast just flows so much better and makes more sense for a 21st century upgrade.

    As for the ending…I’m torn. I liked it from a sentimental point of view and I would have loved it in another context on another show but I don’t think I cared for it here. Steve sees dead people just is a bit hard to swallow and I don’t understand the purpose of it. It was great to see Steve and his dad on screen at the same time for the first time
    but …. I don’t know. Kind of ended a fantastic episode on a …huh? But STILL a fantastic episode!

    • Wendie Joy says:

      HI Linda- I thought the same thing about the “Jack” aspect of the original show, how he was the center of all the action- the rest of the crew just helped him along. But in the contemporary- McGarrett is surely central- but it is a team effort to solve the case. I really liked the ending, but I think it’s because I think it was more of Steve facing his past. For me, it wasn’t real and it wasn’t “seeing dead people” it was more like McG trying to reconcile his past and all that he regretted in his life. A lot of the episode dealt with McG dwelling on his past– and it seemed lovely to have him come to terms with it in the end. But I’m uber sappy– I love the sentimental moments in H50 much more than any of the action, or forensics, or car chases. But that’s just me. I can see where folks might want it somewhere else, but for some reason, I really liked it here. Better than the original which was just a close up on Jack Lord’s face. LOL thanks for the comments, they always make me think:) Aloha, Wendie

      • sapphiretaurus says:

        The closeup on Jack’s face at the end of that was not in correlation to it being “Jack’s show.” Steve McGarrett was in charge of the operation. He was the target of Stoner’s vengeance and had already killed three other officers who were involved in trying to arrest him when he robbed that bank years earlier. It was not Danno, Chin, Ben, or Duke’s personal fight, but it affected them because they work with Steve and Steve is their friend. Stoner was not going to kill them, but he was going to kill Steve. Steve is not going to sit quietly and let them happen, and he is the chief of Five-O, so it would not make sense for him to take a backseat and let his men do all the work. They all played their part. It wasn’t just Jack all the time, but he had to be in the center because Stoner was after him. Danno sho Stoner, and it was Ben who drove his car away from the building to distract Stoner and let him think they were leaving. He couldn’t let keep quiet and let his men get in harm’s way. It was normal to end each episode when the case ended, rather than have a sentimental moment. Steve McGarrett was in a race to save his life and those of the other officers targeted by Stoner. He was unable to save them, but managed to get Stoner in the end, hence the closeup of his battered face.

    • sapphiretaurus says:

      It was perfectly normal for a TV show to have one star who played the lead and everyone played around them. This was true for other cop shows like Ironside, Kojak, and Policewoman, westerns like Gunsmoke and The Virginian, and spy shows like Mission: Impossible. Jack was the one chosen to play McGarrett, he got star billing, and he co-produced the show, but he did not set out for it to be his show, nor does the way the characters are portrayed imply that. McGarrett led the investigations, and Danno, Chin, Kono, Ben, Duke, and the others each played their parts. They fit into the investigation with their own talents. Danno was the one who shot Stoner. He has the marksman background. It was Ben who drove away from the building to distract Stoner.It was not Steve all the time. He had to be leading this investigation because it involved him and not his men. Stoner was after him because he blamed Steve and the other three officers for his maiming. Steve is not going to sit tight and let him men do all the work when that could put them in danger and it he who is the target. Being a sitting duck doesn’t help.
      The ensemble bit on the new show is occuring because each of the cast members had more experience and longer resumes in acting than Jack’s co-stars, hence they could get more screentime written in for them in their contracts. Plus, in terms of the storyline, Alex’s McGarrett did not have a history with Stoner. His dead father did. He’s got to pick up where his father left off, and he cannot do it alone. This McGarrett goes into the story knowing less than the original McGarrett did. He is also younger and less experienced than Jack’s McGarrett, which would mean he could not take on the case like Jack’s McGarrett did.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great review Wendie, as always! I thought it was excellent! Alex’s range of emotions are incredible (and he doesn’t get enough recognition for his acting ability) – you could actually feel him controlling his wanting to cry over his father’s friends and when he told Danny about the daughter. I think it gave us a little more insight into his past, the loneliness and pain he felt. His face, when he saw his own photo w/those words and then not to tell his team, was powerful . And then seeing the shell casing! Hmm, do you think the team realized it was his pic he was looking at?? I’ve come to realize that Danny actually becomes more sarcastic when he’s afraid for Steve’s life, and to quote Steve, “I’m touched” because Danny was over the top last night. I think Steve will think twice before brining Danny to a gun shop again!! Peter Weller was excellent – he’s another one who said an awful lot with very few words. He was chilling in his methodical revenge. When he shot Duke (which I figured when I saw the photo – I really hope he’s ok and back real soon) – I wanted to shoot him myself. Kickass Kono was back and I’m so happy she killed Hookman (for Duke’s sake). It’s always enjoyable to see Kono and Fong together – loved her comment to him about not wanting his job cause she’d miss seeing him smile! I actually became emotional at the end when Steve saw his father and he said how proud he was of him. Even if it was in his imagination he really needed to hear those words from him. All-in-all a powerful episode. (Now I need to watch the original and compare the two!).

