Since the demise of Wo Fat and Gabriel Waincroft, “Hawaii Five-0” has been seriously deprived of a series villain. Each season, various bad men and evil women have tried to fill those shoes– to no avail. Still, season eight gave us a few options that could be contenders for the coveted crown. The title of the series villain was once held by Mark Dacascos, who played McGarrett’s nemesis Wo Fat for five seasons, and Christopher Sean, who took over the helm as Gabriel Waincroft until his death in season six.
A series villain usually wants the downfall of Five-0, and focuses his– or her– vengeance on the defeat of McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his crew. In season seven and eight, we had two female villains who many considered for the title– Michelle Shioma (Michelle Krusiec) and Noriko Noshimuri (Susan Park). Both sought to take over organized crime in Hawaiʻi and end Five-0. Yet both females were considered Yakuza “bosses”– which is culturally incorrect, as well as completely unbelievable. Michelle Shioma was killed in prison at the start of season eight, and Noriko was murdered– possibly by her half-brother Adam (Ian Anthony Dale)– which vacated the throne once again.
In season eight, the best villains seemed to be focused on one member of Five-0, or at least on getting around the task force in order to seek their own kind of evil retribution. There were several baddies who fans seemed to enjoy watching. Many of the villains made this list because of their stellar performances, how they added good depth to the storylines, as well as how they drew out strong dramatic responses from series regulars.
Daniel Kaemon as Ray Gardner
Most fans would remember Kaemon as the villain who shot Danno (Scott Caan) in the Dec. 15 episode “I ka wā mamua, I ka wā mahope” (“The Future is in the Past”). As the Five-0 team is stuck in quarantine after being exposed to a deadly toxin, an unknown man breaks in brandishing a gun. He asks if Danny remembers him, and after Danny says that he doesn’t– he shoots Danny and then himself. McGarrett, Tani (Meaghan Rath), and Junior (Beulah Koale), with the help of Lou (Chi McBride) and Duke (Dennis Chun) on the outside, scramble to keep Danny alive. Once they are out, Jerry (Jorge Garcia) finds the gunman’s alias and his hotel room. The only clue he left behind is a photo of Danny, with the words “He deserved to die” written onto the picture.
For most of the season, we are clueless about the shooter’s identity. Until Danny’s Uncle Vito (Vincent Pastore), who is visiting from Jersey, admits that he recognizes the gunman as a guy he innocently bragged to about Danny living in Hawaiʻi. After Vito’s confession, the team identifies the gunman in “E hoʻokō kuleana” (“To do one’s duty”). When Danny was a patrol officer in New Jersey in 1998, he helped an abused wife, Brooke Gardner (Joanna Christie), escape from her husband– Ray Gardner. Ray blames Danny for taking away Brooke and sending him to prison. Kaemon was only seen in flashbacks in this episode, but his performance gave some realism to the rationale behind why anyone would want Danny dead. Kaemon is dark and sinister, but his emotional pain is evident in both episodes. He is not only a strong actor but how he gets Caan to react really allowed both actors to pull off powerful performances
Michael Weston as Oliver Mathus
Last week’s summer hiatus repeat was the episode, “Mōhala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua” (“Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers”), which features Weston as a character who suffers from dissociative identity disorder or DID. Olliver has several identities– one is his 5-year-old self, Ollie, and another is a more violent identity named Patrick. As a result of therapy and medication, Patrick, a version of Oliver’s father who was a dishonored HPD officer, has been kept at bay. When his mother dies unexpectedly– Oliver goes off his meds, and Patrick becomes unhinged.
The team brings in Alicia Brown (Claire Forlani) to help reach Ollie in order to disarm Patrick. Even when Weston plays the young Ollie identity, it is quite believable, and not just an actor speaking in baby-talk. The stronger Patrick character is just as frightening as how sweet and innocent Ollie is with Alicia. Really, it is Weston’s strong acting that made the part come to life and helped the episode be more impactful than just a typical case of the week.
Kila Packett as Dave Lockhart
One of the coolest villains this season had to be Packett’s return to “Hawaii Five-0” as Dave Lockhart in the 175th episode, “Kau ka ʻōnohi aliʻi i luna” (“The Royal Eyes Rest Above”). Packet, a Hawaiian actor who lives in Los Angeles, shared his Five-0 experience and pictures from the set with the fans, played Lockhart in two other episodes prior to season eight.
What made Packett’s performance so great, was the way he played Lockhart as someone who has his own intel on the Five-0 team. He knows his way around their headquarters– having been there as a suspect before– and he knows how McG and his crew operate. When he casually makes his way into the building, gives a confident salute to the officers at the metal detectors, and swaggers into the elevator to silence his inside man so McGarrett can’t find the $10 million he just stole– it shows us exactly what kind of villain Lockhart has become.
James Hong as Triad Boss Jin Leung
The last bad guy is not a true villain for the Five-0 team, but he is not a good guy either, as he is an organized crime boss. Veteran actor Hong’s performance in “Ka hana a ka mākua, o ka hana no ia a keiki” (“What parents do, children will do”) as Jin Leung was a mix of both good humor and strange eccentricity. It was fun to watch him try to recreate a classic Bruce Lee scene from “Way of the Dragon” with a shirtless Danno fighting Leung’s nephew as the movie plays on a screen behind them. Still, he gives McGarrett the intel he needs to solve their case of the week, which made Jin Leung more of a good guy than just another weekly villain.
We know that McGarrett and Five-0 try and stay on the right side of the law, so even though Jin Leung helps them if he is caught doing something more deadly than mimicking Bruce Lee– the team would have to bring him in, regardless of their friendlier past. It is why Hong’s character would make a great series villain. If they allowed him to be more evil than campy, it could work. Hong certainly has the right experience and ability to play a series villain– and everyone would find him both likable, as well as someone to fear. Because even though we shouldn’t side with the villain– we want to like and love him. Really, any series villain should be a character we can enjoy as much as we do our series hero– perhaps with a little less love, but with just the right amount of admiration.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her at Five0Redux@gmail.com.