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Five-0 Redux

Best Episodes of 2013

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For the last “Five-0 Redux” of 2013, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and reminisce about some of the best episodes of “Hawaii Five-0” in 2013. This means we’ll be looking at the last half of season three and the start of season four.

While many episodes had terrific moments and memorable scenes, they may not have had the strongest storylines or lacked other elements fans love about the show. The episodes below were chosen because I felt they were great as a whole — the police procedural storylines were interesting, there were scenes with the entire Five-0 team (all of them, not just specific characters) and the episodes contained strong character development, awesome action and quality direction.

The "Hawaii Five-0" team continues to develop and grow as executive producer Peter Lenkov and his team work to improve the show that now airs on Friday nights on CBS. (Courtesy photo)
The “Hawaii Five-0” team continues to develop and grow as executive producer Peter Lenkov and his team work to improve the show that now airs on Friday nights on CBS. (Courtesy photo)

“Hawaii Five-0” has definitely grown over the last year. Many viewers reacted positively to changes executive producer Peter Lenkov made this season, including more character-driven storylines, the addition of McGarrett’s girlfriend, Catherine Rollins, to the team, as well as new series regular Chi McBride as Honolulu Police Department SWAT Capt. Lou Grover.

There have been some really great things happening on our favorite show so far this season. Here are five of the strongest episodes, in order by appearance from January through December 2013, that I believe qualify as the “best” of 2013.


Aired Feb. 4

There was a lot of hype surrounding this episode, and with good reason. Not only did “Hawaii Five-0” revisit its roots by recreating the 1973 version of the classic series episode of the same name, but they also brought in director Peter Weller, who played double-duty as the antagonist Curt “The Hookman” Stoner.

 The Hookman, played by Peter Weller. (Courtesy CBS)
The Hookman, played by Peter Weller. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Writer Joe Halpin took the 1973 script and brought it to a level modern audiences could appreciate, while still paying proper respect to the original.

Double upper amputee Jason Koger, who stood in for Stoner’s bionic hands, added realism to the storyline, which also helped the episode stay out of the realm of parody.

Stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente told me he worked very hard to recreate many of the second unit’s stunt scenes from the classic version frame by frame. Weller played the vengeful villain perfectly; we felt sorry for him for his injury, yet not so much that we liked him picking off Jack McGarrett’s police brothers.

The best part of the episode, besides watching the entire team work to stop Hookman from his ultimate kill (the son of the McGarrett he blamed for his amputation), was the ending. When the “ghosts” of McGarrett’s past return — his father, Keoki and Ookala — there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.


Aired May 6

While this episode seemed ripped from the headlines — the same week it aired, three women were found in Cleveland after being missing for 10 years — fans were moved by the realism of the storyline, as well as how the team went above and beyond to solve this heart-wrenching case.

Tip Gilbert starred as himself in the episode. (Courtesy CBS)
Tip Gilbert starred as himself in the episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Director Steve Boyum handled the difficult storyline with an even hand, and the story by Peter Lenkov and teleplay by Noah Nelson gave us a sense of solace, even with the death of the first captive, Amanda Morris (played with supreme maturity by Hawaii actress Kanani Rogers) and the kidnapping of little Ella Bishop (Mykayla Sohn).

Hawaii actors Jodi Jarvis and Brent Scott Dupuis played Ella’s parents, Joyce and Don Bishop, and veteran television actor Adam Lieberman and Hawaii actress Mia Adams played Amanda’s parents, Henry and Tess Morris. Both sets of actors showed pain and anguish without the need for melodramatic overacting.

While the episode dealt with a reality no parent would ever want to face, real-life father Tip Gilbert, who helped to pass the bill that instituted the M.A.I.L.E. Alert (“Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency”) in Hawaii, made a cameo with his motorcycle club and helped instill a sense of reality into the fictional storyline.


Aired Sept. 27

This episode gave me hope “Hawaii Five-0” was moving toward better development of existing character arcs and stronger storylines. While we were missing Kono, the team worked well together to save Catherine, and we were explosively introduced to McBride’s character. Coupled with a “Sunset on the Beach” screening that featured appearances by the stars and a concert by the Jonas Brothers, and this fourth season premiere episode was one of the year’s best.

