For almost two years, “Hawaii Five-0” has not had a true series villain since the death of Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean) in the season six finale. A “series villain” is the resident bad guy whose sole purpose in life is to terrorize and threaten McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the Five-0 ʻohana. Our villain tends to have his hands in whatever Five-0 investigates, and he frequently shows up to personally make life more than just difficult for the team.
The role of series villain has not been filled for a while, even though Michelle Shioma (Michelle Krusiec) the Yakuza Lady Boss tried to fill in during season seven. Yet fans never really claimed her as a Five-0 nemesis like they did Gabriel or Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos).
But last week, during the 175th episode of the hit television show, “Kau ka ʻōnohi aliʻi i luna” (“The Royal Eyes Rest Above”), the team faced a bad guy who has all the makings of a series villain.
Kila Packett, who made his television debut in “Ka Hakakā Maika‘i” (“The Good Fight”) in season two of “Hawaii Five-0,” plays Dave Lockhart, an old nemesis of the Five-0 team. This season, in his third tangle with Five-0, his orchestration of a professional bank heist– in which he and his crew steal $10 million in an elaborate money laundering scheme– made for his most ambitious criminal scheme yet.
Lockhart is a former thief who was sent to Halawa after being caught by Five-0 when they suspect he has committed murder during one of his home invasions. He was last seen in “ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make” (“Death Sentence”) when he and another Five-0 collar Joao Caetano (Troy A. Ignacio) help disgraced HPD Detective Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee) try to kill Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) while he is trapped inside Halawa Correctional Facility. Kaleo, as well as Caetano and Lockhart, all blame Chin and Five-0 for their incarceration. So it seems that Lockhart’s grudge against Five-0 continues.
I spoke to Packett this week via phone and he shared his experience via email about working with the “Hawaii Five-0” cast and crew during the 175th episode. “It’s always a blast performing with the cast. We are all so grateful for the opportunity to shoot on location in Hawaiʻi, and it’s a surreal feeling with the ocean breeze and plumeria blossoms in the air,” wrote Packett. He thought being a part of the “historical 175th episode was epic.” This was his second time working with director Bryan Spicer, who also directed “ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make” (“Death Sentence”), and “the whole experience was very special.”
Packett was on set for four days shooting the bank robbery, his one-man invasion of Five-0 headquarters, and the get-away chase that ended with an amazing stunt car flip. One of his shooting days lasted almost 14 hours inside the downtown Bank of Hawaiʻi branch, which doubled as the fictional Bank of Oʻahu. “I got to know Beulah Koale (who plays Junior Reigns) and Ian Anthony Dale (who plays Adam Noshimuri) pretty well. Both are so humble and dedicated to their craft,” shared Packett. He said both actors are so “natural in front of the camera.”
His experience with series star Alex O’Loughlin was a new experience for him, as in his last two episodes he worked primarily with Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim. Caan actually tackled him in his first episode, and then he and Kim “interrogated” Packett in “Ka Hakakā Maika‘i” (“The Good Fight”). “When Alex joined the [bank] scene there was an obvious chemistry between [him, Koale, and Dale] because their comedic skills were in synch,” shared Packett.
“Working with Alex O’Loughlin was just as adventurous as it was intense. He is a personable guy with a magnetic energy about him, but when it came time to film the arrest scene we both clicked into character and became enemies. He had to knock me around a few times and shove me against the vehicle, but as soon as Bryan yelled ‘cut,’ Alex was so apologetic. It is clear how compassionate and considerate he is to all the talent on set, as well as [with] the fans. He even took time to meet some tourists from Australia and take few selfies with them between takes. I found it engaging to watch Alex get tips from the U.S. Navy SEAL expert on hand bringing authenticity to [his] every action,” shared Packett.
I asked him about other on set experiences and he spoke about the script and working with everyone on set, as well as members of the crew who he worked with on the last two episodes. ”What I enjoy about Peter Lenkov’s writing style is [how he handles the] fine balance between tension and humor which [we see] in the relationships on screen,” shared Packett. He also enjoyed meeting the newer cast members– Meaghan Rath and Chi McBride, who along with Koale and Dale, had not been cast during his first two episodes.
“Chi McBride . . . keeps everyone on their toes with his sense of humor. It made for a nice change of pace since in all of our scenes together [since most of the time] he [was] pointing a gun at me. It was also nice to see familiar faces like makeup artist, Jeff Dawn, and set costumer, Erika Aresta, who make me feel so welcome just like old friends,” wrote Packett in an email to me earlier this week.
