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Five-0 Redux

For the love of McGarrett and Danno

COURTESY CBSDynamic Duo: Steve McGarrett and Danno may not be superheroes, but they get pretty close.


Dynamic Duo: Steve McGarrett and Danno may not be superheroes, but they get pretty close.

If you ask the typical “Hawaii Five-0” fan what they love about the show, most of the time you will get something along the lines of “I love McGarrett and Danno.”

Alex O’Loughlin, who plays Steve McGarrett, and Scott Caan, who plays Danny “Danno” Williams, are a big part of that love — yet sometimes the fan adoration for McG and Danno goes beyond the actors themselves. There are many fans who fall solely in the House of McG, and others who swear by All That Is Danno, but there are a large portion of fans who love both of them and refer to them as a unit of one.

For most of us, McG and Danno are more than a bromantic duo. They are brothers in arms, friends and partners to the end. Like soldiers who have spent time on the battlefield and trust each other instinctively and without a second thought, McGarrett and Danno have saved each other in more ways than just in the line of duty.

COURTESY CBSPartners: Steve McGarrett and Danno in the season 3 premiere of "Hawaii Five-0."


Partners: Steve McGarrett and Danno in a scene from the season three premiere of “Hawaii Five-0.”

Over the last four seasons these two characters have gone from reluctant adversaries thrown together by circumstance and need to solid partners who would do anything for each other. They have stood by each other in desperate moments and in times of great heartache and fear. They never wavered in their belief in each other’s sense of justice and steadfast search for the truth. They have come full circle and seem to care and love each other as much as if they were true brothers.

In the pilot episode we saw both men wanting answers about the death of John McGarrett (William Sadler) — McG’s father and Danno’s fellow police officer and current case. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but both men found while they had different ways of getting the job done, they had a connection that could make an impact on fighting crime in Hawaii.

Maybe that wouldn’t be called the birth of a Dynamic Duo, but even superheroes have to start somewhere. Okay, so McG gets Danno a bullet hole in his arm in the first episode, and I vaguely remember Danno uttering how much he hated McG; but they’ve come a long way from season one to season four.

When Danno declared in “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” (“Blood Brothers”) “No matter what happens, I really really hate you,” we all knew that it was not to be taken literally. No matter how much grief they give each other, there is a lot of real love between them.

COURTESY CBSBrothers in Arms: McGarrett and Danno race to save Chin's life in season one of "Hawaii Five-0."


Brothers in Arms: McGarrett and Danno race to save Chin’s life in season one of “Hawaii Five-0.”

While both men stress the importance of ʻohana within the Five-0 team, they also have strong feelings for their own loved ones. Both men have had significant others in their lives at different points of the show, and both have dealt with family strife and sibling trouble.

Currently, McG has lost his lover Catherine (Michelle Borth), while his mother, Doris (Christine Lahti) seems to be in the wind and still a huge enigma in his life.

His relationship with his sister, Mary Ann (Taryn Manning) is on the mend, since she adopted a baby girl and made Steve an uncle. True, he’s always been an uncle to Danno’s daughter, Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) who is growing up faster than Daddy Danno would like.

At the end of season four, Danno was in love with New York transplant Amber Vitale (Lili Simmons) after losing Dr. Gabby (Autumn Reeser) to her career.

While Danno’s parents seem to have made up and taken divorce off the table, he is still hurting from the loss of his wayward brother, Matt (Dane Cook).

While McGarrett’s biggest loss has been the death of his father, John McGarrett, there seems to be another loss headed his way, as his surrogate mother, Aunt Deb (Carol Burnett), who only recently returned to his life, has terminal cancer.

We can only hope that season five will bring good news about Aunt Deb as well as about Matt, as both Burnett and Cook will return to reprise their familial roles and perhaps ease some heartache for both McG and Danno.

McG and Danno seem to have survived more than just bullets, explosions and numerous car chases. They have rescued each other from the unthinkable.

Danno helped save Steve when he was being tortured in North Korea by Wo Fat, and when he was taken and almost killed by the Taliban.

McG saved Danno from killing Stan in order to save a kidnapped Gracie and from being being blown to bits by a trigger bomb.

They have worked together on several occasions to save their other teammates — Kono (Grace Park), Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), as well as Capt. Grover (Chi McBride) — from similar harrowing moments, like neck bombs, crooked cops, creepy serial killers and even prison.

COURTESY CBSBromantic Duo: McGarrett and Danno contemplate their next move at a Victoria Secret fashion show.


Bromantic Duo: McGarrett and Danno contemplate their next move at a Victoria Secret fashion show.

Yet, McGarrett and Danno have their own personalities and goals, and regardless of their partnership can still be seen as individual men. As a trained SEAL and military man, McGarrett reacts differently to situations than police-trained detective Danno. And as a father, Danno is deeply effected by cases that involve children.

Yet together the partners work well together and take into consideration each other’s strengths in order to get the job done in the most efficient and successful manner.

Overall, I’d like to think that part of the reason we love McG and Danno has more to do with the actors who portray them, than what their characters do and say on our small screens. The dramatic talents of both O’Loughlin and Caan bring a strong reality to their characters, and a large part of the success of “Hawaii Five-0” has to do with the actors performances.