Chi McBride, right, joined the cast of "Hawaii Five-0" this season. (Courtesy CBS)
Chi McBride, right, joined the cast of “Hawaii Five-0” this season. (Courtesy CBS)

The episode, written by Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz and directed by Bryan Spicer, kept us guessing. The carguments between Danno and McG were at their bromantic best, and the gun fight and helicopter appearance at the end showed the “Five-0” stunt team at the top of their game.

It also helped to introduce two new storylines for the season: the new slant to McG and Catherine’s relationship, as well as the working relationship with Capt. Grover. We also got a good glimpse at what was in store for Kono and Adam, and found out more about Wo Fat and his connection to McGarrett.

All in all, this was the best season opener since the series premiere.


Aired Nov. 22

This episode, written by Eric Guggenheim and Moira Kirland and directed by Allison Liddi-Brown, definitely deserves to be on this list, mainly because of the wonderful performance of veteran actress Carol Burnett, who guest starred as Steve and Mary Ann’s Aunt Deb. Yet the theme of ʻohana was so prevalent in this episode, even without Burnett’s appearance, this was a strong offering from season four.

Guest star Carol Burnett, right, with Alex O'Loughlin. (Courtesy CBS)
Guest star Carol Burnett, right, with Alex O’Loughlin. (Courtesy CBS)

While “Five-0” always tries to incorporate a feeling of family and friendship, this episode pushed those themes to the forefront. Starting with a Thanksgiving flag football game with most of the team, as well as the return of Mary Ann and her baby were all good reminders of how the idea of family is immersed within this show.

And no one will forget the touching serenade Aunt Deb blessed her ʻohana with in the ending scene. Watching Burnett sing on television was truly a delight for everyone.


Aired Dec. 13

I’ve written two posts about this episode, and yet I feel like I have only scratched the surface at how terrific this World War II-themed episode was for fans, veterans, and as a comment on history. Yet many, even 72 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, knew next to nothing about the internment of the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii.

Actors playing American soldiers watch over Japanese internees during filming of a WWII-themed episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Star-Advertiser File)
Actors playing American soldiers watch over Japanese internees during filming of a WWII-themed episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Star-Advertiser File)

Writers Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz, this time with director Larry Teng, created a storyline rich in meaning. It was not only a reminder of history, but also delved into McGarrett’s own past and family. The entire team got behind McGarrett’s unwavering trust in Korean War veteran and former Honouliuli internee David Toriyama (James Saito), but they also used their modern technology and know-how to clear his name and solve a 70-year-old family mystery.

As a bonus, we learned about McGarrett’s grandfather — who was also named Steven and died on the USS Arizona — and the love he had for his family and his country. Many fans found this episode to be very emotional, as well as educational, especially about internment camps. It takes a special show to expose their audience to a part of American history we may not be very proud of.

For me, this episode is the frontrunner for best of season four, as well as 2013.

While these episodes may not be your favorites, let’s keep our bromance alive and bicker like friends in the comments section below. If nothing else, I’m looking forward to the rest of season four, and hopefully season five!

Mahalo for your support this year. I wish you and yours a Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year).
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • As always Wendie, you have picked some of my favorite episodes to highlight. I completely agree with all your picks especially since you stopped at picking only five. I can’t argue with any of your choices so I’m just going to add one more.

    Olelo Pa’a – Apr. 15, 2013: This is one of my favorites simply because of Alex’s acting. It doesn’t fall into your above category because while it does contain great action scenes and exceptional direction this isn’t an episode which really developed characters (unless you want to count a look at Steve’s vulnerable side and his past as a SEAL) and of course there is NO team dynamic at all. But it’s one I go back and view over and over just to watch Alex act the hell out of the emotional scenes.

    There are those who will say they do not like this new season, haven’t liked Five-0 since Season 1 or even Season 2. But for me, while there have been stretches where I wasn’t completely thrilled with the story lines or with some of the characters I have to say that, again FOR ME, Five-0 continues to get better and better. This new season has been fantastic so far and I see it only getting better now that Kono is coming back full time. Also with Melanie Griffith coming for three episodes that means lots and lots of Danny. Danny and Steve commiserating over their mothers should give us all the bromance time we love.

    All in all I am very excited to see what’s in store for our favorite team in 2014 and well beyond. Mahalo for always being here Wendie to give us your wonderful insights to our favorite show!

    Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

    • Thanks Linda for always having a great comment to add to this. I loved ʻŌlelo Paʻa- wrote a few blogs about it as well- and trust me- it was hard not to include it- but I wanted to pick episodes that complimented the Five-0 Team- otherwise, there would be others on this list for sure. Thanks for adding in your thoughts. Iʻm with you- Iʻm loving this season a lot:) Excited for the ending of Season 4 as well. Thanks so much for all your support of the Redux! Aloha, Wendie

  • I have to agree with your five choices for favorite episodes, Wendie! These were all great stories and superb character development vehicles!

    It’s been tough, so far in Season 4, to get an episode with the whole team cameraderie (for obvious reasons), but that doesn’t mean the dynamics have deteriorated! Developing new dynamic relationships by decommissioning Catherine and introducing Grover added interest to a season of change – new day and time, new writers, a diminished role for Grace Park. The uncertainty as to what the future held left a lot of fans with big knots in their stomachs all summer, but as Season 4 has progressed, it’s obvious the producers, writers and actors figured out a way to improve what worked, and develop new directions to follow!

    With the second half of the season coming soon, and Grace returning to the team, all the elements will be back in place. Considering the improvements already established in the first half of the season, the second half should be outstanding!

    Although there have been standout episodes in each previous season, there have also been some real duds. So far in Season 4, each episode has left me feeling satisfied that I had just watched a quality program. Looking forward to the second half of Season 4.

    Thanks for a great retrospective today, Wendie!

    • I’m with you Lynnette- I’m SO looking forward to Kono’s return. Mostly, I want to know if we’re going to have Adam back with her! I know she will return, Chin won’t let her stay away for much longer I think- but I know she has to find Adam. Thanks for your comment and for always supporting the Redux:) Aloha, Wendie

  • Even though I agree most of the time with all your reviews, I can’t really take a fave five seriously when 3.20 is not in it or at least mentioned. Sorry, but that episode gave such insight into Steve and the whole show in general, to leave it out is almost a crime. 😉
    It had such great acting in an all around perfect episode.

    And I totally disagree with Ho’opio. That show would have been great if the subject of police brutality had been addressed in any way in the following episodes. The completely out of control Danny, as he was in many episodes, was never an issue, and what happened in this episode was not acceptable.

    The Thanksgiving episode was good, but I wouldn’t put it up into the fave five. Not by a long shot.

    4.01 was without a doubt the best opener so far, well maybe not counting the pilot. 🙂

    And let’s not even start with the brilliance that was 4.10, for sure one of the best episodes so far.

    My fave five from that time period in no particular
    3.20 – see above
    4.08 – because Jonas was a great villain, and he got away, and because of the team building seminar with McGarrett and Grover. That is a team with great chemistry.

    I hope to read many more of your great posts in the future. Have a wonderful New Year, and all the best to you.

    • Thanks for your comments Sam- I donʻt kept track of the episodes via numbers- I follow using the titles, so Iʻm not sure what episodes you are talking about except for a couple. My criteria was stated in the beginning of the post- I was looking at episodes as a whole- where the team worked well together and solved the crime- the procedural had to be strong, and the acting great, including stunts and filming. So “ʻŌlelo Paʻa” which was a fan favorite, didn’t make the criteria- as it focused solely on Steve and the team was cut in at the end. Not saying itʻs not a great episode, and one of the stronger ones, because it was. However- if I had not set some sort of criteria- I would have had a list of 50 instead of 5. So, there you have it. Thanks for weighing in. Aloha, Wendie

  • Wendie – What a fantastic idea to take a look back at the best of 2013!

    It’s amazing that you actually managed to pick just 5 episodes! I actually love so many episodes or even just single moments in them that I find it nearly impossible to choose only five eps. However, you’ve done a great job at selecting the best 5! Four of them are definitely among my favorite ones, too, and indeed stand out as whole episodes – for the reasons you’ve described so perfectly that I don’t need to repeat anything.

    The only episode I wouldn’t have chosen among my personal Top Five is “Hookman” because I found the guy a bit too creepy and also did not feel pity with him, to be honest. Him losing his hands was just a tragic accident and doesn’t, in the least, justify the murder of any cop who was unfortunate enough to be present during that accident – let alone the killing of the son of one of these cops. I did love the ending though with Steve meeting the ghosts of his dad and the other cops – definitely a scene that moved me to tears.

