For the last eight years, “Hawaii Five-0” has featured talented and interesting character actors in recurring guest roles. Sometimes these characters have returned in subsequent seasons to revive their character arcs within a storyline. While there is no proof that the fandom’s response to an actor’s performance causes their callback, it seems as if positive feedback toward a certain guest actor helps their subsequent return to Five-0.
This season is no different, but there were certainly a few guest actors who played characters that viewers loved, and want to see in the next season. Two recurring characters are new to the show– and several are past favorites. Sadly, one did not survive the season, but for the most part– the return of these recurring characters in season nine looks promising.
New friends- Eddie the Dog and Jessie Nomura
Eddie, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, made his debut in the third episode of season eight, “Nā lā ʻīlio” (“Dog Days”), and promptly moved into McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) home and into everyone’s hearts. While he is not listed as a recurring cast member, Eddie’s role as a police detection dog is one that the stunt dog fits into perfectly. Eddie, who is named after the legendary Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau, was saved by McGarrett after being shot in an ambush. Fans loved the sweet way McGarrett and Eddie bonded and how they both seemed to need each other. Eddie needed a new partner after his DEA handler was killed, and McGarrett needed a friend to help fill the emptiness of his home. Fans love Eddie and what he adds to the show– especially as McGarrett’s new roommate and as part of the Five-0 team.
We met Jessie Nomura, a former felon turned confidential informant by Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale), in “Na Keiki A Kalaihaohia” (“The Children of Kalaihaohia”). Played by Christine Ko, who guest starred in a six-episode arc from Jan. 20 to April 7, Jessie was brought into Five-0 to help Adam start an organized crime unit within the task force. Jessie went undercover and infiltrated Hideki Tashiro’s (Aaron Yoo) gang, and helped find the Yakuza boss intent on taking over in Hawaiʻi. Unfortunately, the information she brought to Adam caused her ultimate death. Jessie was killed by Adam’s half-sister, Noriko (Susan Park)– who also made off with Adam’s $20 million. Ko is a strong actress and played a tough ex-con, who bravely signed up for Adam’s solo mission, with believability and fierceness. Many fans were sad to see her unceremoniously shot in the head at the end of “ʻAʻohe mea make i ka hewa; make no i ka mihi ʻole” (“No one has ever died for the mistakes he has made; only because he didn’t repent”).
A familiar friend- Harry Langford
Harry Langford arrived in Hawaiʻi last season in “No ke aliʻi wahine a me ka ʻāina” (“For Queen and Country”) on a mission for the Queen– and helped McGarrett and Danny (Scott Caan) get their first medals for bravery. English actor Chris Vance plays the British MI6 agent, like a more relaxed version of James Bond. He’s much warmer, and not as tortured as his more famous Double-O counterpart. Langford returned in season eight to the calm shores of Oʻahu in “Kāu pahi, koʻu kua. Kāu pū, koʻu poʻo” (“Your Knife, My Back. My Gun, Your Head”)— this time, as a retiree. Bored with spending his pension on expensive champagne and beautiful women, he asks McG and Danno if he can ride along with them on a case, and ends up being a very valuable asset to the team.
Langford visited a second time this season in “Ahuwale ka nane hūnā” (“The Answer to the Riddle is Seen”) when he has to enlist McG and Danno to help him play bodyguard for Lady Sophie (Alana Boden)– who just happens to be thirty-fifth in line for the British throne. McGarrett and Danno not only help him babysit the bratty royal, they rescue her from being sold into a harem. They also realize that their friend’s security job is more of a family affair, as Lady Sophie is really Langford’s daughter. The men have truly established a bond, not only because of their similar lifestyles, but they all have been separated from loved ones because of their choice of profession. Vance may only have been in three episodes of “Hawaii Five-0,” but it is probably fair to say that fans would not complain if he returned for even more next season.
Friends from the past– Joe White and Catherine Rollins
Two familiar faces returned this season and both needed McGarrett’s help. Joe, played by Terry O’Quinn, is McGarrett’s SEAL mentor. Cath, played by Michelle Borth, is McGarrett’s former girlfriend turned CIA operative. Joe returned in “Ka lālā kaukonakona haki ‘ole I ka pā a ka makani Kona” (“The Tough Branch that Does Not Break in the Kona Gale”) when McGarrett joined Junior’s (Beulah Koale) former SEAL team. They have been sent to rescue Joe, who is being held captive in Nigeria. While McGarrett moves in to rescue the only father figure he has left after the death of his real father, John, he recalls the time when Joe saved his life in Afghanistan.
Cath, also returned this season in “He lokomaikaʻi ka manu o Kaiona” (“Kind is the Bird of Kaiona”) needing McGarrett to help her find a terrorist’s source of uranium on Kahoʻolawe. While Cath did not need to be rescued like Joe, both characters shared a few cathartic moments with McGarrett. Steve definitely got a chance to clear the air about the past with both Joe and Catherine. The storylines of O’Quinn and Borth’s return were far less angst-filled than they had been in earlier seasons. It was a smart change for both characters to have a positive reunion with Steve and Five-0.
Friends for life– Gerard Hirsch
By far one of the best-loved recurring characters has been Hirsch, a former art forger and illegal art dealer, played by the incomparable Willie Garson. Now a crime scene cleaner, and silent partners with Kamekona (Taylor Wily), Hirsch is more involved in Five-0’s world with his business and crime scene connections. Garson plays Hirsch as a loveable and quirky friend to Five-0. He respects them, even though they ended his life of cushy crime, because they are decent to him, and consider him a friend.
His return this season in “Ka lālā kaukonakona haki ‘ole I ka pā a ka makani Kona” (“The Tough Branch that Does Not Break in the Kona Gale”) gave the episode a good dose of comedic humor, which helped to balance out the scenes with McGarrett and Junior fighting in Nigeria and rescuing Joe White. Hirsch worked closely with Lou (Chi McBride) and Tani (Meaghan Rath) to re-appropriate art stolen by the Nazis and helped to return the paintings to their rightful owners. Fans loved watching him last season and his infatuation with Kono– but fans would also love seeing more of Garson’s character helping Five-0 in season nine.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her at Five0Redux@gmail.com.