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Nice Karen, you reminded me of MORE of the scenes I loved in the episode:) Thanks! I hope you got to see the original- it’s really very well done. I think Lynnette mentioned the music- it is so good- really holds your suspense! Let me know what you think after you see it:) Mahalo for commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  6. Anonymous says:

    The picture of Peter Weller says Curtis Weller

  7. Amy Denton says:

    Nicely done review, Wendie, thank you for sharing it. It was totally NOT COOL to shoot Duke! The ending, however, was awesome.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Amy! I screamed at my TV when I realized that they had shot Duke! They call him “Loo-kay-lah” and my ears are not used to that, so I missed Kono calling Steve to tell him- but when I figured it out- I yelled “WHAT?” and had to rewind my DVR! LOL Really Duke’s last name should be pronounced “Loo-kel-ah” so whenever they talk about him, it takes me a second to realize who they mean! And that scene came so fast. Wow! I agree- NOT COOL to shoot Duke!
      And yes, the ending was awesome:) Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  8. Anonymous says:

    Excellent review Wendie.
    This ep was DYNOMITE all around. Duke has got to recover very soon. I also enjoyed Kono taking out the Hookman rather than Steve. The cast worked very well together. Glad to see more of the Fongman. I thought it would have been very cool at the ending credits to show Jack Lord saying “Aloha” like he always did.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Paul-
      Really liked this episode- except for when they shot DUKE! But overall it was a great ensemble show- everyone had an important role- it was so fun, and really a great ride. And I agree- a Jack Lord “aloha” ending would have been an awesome topper for the night. Mahalo for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  9. AWESOME review honey 🙂 made my day, i just finished watching the epi online & clicked directly on the link to this blog & i love how you took the epi event by event to show us your points of view about this awesome rebooted one, witch is not so far from my point of view 🙂 hope they do more reboots coz this one was A WINNER!!
    AWESOME EPI, AWESOME REVIEW a i was so touched by the ending, it was a bit dreamy, but so heart touching ^_^
    BIG MAHALO, for your time writing this one Wendie babe xox

  10. Terry says:

    Wendie, can you ask Dennis if he thought he would be doing a shirtless scene on Hawaii Five-0? ; )

    • Wendie Joy says:

      LOL Terry- If I get brave enough I’ll ask him. Perhaps he will comment here and answer your question for you:) I do know he hoped he “made the old gang proud.” I think Dennis and the rest of the cast really did! 🙂 Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this review, Wendie. As always, your insights (and the before-and-after photo above) add so much to each episode.
    Really cool idea to do an updated episode like this. And also pretty cool that the villain was played by the same guy in both. I noticed that the show’s title appeared at the beginning of the show and that it was in the same style of graphics that were used in the original show (gold block lettering and in “quotes”). Very nice. I was hoping we might see a clip or two from the original show or, as someone suggested above, a Jack Lord “Aloha” at the end, but that’s okay – it was still a very unique episode that was very well done.
    I think they should do at least one updated episode like this every season. There is a treasure trove of material from the original series to choose from.
    Thanks again, Wendie.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      I loved the lettering as well! It was a nice touch. Peter Weller played Curt Stoner/Hookman and directed the episode, while his prosthetic arm stand-in was Jason Koger. In the original version of “Hookman” Jay J. Armes played Curt Stoner/Hookman. Sorry if I made it seem as if Armes was in the reboot as well. Thanks for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  12. Bad_Wobot says:

    Well done again Wendy. This third season has been great with several really enjoyable episodes.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I viewed the original ep last night. As you pointed out they did a very good job of duplicating it with modern updates. It was really amazing to me how close that both eps were produced. The original show is a classic, and the new one will become another one as I understand that it has already been sold to syndication. Loved to see Lord floor his beast and drive it around the piers.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi again Paul:) I love watching the original- I love seeing my home as it once was and how I remember what it used to look like when I was a child. It’s SO different now. I also enjoy the reboot:) I think my most favorite part of season 1 was when Alex drove Jack Lord’s Mercury. Wow- that scene was a rush! Thanks for commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  14. Anonymous says:

