Actor Ian Anthony Dale turned what should have been a four-episode arc into one of the most romantic and beloved characters on “Hawaii Five-0.”
The storyline featuring Kono Kalākaua and Adam Noshimuri had us hooked from the moment we saw them share a sexy shower interlude in season two. Fans loved watching their relationship move into near-Shakespearean territory as Adam, son of a Yakuza boss, fell in love with Kono, a cop and member of McGarrett’s Five-0 task force.
I spoke to Dale a few days after “O Kēlā me Kēia Manawa” (“Now and Then”) aired on CBS when he was a guest on the “The Amy and Friends Show,” which airs Mondays and Fridays at 2 p.m. HST on KPRP 650 AM. Blogger Amy Bakari and I recap “Hawaii Five-0” every Monday, and Dale was gracious enough to speak to us about his role as Adam, as well as his newest project on TNT, “Murder in the First.”
“It’s been one of my most favorite roles that I’ve ever gotten a chance to play, and I hope it continues for the life of the show,” he said. “It’s certainly been a lot of fun working on ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and particularly with Grace.”
Kono started off on the opposite side of Adam, but obviously opposites attract. Dale said their on-screen chemistry has more to do with mutual respect and friendship than anything else.
“(Grace has) been a great partner and it’s always a pleasure to work with her,” said Dale. “We’ve spent the last two years working together and getting to know each other, and once you develop that relationship and that rapport and that friendship, it just makes working together that much more enjoyable.”
We spoke at length about “O Kēlā me Kēia Manawa,” and Dale shared his experience shooting a dramatic scene where Kono finds Adam “lovesick” and (falsely) bearded, washing dishes in a diner in Canada.
I told him that it was very rewarding to see them find each other and that he was alive, as viewers were not sure of his fate when he was taken away by Sato’s men in “Kupuʻeu” (“Fallen Hero”).
“We knew we had an opportunity to create a really heartfelt scene together, one that could be compelling,” he said. “We both agreed that it needed to be emotional in order for the audience to have the payoff that they were looking for.
“The majority of ‘Hawaii Five-0’ fans wanted us to get back together and find each other and have there be a happy ending. So in order to satisfy the audience, we had to take it to a really genuine emotional level. Even though we were crying, it was tears of joy in this situation. Grace did a phenomenal job; my opinion is when we shot that scene, that was the best work she has ever done in my presence.
“It was a great moment, it was a great connection, and I’m happy it turned out really well. I hope it provided the payoff that the audience was looking for.”
Dale added the way their storyline played out was “better than getting a bullet in my head,” since he was only supposed to be part of the show for a short time.
“When I first started … I thought I was going to be in four episodes and that’s it, and look what it became,” he said. “I’m happy and fortunate that I have gotten to do so many. As long as the ‘Five-0’ ʻohana want me around, I’ll happily oblige.”
Kono and Adam have faced a number of trials and tribulations in their relationship. I asked about Adam rescuing Kono in the season three opener and what it was like to save her life. Dale said it was a very intense experience, but was quick to give credit to the “amazing stunt team led by Jeff Cadiente.” He said despite being out in the middle of the ocean, he felt very safe with all the water safety teams surrounding them.
“Those scenes are really intense,” he said. “They allow actors and humans to connect due to the intense nature of those scenes, so it helps with our character arcs because it really felt that you went through a very trying experience together and only you two have shared that experience. So it was really helpful in allowing Grace and myself to embody these characters and give the audience a couple they could root for.”
While Adam started off as a bad guy, deep down he really is a good guy. He’s been stuck in a moral conundrum between his business and his family lives — his father, the Yakuza, and his love for Kono — and where they are going. Bringing in Adam’s brother, Michael (Daniel Henney), added another major twist to his character.
“I like Adam being a good guy,” said Dale. “When Adam kills Michael to save Kono’s life, that was the moment when the audience decided to trust Adam. He genuinely had Kono’s best interest at heart.”
Five-0 fans are definitely hoping to see more of Adam and Kono as the season continues. Executive producer Peter Lenkov confirmed via Twitter that “Adam is NOT being killed off,” so I think Dale will return, just maybe not as often as he has been in the past. His role as Lt. Jim Koto in Steven Bochco’s “Murder in the First” starts shooting in February and will air on TNT this summer, which will probably affect his ability to shoot scenes for “Five-0.”
Redux Side Note:
This week’s episode was a repeat of one of my Best of 2013 picks. “Hoʻopio” (“To Take Captive”) also featured Hawaii actress Kanani Rogers, who will be on “The Amy and Friends Show” on Monday, Jan. 27.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.