Every summer I often turn to the “Hawaii Five-0” fandom to find out their favorites from the past season. For the most part, fans are very responsive, but I think comedian Jon Stewart might have had a point when he said: “There is no such thing as an impartial jury because there are no impartial people. There are people that argue on the web for hours about who their favorite character on ʻFriends’ is.”
The same could be said about “Hawaii Five-0” fans. They will argue a lot in defense of their show, a specific actor, or to make a point about their favorite character. Yet Stewart might have crafted a completely different quote if he had been talking about “Five-0” vs. “Friends” fans. The Five-0 fandom doesnʻt just argue they fiercely defend their show, their favorites, and their beliefs about “Hawaii Five-0.” I think it’s one of the reasons the show has made it beyond critical reviews and stayed on the air for six years. It could also be one of the reasons why it has been renewed for a record seventh season.
Not to say that the show doesn’t have it’s own merits a great cast, stellar crew, strong storylines, and wellloved characters to name a few but a supportive fan base always helps a show maintain its longevity.
I’m always grateful that the fans are willing to share their insight, pictures, and experiences. I have made so many great and lasting friendships with “Hawaii Five-0” fans from all over the continental United States, and from all over the world. These are people I have spent time with and who have welcomed me into their homes. Between the many H50 events we’ve had over the last six years I’ve gotten to know many fans and now just call them friends.
So this week I sent out a little survey and asked the fans for their favorites. I tried to keep the list short and manageable and inadvertently left off a few players. Granted, one actress is no longer on the show, and another actor was only in one episode this season, so I honestly forgot to write them in. No matter some just took it upon themselves to write in the character they liked and said their peace.
The results are somewhat predictable, and some fans commented on how hard it was to “choose only one” or to “keep their comments to one or two sentences.” Of course, some may argue that the survey is biased and not fair but this is not a contest, there are no prizes for winning, nor does it really matter in the long run. It’s just something else “Five-0” fans can argue about online. It is, of course, what fans will do.
FAVORITE MAIN CHARACTER
Fans were asked to choose from what is called “The Core Four” the original four characters who started the Five-0 Task Force. No surprise, but Steve McGarrett, played by Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin, was chosen by 66% of the fans and Danny “Danno” Williams, played by actor Scott Caan, was chosen by 30% of the responders. Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono Kalākaua (Grace Park) shared the other 4%. I don’t think fans dislike Chin Ho and Kono, it’s just if they have to choose one they will go with Steve or Danno hands down.
Fans commented on Steve’s “bravery and loyalty” and the fact that he will do anything to “protect his ʻohana.” Patty Brown from Pennsylvania pretty much wrapped up everyone’s overall thoughts about why she choose McGarrett as her favorite: “Because of his integrity, love for his team, and his gorgeous face!”
Kristen Crandall from Toledo, Ohio, commented about both the character, as well as the actor who portrays him: “He’s just a great character, perfect combination of badass, humor, and sensitivity perfectly played by the actor.” And South Carolina fan, Belle Anderson, commented about why many chose McGarrett as their favorite: “He is such a strong character who has overcome so much adversity, but remains committed to standing up for what is right.”
Comments about Danno were very similar. Most fans talked about his love for his children and how he is a great friend to Steve. Caroline White from New Zealand made the perfect comment about how Danno was the whole package. “His unwavering loyalty, love and commitment to his ʻohana, coupled with his intellectually superior wit. His absolute focus on making the island safer no matter what he has to do. He’s a total hero.”
Australian fan Lisa O’Neill also said it best: “Danny is complex, he has flaws and strengths, good moments and bad moments. I’m drawn to his loyalty, his intelligence, and how loving he is.”
Of course, I find it interesting that the comments for both Steve and Danno are incredibly similar. Fans love them both for their flaws and their deep commitment to their friends and family as well as how hard they work to protect their island home.
FAVORITE SECONDARY MAIN CHARACTER
I had fans choose from the other series main characters, and a few of the recurring cast members who seemed to play a bigger role in this last season. The top three choices were Lou Grover (Chi McBride) with 51%, Max Bergman (Masi Oka) with 38%, and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) with 28% of the responders picking them as their favorites.
Both Jerry Ortega (Jorge Garcia) and Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale) got an 18% share and Abby Dunn (Julie Benz) and Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean) got an 8% share of the favorite votes.
