I’ve said it many times this year, but season four was the best season of “Hawaii Five-0” since the reboot premiered in 2010.
I know many fans love season one, but for me, the depth and maturity of the show came to a beautiful fruition this year. I spoke to executive producer and showrunner Peter Lenkov during a fan breakfast in March and he was totally gracious about my appreciation for their work on season four.
This week, “Five-0” fans were thrilled when Lenkov began to leak season five spoilers and announced plans for another Sunset on the Beach premiere in September. Fans will again be treated to a big screen glimpse of the season opener on Waikiki Beach, a red carpet reception line with the stars and live entertainment.
Fans were also abuzz this week over news of the return of several favorite actors, among them Ian Anthony Dale (Adam Noshimuri), James Marsters (Victor Hesse) and William Sadler (John McGarrett). Both Marsters’ and Sadler’s characters are long dead, so most likely they are being brought back for flashback scenes.
Along with all that, fans are also gearing up for the start of season five filming on July 8.
Yes, it’s still a few months until the Sept. 26 season premiere on CBS and we’re still in the midst of repeats from season four. Lenkov was kind enough to answer a few questions recently and share what he thought about the fourth season, his favorite episodes and to dish a bit about season five.
QUESTION: Season four was a blast. We had a fun time with the fan-built episode and enjoyed many wonderful performances. What episodes in season four did you have a special affinity for?
ANSWER: I know you mentioned it, but “Hoʻonani Makua Kāne” (“Honor Thy Father”) was a privilege to do this season. We’d been toying with a storyline about the Japanese internment in Hawaii ever since the first season and this just felt like the right year to do it.
Aside from amazing performances from our cast, our crew really got to shine, from the wardrobe, to the sets, to special and visuals effects, everyone on the crew rose to the challenge – and their incredible work is clear on the screen. The opening Pearl Harbor sequence is one of the best we’ve ever done.
Another favorite this season for me was “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” (“Blood Brothers”), the episode where McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) are trapped under a building. The core of the show has always been the relationships between our characters – they’re a family, they mean everything to each other – episodes like “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” give us a chance to explore the depths of those relationships, get past cases and the carguments and get to the heart of these characters.
McGarrett and Danny, when everything else is gone, they’re brothers. It was an amazing episode to put together and our cast did a phenomenal job.
Q: The addition of Chi McBride and Jorge Garcia to the cast has been very well received. What are your thoughts and reasons for introducing both Capt. Grover and Jerry Ortega to the island?
A: When we brought on both Chi and Jorge to the show, we knew we had found something special. We originally intended for Grover to be a foil in McGarrett’s life, a professional competitor.
But when we got Chi and Alex together, we just saw this amazing chemistry in their interactions. We knew we had to build towards them being on the same team. Chi as Grover brings a strength and edge that’s a welcome addition to “Five-0.”
And with Jorge, we just had such a blast and fun with him, we knew we wanted more Jerry on the show. Jerry provides such a unique perspective to our world and an entryway into cases we might not have gone into before. Jerry adds another angle of worlds to explore.
Q: What was the most difficult episode to write and produce of season four?
A: “Hoʻonani Makua Kāne” (“Honor Thy Father”) might have been our most challenging episode of the season. Between all of the research and work we put in at the script level, and the work our cast and crew did to be authentic and true to the time period: it was definitely an all hands on deck situation to put it all together.
But as challenging as it was, I don’t think it could have come out better. A great achievement for our show.
Q: With Wo-Fat on the loose, what plans do you have for the Shelburne story arc going forward? Can we expect to see the return of Doris?
A: In the world of “Five-0,” the Shelburne story arc is always going forward, especially now that we have both Doris (Christine Lahti) and Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) in the wind.
We just may not see where it’s going quite yet. But we will…
Q: Fans have enjoyed a fun roller coaster ride the last four seasons. How are you planning to deliver the same level of excitement in future seasons?
A: You know, we really strive each season to top ourselves. We don’t want to do the same things we’ve done and seen before. We just keep trying to raise the stakes for our characters – and when we do that well, it’s a hell of a ride.
Q: Is it hard to come up with fresh ideas? How does your writing staff continue to come up with action-packed episodes season after season?
A: It’s always a bit of a challenge to come back each year and come up with adventures for our team.
The great thing about hitting season five is that we just know our characters so well. We know all that they have been through and can build upon on that groundwork to push stories and characters forward. Where we’ve been gives us the path to know where we want to go.
Q: Any new season five writers or crew members that you’d like to tell us about?
A: We’re incredibly lucky to have the best crew in the business and they all feel as passionately about the show as I do. We’re lucky to have our crew ʻohana back for season five.