    I viewed the original ep last night. As you pointed out they did a very good job of duplicating it with modern updates. It was really amazing to me how close that both eps were produced. The original show is a classic, and the new one will become another one as I understand that it has already been sold to syndication. Loved to see Lord floor his beast and drive it around the piers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The teary ending definitely had me – so nice to see the three police friends together, thanking McG the son. I do wonder why McG didn’t mention spending time with an officer who lived just down the street from his own house. This is probably my favorite episode of the season so far, due to its excellent update of a classic episode. Thank you for your review and analysis!

  16. Anonymous says:

    The teary ending definitely had me – so nice to see the three police friends together, thanking McG the son. I do wonder why McG didn’t mention spending time with an officer who lived just down the street from his own house. This is probably my favorite episode of the season so far, due to its excellent update of a classic episode. Thank you for your review and analysis!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great review, Wendie! Just remind me NOT to watch an original H5O before a new H50 reprisal? I had expectations that weren’t exactly fulfilled in the modern version, but all in all, I wasn’t disillusioned, just perhaps a little disappointed. I know if I had gone into Monday’s episode with no pre-conceived impressions, I would have listed Hookman 2013 as an all time favorite! I realize it needed to be modernized for the 21st century, and I do feel it was satisfying, just not stellar for me. I was primarily disappointed in the music – the original score for 1973 Hookman won one of the episode’s Emmys, and created some superb drama back then! This score was not as dramatic and downright changed the dynamic, especially in the opening scene.

    Also, I do not really understand the need to change the original location in which Steve and Danny learn about the maufactured bullet casings from a jewelry store to a gun shop. Although I have NO problem with the dialog, I just fail to see the purpose of it in this episode. I do not feel TPTB were attempting to proselytize their own gun control agenda, as both sides of the issue were presented, I just fail to see it’s importance in this particular episode!

    Lastly, “I see dead people” did nothing for me. Just a huge “huh?” moment. We’ve already had Danny seeing ghosts on Halloween (not one of my favorite eps.), and I saw no reason for Steve to imagine (which I am assuming was the case) his dead “uncles” thanking him for catching their killer, or his father shaking his hand and telling him he was all he asked for in a son (even though it was very nice to see Steve and John together on screen). There were other ways that could have been shown, or even not at all. A tight camera shot of Steve picking up the bullet casing with his name engraved on it, some thoughtful reflection on Steve’s face (which Alex did admirably), and Danny calling Steve to “come on” would have been a perfect ending for me.

    I’m not saying I didn’t like this episode. I haven’t watched one yet that I haven’t enjoyed! I promise I’ll wait until AFTER a reimagined episode airs before watching the original next time (I actually hope there is a next time, because even for everything that didn’t work for me, it was still a really cool idea!)

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Lynnette-
      I was okay with the “mystical” ending. For me, it really is a very Hawaiian concept to see or feel spirits from your past. And really Steve is not seeing “dead people” it’s not literal. If he did see dead people- he would see them as they were when they died- not as he remembers them all nice and clean and in their appropriate uniforms. That’s more spiritual than literal. For me, this is probably one of the strongest ties the show has tried to make to Hawaiian culture and our beliefs- which I really agree with for a show shot and set in Hawai‘i. I really hope they don’t get rid of that aspect. It is what helps set the show apart from others. Without that tie, they could rename the show and shoot it anywhere, because there wouldn’t be anything to really set it apart. Capturing more then just the spirit of aloha, but really the essence of Hawai‘i and Hawaiians- really helps put “Hawai‘i” in “Hawaii Five-0.” Aloha, Wendie

      • Anonymous says:

        See, and this is why I love your H50 blog the best! You can straighten me out why I don’t see the reason why some things are done the way they are on the show! When you put the whole last scene into the perspective of Hawaiian spiritual beliefs, it makes a whole lot more sense! Thanks,
        Wendie, I appreciate your knowledge on Hawaiian culture more than anything!

        • Wendie Joy says:

          LOL Thanks! So sorry, didn’t mean to make it a “school lesson” and I do get why it was a weird ending for you– when you’re watching a factual police procedural, and you get this mystical ending, it could be a bit jarring. But I really think that it’s what makes Steve a different character because he has these beliefs. Just me and just my opinion and how I look at it- but it’s why I think I am still watching the show:) Thanks always for sharing your thoughts and ideas- it makes me think about the show as well:) Mahalo! XO Wendie

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