Comments about Lou dealt with both his humor and ability to show emotion. Fans love Max because of his “quirkiness” and his ability to work hard for the team. And many spoke about the fact that they love Kamekona because of his devotion to the Five-0 ʻohana.
Karen Dritto from Brooklyn, New York, said this about Lou and Kamekona: “Like Steve, both men are graduates of the school of hard knocks. They have had to learn to trust others again and believe in their ability to fight for what they deserve and want.” Many fans also commented about their love of Lou and Kamekona because we learned so much about them this season, as both characters had more of their back story revealed in season six.
FAVORITE RECURRING CHARACTER
Hawaiʻi actors were some of the top favorites amongst the recurring characters. Sgt. Duke Lukela, played by Dennis Chun, was the character who had the highest share of the respondents. His 56% share pushed him to the top. Gracie Williams, played by another Hawaiʻi actor, Teilor Grubbs, was very close behind with 52% choosing Danno’s daughter as one of their cast favorites. Nahele Huikala, played by recent Kamehameha Schools graduate, Kekoa Kekumano, had a 30% share. While Kawika, played by Hawaiian waterman Kala Alexander, had a 18% share, he was also one of the Hawaiʻi actors who fans commented was among their favorites.
Many fans said that the reason they choose Duke, Nahele, or Kawika was because of their ties to Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture. Fan JoAnn Lane from Kansas City, Missouri, had this to say about three of the Hawaiian actors: “Duke is the caring older cop who does not judge. Gracie, she is an average teenager. She reminds me of my daughter who is a year older. I like Kawika because he teaches us about Hawaiian culture.”
Other actors who shared the favorite love was Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) who had a 25% share, Odell Martin (Michael Imperioli) had a 15% share, and Adam “Toast” Charles (Martin Starr) had a 14% share. Several fans loved Odell because of his relationship with McGarrett. And many fans had good comments about Catherine, like Ptera Waters from Wash. state who loves Cath because she “is driven and funny and sweet.”
Rounding out the list was Deb McGarrett (Carol Burnett), Mary Ann McGarrett (Taryn Manning), Lynn Downey (Sarah Carter), Cousin Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett), Mamo Kahike (Al Harrington), and Officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen) who all had a 10% share of the respondents choosing them as their favorite characters.
Some fans added Sang Min (Will Yun Lee), Eric Russo (Andrew Lawrence), and Melissa Armstrong (Lili Simmons) to the list because I inadvertently left them off. I also left off Danno’s son, Charlie (Zach Sulzbach) and Nicky “The Kid” DeMarco (Larry Manetti). But fans still left comments for some of these characters. Some loved Melissa because she seems to really love Danno; others loved Sang Min because of his humor and how he continues to help the Five-0 team.
If nothing else, the survey gave me an idea that fans love the characters as much as they love the actors who play them. The comments about all the characters were similar in tone and sentiment. It was great to read the positive viewpoints from many different fans from all over the world. It shows how far and wide the love of “Hawaii Five-0” is spread around the world.
REDUX SIDE NOTE: It was a sad week for “Hawaii Five-0” fans, when the news of the death of actor Jimmy Borges broke on May 31. Borges, along with Al Harrington and Dennis Chun, are among the last remaining Hawaiʻi actors who got their start in Leonard Freeman’s original creation. Current “Five-0” fans may recall Borges as the shady mystic healer Dr. Yang from episode 617 “Waiwai” (“Assets”). Fellow Five-0 actor Chun shared his thoughts about Borges’s passing on his Facebook page on Monday. “The world has lost a shining light and Hawaiʻi has lost a gentle and talented son.
“Hawaii Five-0” has lost a very special member of its ʻohana, and we have lost a very dear friend and role model. Laura (Mellow) and I extend our deepest sympathy to Jimmy’s lovely wife Vicki, his ʻohana, and his fans. We also thank Vicki for her example of love, faith, and grace as she bore the challenges of Jimmy’s illness. She is an inspiration to us all. Though our hearts are filled with sorrow we also celebrate Jimmy and his life. What a courageous, remarkable, caring, and giving man he was. I am so grateful that our paths crossed. As your canoe comes home,
Jimmy, may you find safe harbor and may the beauty of the rainbow bless your way.”
The Five-0 Redux sends our condolences and aloha to the Borges ʻohana. Our thanks to Jimmy for his work on “Hawaii Five-0.”
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.