Packett also appreciated being able to “team up with incredible stuntmen,” as he worked on the very intricate stunt that ended the episode. His story about working and acting with the cast and filming the stunt was amazing to hear.
“I’ve had stunt doubles for all three of my episodes, but this time I ran dangerously close to the automatic gunfire as I jumped into the getaway car. Even though they shoot blanks, the noise and heat was so startling. Being in the car just moments before it eventually hits a ramp and flies through the air was an exciting rush,” wrote Packett. When I spoke to him before Thanksgiving, he described the stunt in more detail, which he said was “the real deal.”
He gave a lot of credit to stuntmen Eddie Braun and Derek Graf who worked with him as his bank robbing crew. “These guys have over 300 film and TV credits between them, so I was in awe of their experience and sat back to watch them get down and dirty. We worked under the supervision of stunt coordinator Eric Norris and the second stunt coordinator, Paul Lacovara. Paul actually drove the air bound vehicle while being strapped in a NASCAR-like roll cage,” wrote Packett. He also detailed the stunt while we spoke on Wednesday and I could still hear his excitement about filming the detailed and Packett admitted “scary” stunt.
“Seven cameras were set up to capture each angle because this had to be done in one take. It was really perfect– it all worked out so well. After we filmed Chi and Alex chasing me out of the building and me getting into the car, Brian Spicer yelled cut and I got out and then it was just Paul driving the car. There were two cars involved, one was the car they used for all of us to get in and “get away,” and the other car was the stunt car for the flip. It was built more like a race car with the roll cage to protect Paul,” said Packett.
The actors had to wait for the stunt to be set up, and then once it started it was “It was true Hollywood magic . . . in Honolulu! The car screeched forward with powerful speed and spun through the air. After the car flipped and landed upside down, a hush came over the crowd before Paul emerged to a fanfare of fire extinguishers and applause. It was really perfect. Even the moment when the money fell out of the trunk worked perfectly,” said Packett.
Packett also spoke about having to then get back in the flipped car to be “pulled” out by McGarrett who is about to arrest him. He said that part was “intense,” as he had to crouch down and basically fold himself into the car like he had been in the flip and crash. He said he isn’t claustrophobic, but being inside the car where he couldn’t let himself out if he needed to was a bit nerve-wracking. But once Alex let him out and “arrested” him made the scene even stronger.
Besides his work on “Hawaii Five-0,” Packett has been super busy since his first episode in 2011. He has lived in Los Angeles for the last six years, and he “stays busy with various creative and educational endeavors.” He also has a recurring role on “Gray’s Anatomy” as an EMT Paramedic; and will play the “Customs and Border Patrol Officer” in the new Sci-Fi series, “Counterpart,” which will premiere in January 2018 on the STARZ network. He recently played a police officer in “Wisdom of the Crowd” which is scheduled to air in January 2018. “This time I play a good cop!” said Packett.
Packett also works as the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Drama Club and is a resident teaching artist specializing in Shakespeare, stage combat, and fencing. He is currently co-directing their production of ‘Julius Caesar’ which will open in February 2018. He also works with LAUSD as an enrichment teacher in fields ranging from Theatre Arts to Structural Engineering for the STAR Education Program. He volunteers as a Head Mentor for Young Storytellers, “an awesome non-profit organization that mentors elementary fourth and fifth graders on writing screenplays and filmmaking culminating in a performance of their scripts by professional actors,” wrote Packett.
He’s also involved in music and is one of the co-producers of the LA-based concert series, ‘A Little New Music’ which was recently nominated for ‘Best Special Theatre Event’ by Broadway World. As Packett has his MFA in acting from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has spent most of his career acting off-Broadway he made his Center Theatre Group debut in Lucas Hnath’s award-winning play, ‘The Christians,’ at The Mark Taper Forum.
Packett also has started a non-profit production company, along with two fellow actors, Esdras Touissant and Anniwaa Buachie, ‘Back to Black Media, “whose mission focuses on producing films, documentaries, and music videos illuminating the stories of immigrants, minorities including LGBTQ, and underserved communities. We recently produced our first music video which will be released in January 2018 on iTunes,” shared Packett.
While Packett is a busy actor, I still think amongst all his upcoming projects and work within his community, he still would have time to take over being Five-0’s new nemesis. We joked that meant his character would have to be broken out of jail in order to continue his reign of terror on Five-0, but that’s been done before for a few series villains. Packett’s character has all the qualifications– a past history with Five-0, a talent for getting past police barriers, and seeming ties to the underworld. The big shoes of a series villain need to be filled– and Packett again is the complete package.