On the writing side, we do have a few up-and-coming writers joining the fray. Sarah Byrd is joining us from the procedural world of “CSI:NY.” We’re bumping up our script coordinator for the last two seasons, Sue Palmer, up into the writing staff after doing a great job co-writing the Halloween episode, “Kūpouli ʻla” (“Broken”).
Kenny Kyle, who just recently won the Big Break Contest award at the Final Draft Screenwriters Choice Awards will be joining us.
Akeba Gaddis is an incredibly talented writer also joining the ranks as a staffer. If TV writing is something that interests any of your readers, I think our new writers show there’s no one way to break in.
Q: To say fans are excited for season five is an understatement. Can you give us a few teasers?
A: We’re still breaking story for the season, but a couple places we know want to go this season are McGarrett dealing with Catherine’s (Michelle Borth) choice to track down Najib from “Makani ʻOlu a Holo Mālie” (“Fair Winds and Following Seas”) will be addressed in the early episodes.
We’re going to pick up on the whereabouts of Danny’s brother Matt (played by Dane Cook, who went on the run in season one). Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) may find Gabriel Waincroft’s (played by Christopher Sean) return to his life a bigger burden to bear than he expected.
And for Kono (Grace Park), we may be delving into her past in a way we’ve never seen before.
Q: With the addition of Grover to the team, how will the new dynamic play out on screen?
A: Grover’s just another great addition to the team – we got to see some of his budding relationships with the other members (spearfishing with Chin, Danny comforting him when his daughter was kidnapped) – but we really spent a lot of last season building up the relationship between McGarrett and Grover.
We’re looking forward to exploring his dynamic with the whole team.
Q: Any hints on Chin’s relationship?
A: Chin Ho’s still with Leilani (Lindsay Price), but they’re taking it slow, as you can imagine. Malia’s (Reiko Aylesworth) only been gone for two years.
He is moving on, as Malia would want him to, but making big decisions or commitments would be hard for anyone in that position. We may not see big movements in his relationship just yet.
Q: The banter is an integral part of the show for many fans. Do you think McGarrett will be able to handle a banter war on two fronts with Danno and Grover?
A: McGarrett’s the kinda guy that can handle banter on all fronts. I’d be more concerned for Danny being able to handle Grover’s banter. Grover’s a guy who can hold his own.
Q: What can we expect from Kono’s relationship with Adam this season?
A: We’ll be delving into Kono’s past, but also her present with Adam. Adam wants to move forward in the relationship, but Kono might be hesitant. She has an incredibly dangerous job, raising a family in that environment might give her pause. It’s a lot to take in for her.
Q: How many episodes do you plan for in season five? Any plans to involve the fans again?
A: We are slotted for 24 this year. We’ve loved having our fans involved in the process of making our show. We’re definitely thinking about how we can get our fans involved this season.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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Great write up Wendie! It’s that time of the year. Still over 2 months until we get to see new episodes but only days away from the start of filming so excitement is on the rise. I, like many others, will be glued to my computer Tuesday hoping to get a glimpse of the S5 blessing. I can’t wait to see some BTS photos and I always look forward to the little tidbits Peter tweets and instagrams out to us. It’s a fun time of year. Speculation always runs high with all kinds of rumors (both silly and viable) being discussed ad nauseam as we try our best to make it to the September premiere.
I am thrilled to hear all the great plans for Season 5. I am really happy to hear Peter say that the brotherly relationship between Steve and Danny will be as strong as ever. Like many others it’s the primary relationship that got me hooked on Five-0 in the first place. I am also really happy with the addition of Grover. I have to admit I’m one of those who always loved the idea of Grover as a full time character but was apprehensive about his actually joining the team. I am really looking forward to seeing how the writers interweave him into the team dynamic, especially with Steve and Danny. Steve and Grover, both alpha males used to giving orders and having them obeyed, should prove especially interesting.
But the one thing I am looking forward to the most is the development of Steve’s PTSD storyline. I’m hoping the return of John McGarrett and Victor Hesse are part of a PTSD nightmare/flashback that continues this storyline. Alex with simply KILL those scenes and any storyline that gives Alex the opportunity to really ACT is gold to me.
Thanks again for being a bridge between the fans and our favorite show. I’m looking forward to another great year of Redux to go along with what I am sure will be another stellar year for Hawaii Five-0.
Great in depth article as always, really enjoyed the answers to some brilliantly asked questions
Thanks for a very informative column Wendie! Hopefully all of Peter’s plans will play out. I am glad we will be finally hearing about what happened to Danny’s little brother and that Season 5 will have some things to do with Chin, and also delve into Kono’s past. I have heard so much of Ian Anthony Dale doing other shows, I’m glad he will also be able to devote some time to this one too. It will be hard for them to top the Pearl Harbor episode or Thanksgiving with Aunt Deb, but it should be a good year. Hopefully Mary and her baby daughter will put in an appearance too.
