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Five-0 Redux

Despite the critics, Caan is definitely a ‘Five-0’ fan favorite


    "Hawaii Five-0" actor Scott Caan as Detective Danny "Danno" Williams.

Out of all of the stars of “Hawaii Five-0,” actor Scott Caan is both beloved and vilified. Beloved by fans for his dramatic portrayal of Detective Danny “Danno” Williams, a former New Jersey police officer who finds himself “a fish out of water” in sunny Hawaiʻi. Yet Caan is often vilified by critics of the show, because of disparaging remarks he made about living and working in Hawaiʻi, soon after the series started filming in the islands. Over the years, folks have not forgotten his actions, beyond how much success fans have helped the show gain. Caan fans love Danno’s sardonic humor, his deep love of his children, as well as the intense bond he shares with his partner McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), and with the rest of the Five-0 ʻohana.

I’m usually not surprised by how much fans love their favorites on the show. So after asking fans their thoughts about Danno on the Five-0 Redux Facebook page, I was a bit shocked at how much they wrote Caan and their favorite Danno moments. Included here is only a quarter of what fans shared with me, but for the most part, their responses confirmed what Karen Dritto of Staten Island, NY so eloquently stated: “Danny is fierce, he’s a warrior, he’s loyal, his love knows no bounds and you just couldn’t ask for a better person to have your six. Everyone needs a Danno in their lives!”

Fans mostly wrote about their overall love of Danno and often mentioned specific episodes, yet Amy Bower DeCastro, Des Moines, Iowa encapsulated their love of Danno pretty well. “I really want to say that ALL his scenes are my favorite, but I’ll try to narrow it down. The first season episode, “Manaʻo” (“Belief”), when he’s fighting to clear Meka’s name and convinces Steve to believe him and he never gives up is great. The episode when Rick shows up and kidnaps Grace, “Mai ka wā kahiko,” (“Out of the Past”) is solid Danny all the way around. His emotions are so strong and convincing and show the lengths he will go to for his loved ones. More recently, the sixth season finale, when he insists on landing the plane on the beach rather than ditching in the ocean. He knows that is the only chance Steve has and then gives him part of his liver without hesitation, again shows his deep caring and love for his friends,” wrote DeCastro.

Kristine K. Takemoto of Honolulu, also wrote about “Mai ka wā kahiko,” as “the first episode in the series I thought really showcased him as an outstanding actor. Teilor Grubbs as Grace was emotional and Caan was outstanding!” wrote Takemoto via the Facebook page.

Another popular Danno episode, which also showed another aspect of his relationship with his daughter, was “I ka wā mamua” (“In a Time Past”). Fans often call this the 9/11 episode because it is about Danno’s experience on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was a detective in New Jersey. Caroline White of New Zealand wrote about that specific episode, as well as Caan as an actor. “Scott is my number one on the show. I guess the storylines where he gets to flex those amazing acting chops would be my favourite. Danny is fiercely protective of the people he loves and loyal to a fault. He leads by a strong sense of morality and isn’t afraid to express his emotions. The 9/11 episode is one of my all time favourites. The ability Scott has to portray emotion with just a look blows me away. Everything he does is to better the lives of the people he loves. Danny is a complex character and I like that, hell, I love that!” wrote White.

Mary Tomshack also wrote about  “I ka wā mamua” as her favorite episode. “Scott does not even have to speak most of the time. He acts with his eyes. He is truly amazing. I love every scene he is in. Both his comedic scenes and his drama are fantastic. He is a great dad in the show as well. I love how he struggles now that Grace is older. He makes the show for me,” wrote Tomshack.

Jan McGee also chimed in about “I ka wā mamua” and the establishment of his relationship with his daughter Grace. “Danny dress shopping with Grace for the Father-Daughter dance and [getting to] look back on who Grace was named after and the what happened [to Danny and his partner] on 9/11. Excellent [episode] from every angle,” wrote McGee.

Linda Stein of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania is another fan who shared that “I ka wā mamua” was her “all time favorite. Every moment was pure gold in this episode for Scott and Danny. Seeing Danny’s days as a Jersey cop. Watching Danny take a serious beating while trying to protect his partner Grace and his source. The agony of watching Grace murdered and finding out why little Gracie has her name. And the reason for all the reminiscing– [he had to] stand perfectly still with a ticking bomb around his chest as he tells Steve the story of the most harrowing day of his life. I can still remember the way my heart broke for him when he finally made it out of the warehouse to the welcoming sounds of sirens only to realize they weren’t coming to rescue him but were speeding toward the World Trade Center. The realization on his face that he’d been saved only because so many were dying. Scott displayed pretty much the entire emotional spectrum in this episode. It’s still my most favorite Danny episode of them all,” wrote Stein.

