comscore Hacking the devil | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Five-0 Redux

Hacking the devil

  • CBS
  • CBS

They say ignorance is bliss, and in the case of my level of knowledge about what a real-life hacker can do in today’s technologically advanced world, I rather enjoy living in a state of ill-informed euphoria. So this week’s “Hawaii Five-0,” titled “’I’ike Ke Ao” (“For the World to Know”), was a kind of an eye-opener about the level of intrusion a talented hacker can inflict on the average person.

The procedural this week, written by David Wolkove and directed by Bryan Spicer, was set up to look like a creeper stalker had catfished an innocent girl, Addison Wells (Cassi Thomson), via her cell phone and social media accounts, in order to kidnap her from a weekly babysitting job. Yet as the case progressed, we found this was not the obvious case. The stalker in question, Jacob Holm (Scott Michael Campbell), actually had a warped sense of moral duty– he searched for victims who were actually far less innocent than they actually portrayed to the world.

McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the rest of the Five-0 team– Danno (Scott Caan), Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono (Grace Park), and Grover (Chi McBride)– work together to try and track down the poor girl, who seems to be nothing more than a typical Oahu State (a fictional university created by the show) student. Her only crime is that she texts and video chats too much on the job. When the team realizes that her kidnapper has hacked into the security system, as well everything connected to the Hiller’s (played by Hawaiʻi actors Jeremy Gilbert and Wendy Calio) home, they get Jerry (Jorge Garcia) to help them figure out how to find the hacker.

When Jerry says that they need a computer genius to figure out who performed the intricate and far-reaching computer hack in half the time of the HPD CSU crime lab, Kono sends McG and Danno to find the best hacker they know, Adam “Toast” Charles (recurring guest actor Martin Starr).

Toast, who was one of Danno’s pre-McGarrett CI’s, is now a millionaire after creating a mobile game app called “Poopy Penguin.” Think “Flappy Bird” meets “Angry Birds”– but with poop. Don’t get too excited, it’s not a real game (and do me a favor– don’t do a Google search for the game either, unless you know how to metaphorically bleach your brain). McG and Danno pull him off a Hawaiian Air flight, and ruin his plans for having Roscoe’s chicken and waffles in Los Angeles with pretty swimsuit model, Mia (Ciara Hanna).

Poor Toast, it’s never a good day for him when McG and Danno come calling. Luckily, Danno has probably helped pay for his new sports car with all the money Gracie and Charlie have spent on Toast’s popular poopy game. Ironically, Toast– who claims to Mia that his nickname comes from his love of a good breakfast– has changed from being the friendly-neighborhood stoner/hacker, to the pusher of an equally addictive past-time– albeit far less illegal. Even McGarrett gets addicted in the end.

Still, the case totally picks up once Toast is on board. He finds a red-herring, the actual gent who catfished Addison, insurance agent Howard Mintz (played by Hawaiʻi actor Scott Paul Robertson), who may be a liar and a cheater, but had nothing to do with Addison’s kidnapping. Toast also figures out that the spyware on Addison’s laptop is a “Cherry Bomb” and he takes Jerry with him to meet the creator of the dangerous malware, who used to be friends with Toast until they had a falling out over who actually created “Poopy Penguin.”

So as McG and Danno watch Scooby and Shaggy use their nerd credentials to gain access to the hacker Null Legend (Barrett Shuler), or “Patrick” to his former friend, they get the actual name of the stalker/computer genius/hacker Holm who purchased the Cherry Bomb spyware. Yes, all that work for the team to finally get their man.

The team raid Holm’s house and Kono finds out that Holm was an IT guy for a local law firm, who downloaded confidential data which proved that the firm was dealing with illegal activity, destroying evidence, and threatening witnesses. Holm’s released all the data to the press and did some time. Yet, he was called a “Hactivist” because his crime was ideologically motivated. McG wonders how he went from doing something for the greater good, to kidnapping a co-ed.