    Instead of “Hookman” I would have included ep. 3.20 “Olelo pa`a” (The promise)! This one clearly MUST be among the Top Five because of Alex’s excellent performance in it. I just love seeing the emotional side of Steve and, therefore, this episode was very special to me – and most likely to all the fans of Alex.

    There were also various “favorite moments” in other episodes which probably weren’t outstanding as a whole (episode) but would have made it extremely hard for me to pick the “Top Five”.
    Several episodes offered great bromance moments – for example Steve and Danno in custody court in ep. 3.14.
    There was also a lot of humour to enjoy, such as in the “Air Kamekona” scenes of ep. 3.19 or in the arguments between the “reluctant partners” Steve and Capt. Grover in ep. 4.08, or just recently in the first ten minutes of ep. 4.11 – which was, however, anything but funny after Chin got kidnapped.
    Last but not least, I think all of the female fans absolutely loved the super-cute scenes with the boys taking care of baby Joan in ep. 4.07 “Ua Nalohia” – which makes me believe that this episode could also be a fan-favorite.

    All those great moments really make it very difficult to choose just a handful of episodes out of so many terrific ones in seasons 3 and 4.
    Like you, I’m looking forward to more of this awesome show and hope for a couple more seasons for us to enjoy and exchange our mana`o about here on your wonderful blog page which is my favorite web place to visit every Saturday 😉

    • Thanks for the comment Angie- I had ʻŌlelo Paʻa on the list, but it didn’t meet my criteria as it focused mainly on McGarrett- I was looking at episodes that encompassed the team and where all of them worked together to solve the crime or where the entire episode was very complete with the team fully involved. So Episodes where one of the team pulls the focus I didn’t add to the list. Like the episode when Chin was dropped into Halawa was one I wanted- but it really focused on Chin. While there were moments I loved in some episodes, the procedural didn’t really cut it or was not as strong as others. Hookman was excellent in the way it was made– with all of the scenes replicated from the original– and even though McGarrett was the target– the entire team- including Max and Fong and Lukela worked to solve the case. For me Hookman was a win as a complete episode– stunts, acting, the team, filming, directing– all movie calibre. But I agree on your assessment of ʻŌlelo Paʻa- it was very well done and would be on the list if the entire team had gone with him to Korea that would have had it make the list. 😀 Thanks so much for sharing your ideas! Aloha, Wendie

    Aired Dec. 13 I think this was the best all around 5-0 episode . Great acting , Great story line and great special affects . Mahalo Koka

  • While I can’t say I’ve loved every episode over the past 3 1/2 seasons or every character (regular or guest star), I know I would have been hard pressed to pick 5 but I completely agree with your choices Wendie!! And while I loved all 5 of these episodes my top 2 favorites are Hookman and Ho’Nani Makua Kane. I have really enjoyed watching the character growth of the team as well as their emotional growth, especially Steve – Danny is a work in progress! The team had a hiccup this season with Kono’s absence and try as they did to keep the pieces matching, it just wasn’t the same. I’m really looking forward to her return and to the puzzle pieces fitting again!

  • Wendie, Wendie, how did you narrow it down? I agree, all were terrific. Watching
    ‘HOʻONANI MAKUA KĀNE’ with my 92 yr old WWII Vet dad was a great experience.

    The range of the cast on Five 0 always impresses me and I love where the show is going. I’m happy to have Catherine on the team (yes, I’m a McRoller) and Grover simply rocks. Thanks, as always, for the great redux. I’m proud to be a fan of a show that’s this good and that has a producer who is not only in touch with the fans, but very kind to us, and cast and crew member who are as well. Hugs from your “Jersey Sis” my friend!

  • that’s such a great review hun !!!
    lots of great memories 😉
    i wldnt be able to do it lol, because I love so so much a lot of episodes 🙂 lol
    i agree with you, and I LOVE all the episodes you sited 😉
    I would add 3.20 and 3.06
    I know u wanted to show an episode where the ENTIRE team is in the center and YES you’re right ! I just would add those 2 because I loved them so much, and to be honest I can’t choose between Hookman or 3.20 or 4.01 , all 3 totally different, but deeeear I loved them the same way lol 🙂 (or 4.10, ……. lol)

    anyway, an awesome review as usual 😉 they are ALL AMAZING episode I loved for totally different reasons : action, emotion, fun, … … all what H50 is 😀

    Mahalo Wendie !!! xxxxx

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