Another great piece of work Wendie!
Thanks, Wendie Joy! I love hearing these little behind the scenes tidbit about how real life developments shape the onscreen relationships. I just find those to be interesting insights into how the industry works.
Mahalo, Wendie for this awesome blog – and to Peter for taking time to answer your questions. I’m sure Peter knows, by now, that the fans of his show love your Five-0 Redux blogs and very happily welcome your interviews with the cast and, of course, the big boss himself. And if he still doesn’t know, I hope he reads this 🙂
I actually loved the previous seasons, too (except a certain period in Season 2 when Alex was ill and looked like it, too, which made it hard for his fans to enjoy the show at that time) – but I do agree that Season 4 was the best because it had more depth and maturity, as you put it. There was so much I loved about Season 4 – and loved for different reasons. Ep. 4.10 (Honor thy father) was definitely the most outstanding one. But there were episodes that I loved because they were about Steve and his personal life – such as the Thanksgiving episode with aunt Deb or the Afghanistan episode. But I also love the McDanno bromance (such as in ep. 4.19 mentionned by Peter) or terrific `ohana moments (such as the return of Kono and Adam at the end of ep. 4.12). And I definitely enjoyed any episodes that made me laugh – with carguments, red bobby car chases and more 🙂
What I’m trying to say is that I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of this kind of terrific stuff in Season 5 because I’m sure that everyone on H50 – from the writers to the cast and crew – will give their very best again to give us what we love and enjoy: Emotions, fun, crime, action & more – all combined in what I consider the best show on television.
About Chi – He is definitely a fantastic addition to the main cast and the Five-0 team. I can’t wait to see how Lou and Steve get along working on the same team. Sounds like a lot of fun for us! I’m also looking forward to seeing some developments in the personal lives of Chin, Kono and Danno. But, most of all, I’m curious to find out what the writers come up with regarding Steve, Cath and that new love-interest for Steve mentionned by Peter earlier. That’s one thing I’m a little worried about – As much as I want Steve to be happy, I don’t think it would be very credible if he found a new love-interest all too quickly. Besides, he and Cath were great together (and are still officially a couple!) – it will be hard to find someone better than Cath for him. But we’ll see – so far, Peter and his team of writers have always managed to come up with surprising turns in the storylines that ultimately turned out to be good.
While I’m waiting excitedly for Season 5 to start, I’m looking forward to the start of filming and the blessing on Tuesday. Thank you to H50 and Hawaii News Now for sharing events like these and the SOTB premieres with fans around the globe via livestream. It is very much appreciated.
And, once again, I got carried away and have written way too much… All that remains to be said is that I wish “Hawaii Five-0” HUGE success with Season 5!
Thanks for this Wendie! Looking forward to s5! I’m glad to see we’ll find out some more about Matt & Danny. I think I’m most excited about the continually growing relationship between Steve and Danny. While Grover and Steve are excellent together, it’s McDanno that feeds the soul with the bromance, carguments, eye rolls, sarcasm, etc. Great stuff! Can’t wait for Tuesday!! Let’s get this party started!!
Wow! This is the blog to top all blogs! Thanks for all the new info, and to Peter for taking the time to share some S4 and S5 insights with H50’s fans! It means a lot. Sounds like it will be an exciting new season! (Can’t wait to hear from brother Matt!)
Excellent Wendie, thanks to Lenkov for answering your questions and what we can expect next season, looking forward to the SOTB5, I hope to see you there! 🙂
Twenty-four instead of Twent-Two! Yeah!!!
I want to see another NCIS LA/Five-0 crossover….McGarrett and Sam HAVE to meet up!
This is an amazing interview! Thank you for asking the questions that we, the fans, wanted to hear. I can’t wait for Season Five.
Great interview. I’m glad to hear that they are not just flying over Catherine’s leaving. This was a long relationship for McGarrett and I just don’t see him moving on so fast.
I’m still hoping she returns, but not opposed to someone else coming in if Michelle Borth is not able to come back. Just not right away. I loved to hear that Matt will be back. I would like to know more about what he has been doing since he has been on the run. It sounds like we will get more Kono background, which I’m thrilled about. Very much looking forward to season 5. Thanks Wendie.
O M G OMG this was great and is it possible.. can it be true that maybe just maybe my dreams will come true??? hehehehehehe
Wendie thank you and THANK you Peter for a terrific interview!!!!!
This was a great interview. I am so excited for the new season and it looks like they will pick up some things that seem to have been forgotten, like Danny’s brother. It kind of sounds like Danny might get picked on this season. That will be fun. Has Danny met his match with Grover. And I am really looking forward to Jerry. Every episode he has been in has just been fun.