As much as fans love the show, they adore O’Loughlin and Caan just as much as they do their complex characters.


Details about the television season premiere on Sept. 26 were released this week. 
“ʻAʻohe kahi e peʻe ai” meaning “nowhere to hide” involves the island of Oʻahu “going on lockdown while Five-0 hunts for a terrorist who starts using weaponized drones on civilians.” And the secondary storyline seems to be very timely for this week’s post — McGarrett and Danno must attend “a mandated review with a psychologist,” and it seems as if the boys review turns into “couples therapy.”

Don’t forget the Sunset on the Beach season premiere will take place in Waikiki starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 13. Make sure you visit honolulupulse.com for extensive coverage and photos from the red carpet.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

8 responses to “For the love of McGarrett and Danno”

  1. edmattes763 says:

    Steve and Danny are the driving force of Hawaii Five-0 as they were in the original version of the series in the 70s. But this is different. Jack Lord’s McGarrett was in charge and James MacArthur’s Danny was a friend but clearly second in command. Here they are more like equal partners.
    One part of Season 1 I always remember. Danny was a new transplant to Hawaii and told Steve, “if it wasn’t for Grace, I’d be all alone on this island.” Later on after the story progressed, Steve did him a favor and then told him, “maybe you’re not as alone here as you think, Danno.”
    Another telling moment from last season. Although Steve also loves Chin and Kono as a brother and sister, when he needed advice about his Aunt Deb, he pulled Danny aside. “Got a sec?” Danny replied, “for you I have a whole minute.”

  2. jlopie1 says:

    You verbalized my reasons for being addicted to this show perfectly, Wendie! Thank you! When I tuned into the Pilot 4 years ago, I was interested to see how the rebooted Five-0 compared to the original that I watched as a kid with my grandmother (who had a thing for Jack Lord!). Aside from that phenomenal opening scene in North Korea, what completely took me by surprise was the dynamic of the relationship between McGarrett and Danno. Right off the block it was obvious that this relationship between these two characters – and by necessity, the two actors portraying Steve and Danno – was going to be the driving force for this show. I was hooked in the Pilot, and I think it’s pretty obvious I was not the only viewer enchanted with Alex and Scott! It’s been the one constant, for me at least, through all four seasons of H50. Other actors have come and gone – other relationships have taken precedence for short segments, but I think the glue that keeps this show together and a success is ultimately the brotherhood of the two main characters and the easy friendship of Scott and Alex that comes through in their performances.

    Here’s to Season 5 and the continued success of Hawaii Five-0!

  3. Dina says:

    another great piece Wendie! love your take on it- thanks!!
    Alas I do see them as brothers and hope that with the return of Matt’s story will we also see Rachel return too

  4. Angela Gerstner says:

    While I love several ingredients of “Hawaii Five-0” and the show as a whole, these two boys together are definitely what got me addicted to the show in the first place. Although Alex has been my top-favorite, I’m convinced that all those carguments and funny conversations between McG and Danno wouldn’t be half as good if Scotty wasn’t such an awesome actor, too. Both Alex and Scotty are extremely talented but also have a very special chemistry that is reflected in their on-screen interaction, which makes them so much fun to watch. I love seeing them together – actually not only on H50 but even behind the scenes or in their time off work.

    Especially with a show that runs over several seasons and involves very long working days for everyone on the team, that’s what you wish for the cast – that they become good friends or even feel like family to each other, as they do on this show. In the case of Alex and Scotty, it is particularly obvious how well they get along – both in front and behind camera – but I’m pretty sure that Daniel and Grace are good friends to them, too.

    I can’t wait to find out what the writers have in store for our favorite boys in the upcoming season and I’m sure we’ll enjoy every single minute in which we’ll get to watch “McDanno” go through thick and thin together, as in the past four seasons.

    Mahalo for your fantastic blog, Wendie! I also love your choice of pics – I almost used some of them for the blog promotion collage 🙂

  5. Mike Rose says:

    Kono and Chin seem to have more or less the same relationship. They’re all like a real ohana for sure. It would be not surprising if they were the same off set as well…

  6. Linda M. Stein says:

    What can I say? You’ve hit it right on the head again Wendie. At first…the first 15 minutes that is…. it was the movie quality action that sucked me into Five-0 but after that? It was the instant chemistry between Steve and Danny that kept me watching week after week. The love that has grown between these two brothers, as well as the love that extends to and from the Ohana that has formed around them is the core to what makes this show so special. There is crime, drama, explosions, local and international intrigue, of course, but I can find that in any number of other shows out there. But the Ohana, the “bromance”, the interaction between these two brothers and those they love and who love them, is what makes Five-0 so unique and what keeps me coming back week after week.

  7. Diane says:

    Thanks Wendie. The relationship between McG and Danny is what got me hooked. There is truly a chemistry between Both the characters and actors. Watching them become closer with each season is truly the backbone of the show. Although I love all the other characters and we would not have a show without Chin and Kono and all the supporting characters, the bromance is what gives us so much of the comedic and tear jerking moments that makes this show great. All these actors are great.

  8. Jilly says:

    Wendie you’ve done a brilliant job here! You have hit on the exact reason this whole combination works so well. Thanks so much!

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