Toast finds that Addison is not his only victim– Holm’s has loaded spyware onto over a thousand computers, fishing for more victims with deep dark secrets. They find a terabyte of information on Jason Puttnam (Hawaiʻi actor Timothy Antoine Callais), and watch his confession video. The team finds him dead in one of the seventeen abandoned buildings Holm’s has secured. Holm’s left Puttnam a gun to end his own life after he lets him watch all of the social media comments about what scum he is for swindling old people out of their money and retirement funds. McG and Danno rationalize that Holm’s is a vigilante with a god complex and rush to find Addison before she too kills herself for whatever dark secret she will be forced to confess.

The team gets a break when Holm uploads Addison speaking into a video feed on her social media page. She begins to confess that she was guilty of killing a pedestrian from her hometown in Minnesota, because she was distracted by a text on her cell phone. Toast successfully hacks into Holm’s computer and they are able to find Addison.

I know– there was a lot going on in this episode– and really the issue was pretty heavy. I was glad that Holm was more of a vigilante, rather than a perverted serial killer, so that was a bit different. But even though he was forcing people to have a conscience, he was still super creepy and really evil. Even though he was supposed to be “good,” he was like the devil sitting on your shoulder egging you on. I wasn’t sad when Addison bested him in the end. Even though she wasn’t completely innocent, I was still glad that she was saved.

Really, the episode was complex and detailed. And dark. So the lighthearted secondary plot, was the real treat of the evening. Kameona (Taylor Wily) has started a fourth entrepreneurial adventure. A “booze cruise” catamaran strangely named “The Thong Magnet.” Seems as if Kamekona had enough money to buy the vessel at a police auction, but not enough to paint over the unfortunate name of his ship. He did however brand it in the only way Kamekona knows how– by buying a huge sail, complete with his smiling countenance spread up the mast.

He takes his cousin Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett), his first mate/DJ/bartender, and Max, (Masi Oka) the ship’s medic, on an inaugural cruise, which goes awry soon after they set sail. Perhaps Kamekona should have taken McGarrett’s suggestion that they use a bigger bottle of champagne to bless of the ship, or maybe he should have waited until McG’s case was solved, and taken an actual sailor on board with them for the trip.

But no matter, between Max’s MacGyver survival moves and Flippa establishing what and who can be eaten in case of emergency, the three seemed to have an excellent time camping out on what they think is Lehua Island, which is actually a restricted Hawaii State Wildlife Sanctuary, located near Niʻihau.

They seem to be much closer to an island resort, complete with fireworks, cocktails, and tipsy tourists. If nothing else, it was a nice way for the three friends to share their own deep dark secrets. Max laments not taking an opportunity to work with Doctors Without Borders because he may come across to living patients as awkward and off-putting. Both Kamekona and Flippa kindly shoot down their friend’s self-assessment, Flippa affectionately saying “Not you, Doc.” Kamekona regrets nothing– as a two-time felon he is grateful to have four businesses, regardless if his latest attempt is now at the bottom of the ocean.

And Flippa– whose actual name is revealed as Shawn Tupuola (which is Kamekona’s last name)– regrets not having a chance to pursue his music career. Luckily, this does not stop him from singing his original song “One More Day.” Kamekona, of course, tells him he’ll have to do a show at the shrimp truck. Pro bono.

We’d all love that, as many fans have become big supporters of actor Shawn Mokuahi Garnett’s music career in real life. The entire scene of the three on the beach, singing and talking by the fire, which was actually filmed in Waimānalo, not on Lehua Island. It was my favorite part of the episode. Watching the three friends boost each other up, after the sweet reveal of their secrets, helped to wash away some of the darkness. And thankfully, there was no sign of the devil in any of their confessions.


Shawn Mokuahi Garnett’s song “One More Day” was an original composition by the actor, and will be released on ITunes soon, according to Garnett’s Facebook page and a message to me on Friday after the episode. Stay tuned for a release message from Garnett by following him at ReverbNation, where you can also see a complete listing of all his shows and listen to his music.

Garnett performs regularly around Oʻahu. You can catch him at the Monkeypod Kitchen at Ko Olina and Cuckoo Coconuts in Honolulu. He will be playing at Augie T’s Mother’s Day Brunch and Show on May 8 at the Mānoa Grand Ballroom; The House of Blues in Las Vegas on May 10 and 11; and 25 Degrees in Huntington Beach, California on May 15.


Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter  and Instagram.

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