Many fans wrote about the season six closer, “ʻO ke aliʻi wale no kaʻu makemake” (“My Desire Is Only For The Chief”), as they loved how the team, especially Danny helped Steve to survive. Danno, of course, gives up part of his liver, after finding the men who almost killed his partner. Nadezhda Miloshevska of Bitola, Macedonia wrote about how she loved the episode because of Danno’s heroic moves. “Danny landing the plane and then leading the team in the drug bust [was the best], especially the part where he empties his clip and reloads [his] gun. And then Danny donating half his liver to Steve without a second thought,” wrote Miloshevska.

MB Kuderna of New Jersey wrote about an episode that was, “one of the best and one that could be my fave, “Hoʻopio” (“To Take Captive”).” In this season three episode, the Five-0 team is searching for a kidnapped little girl, and they find a couple who have been keeping children captive in a social security scam. “The interaction between Steve and Danny has a clear focus and is pretty deep. The handoff of Danny’s badge to Steve and how that plays out with Danny’s sense or need for a type of vengeance was unexpected and yet fit. I wish there were more episodes like this where the partnership [between Danny and Steve] is more highly showcased,” wrote Kuderna.

Quite a few fans wrote about how they fell in love with Danno. Fan Lindsay Hintz of Buffalo, New York, wrote about when she first started watching the show. “I never expected that I would end up loving Danny as much as I do and Scott as well for the portrayal. Many of my favorite moments have . . . highlighted Danny’s competence as a detective, his love for his children, his friendship with Steve, [and] his many complexities. One of my favorite scenes was during “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” (“Blood Brothers”) where he explained to Steve how his mind works, and the anxiety he deals with. That hit close to home, [partly because] of the wonderful nuances in his delivery, and [how it] just made Danny seem so real. He has these doubts, these worries he struggles with, and [yet] he keeps going anyway. The other is when Danny talked down the grieving father holding hostages in the courtroom in “Ke Kū Ana” (“The Stand”). He can be an absolute [hero] and I absolutely enjoy those moments, but he chose to reach out to the father, [to] use words before force, [and] connected with him. Danny has a wonderfully big heart that sometimes takes a lot of abuse, but it doesn’t stop him from using it to take care of others [and] those he loves. There are aspects of Danny that I relate to and have gotten me through tough times and I’m glad Scott brought such a great character to life,” wrote Hintz.

Lee Laurence wrote about how “there are so many moments narrowing them down is almost an impossibility” and about “all the times that Danny has been there for Steve and the rest of the team. Whether it be to fight by their side or on their behalf, [they] can always count on Danny to stand by his ohana. If I have to state one moment I will go with the most recent one in “Weheʻana” (“Prelude”) where we saw the pilot episode from Danny’s point of view. Hearing Danny recite what the team and joining Five-0 has meant to him, and finally hearing that Hawaii is home, was truly a heartwarming moment. Caan portrays his love for his on-screen family beautifully no matter what the occasion. As a Five-0 fan, I think his genuine friendship with Alex [which] is clear by how they speak of each other and the obvious affection in the glimpses we see behind the scenes can be credited with a large part of the success of the show. Seeing them at ease and laughing during the first filming for season 8 eight sends a clear signal that despite all the changes there is still a great season ahead for us,” wrote Laurence.

Another episode that had multiple mentions was the 100th episode, “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”). Lizzy Annie of Vic, Australia, wrote first about how she “loves how protective [Danno] is: of his kids, of his team, of Steve. Caan plays Danny’s loyalty to Steve so well; beneath all the bluster is a fiercely protective man who would go to hell and back for his partner. Most of my [favorite] moments revolve around this friendship and devotion. [Like in] “Ki‘ilua” (“Deceiver”), when the team risked it all to find Steve in North Korea. [This] leads to such an emotional reunion between Steve and Danny. The stunned relief on Danny’s face when he finally finds Steve is beautiful. Similar to this was the brilliant 100th episode. Alex knocked it out of the park, and the cherry on top was the team finding Steve. Much like in “Ki‘ilua,” this moment was multi-layered: the team found their beloved Steve, and Danny found his best friend. Danny, naturally assuming responsibility for giving Steve the news about John McGarrett, demonstrated the strength of the bond between the two partners. As did Steve, confused and frightened and exhausted from his ordeal, studying Danny’s face to try to make sense of the world,” wrote Annie.

There were several more comments from fans, but Lisa Green of Leeds UK, was right when she wrote, “[Caan is] a phenomenal actor who can portray such a wide range of emotions. He is so natural in his ability and so believable. [He’s] a true talent.”

While critics may find fault in his off-screen comments, many viewers love watching Danno fight the bad guys, support his ‘ohana, and the Five-0 team. To put it simply, Caan is definitely a fan favorite.

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

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