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Five-0 Redux

Friendship is what gives ‘Hawaii Five-0′ solid foundation

    Ian Anthony Dale as Adam Noshimuri in "Hawaii Five-0."
    Jorge Garcia as Jerry Ortega in "Hawaii Five-0."
    Dennis Chun stars as Sgt. Duke Lukela in "Hawaii Five-0"
    Kimee Balmilero as Dr. Noelani Cunha in "Hawaii Five-0."

Friendship, or pilialoha to Hawaiians, is one of the major themes of “Hawaii Five-0.” This theme is very obvious in every episode, as it is the tight bonds of friendship that kept the Hawaii Five-0 team together and allowed them to protect and love each other. The aloha between Steve McGarrett and the Five-0 Task Force — which includes their extended ʻohana — is what helped to create a team that has lasted for eight seasons.

Over the years, the Five-0 team has grown from the original core four of McGarrett, Danno (Scott Caan), Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), and Kono (Grace Park), to include other members —most recently, Capt. Lou Grover (Chi McBride) and Jerry Ortega, played by Jorge Garcia. Last season, McGarrett added Adam Noshimuri, played by Ian Anthony Dale to support the Five-0 Task Force in a separate division which investigated organized crime. Adding to the ʻohana, has always been members of HPD, specifically Sgt. Duke Lukela, played by Dennis Chun, as well as the medical examiner, Dr. Noelani Cunha, played by Kimee Balmilero.

Jerry, Adam, Duke, and Noelani have a specific skill set which has helped the Five-0 team to investigate and close their cases. All four have come through for McGarrett and his team, sometimes when they have needed it the most.

It is this kind of pilialoha that Five-0 shares with each other and members of their ʻohana. It also is the reason why they are all integral to the strength and success of the team. Hawaiians relied upon each other to survive living on an island. No man or woman could make it day to day without their family and community to support them. They clung to each other in good times and bad. In Hawaiian, pili means “to cling” and aloha means “love and affection.” There is no better way to describe the friends who have joined and continue to support the Five-0 Task Force.

Jerry Ortega
Jorge Garcia’s character, Jerry Ortega, is a conspiracy theorist who attended high school with Hawaii Five-0’s Chin Ho Kelly — and shared Mathlete and band geek status with the Kukui High alum — has aided Hawaii Five-0 since season five. In season six, McGarrett hired Jerry as a special consultant to Hawaii Five-0 and allowed him to set up an office in an empty file storage room in the basement of their headquarters. Jerry’s talents lie in his ability to think outside the box and come up with alternate ways of looking at a case, and thus finding the answers that are not always on the surface.

Jerry is also an expert on technology and using all kinds of spy equipment to find even those who do not want to be found. This came in handy in season seven when he and Noelani sent Duke and HPD to save McGarrett and the team from Michelle Shioma and the Yakuza. Because of his actions, Jerry was officially added to the Hawaii Five-0 team and given his official badge.

In season eight, Jerry stepped out into the field and joined McGarrett and former Five-0 team member, Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth), in their search for uranium on Kahoʻolawe in “He lokomaikaʻi ka manu o Kaiona” (“Kind is the Bird of Kaiona”). Jerry actually joins them because he thinks that Cath has a lead to finding the burial site of Kamehameha I. Jerry understands that if Cath’s clue to find the uranium, a lei niho palaoa supposedly buried with the royal bones of Kamehameha I, is real and he finds where Kamehameha I was buried — it would be the end to a 200-year-old mystery.

Sadly, Jerry finds that the lei niho palaoa is a fake. It is a Chinese reproduction that washed ashore on Kahoʻolawe, but he does again help McGarrett and Cath stop a major terrorist cell who had been using the Target Island to make dirty bombs. It wasn’t the find of the century for Jerry, but it was another way he used his unique skills to help Hawaii Five-0.

Adam Noshimuri
This season, Adam joined the Hawaii Five-0 team — not as the husband of former team member Kono — but as a full-fledged member, albeit working undercover to investigate organized crime. Adam is asked by McGarrett in “Ka hopu nui ʻana” (“The Round Up”) to find out the identity of the “big fish” who assassinated all of the Hawaiʻi underworld bosses — feasibly to make way for one who would take over the organized crime syndicates on Oʻahu. Adam recruits one of the most beautiful ex-cons to walk out of the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua, Jessie Nomura (Christine Ko). Jessie joins Adam who offers her payment as well as a more substantial purpose in life.

While Adam and Jessie worked independently of McGarrett and Hawaii Five-0, they did get some help and guidance — yet it seemed Adam was way over his head. He spent a lot of this season either getting beat up by his protege or over his head with big decisions and not enough back-up. While he tried very hard to find out who the major player was — in reality, it was Adam who was the clue to the identity of the Big Boss — as she turned out to be his half-sister, Noriko (Susan Park). After Jessie is killed in “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”), Adam tells McGarrett that he is done and will return to the continent to be with Kono. He doesn’t want anyone else hurt by his investigation.

Adam certainly stepped up this season — helping McGarrett with two cases before he was even asked to join the task force. But now it seems he might need his Hawaii Five-0 ʻohana to help him out of a bigger jam —  as it seems as if he may have either killed Noriko, or he is being set up for her murder. Either way, Adam has been a part of Hawaii Five-0 since season three when he saved Kono from a watery grave. And he wouldn’t be the first member of the team to kill someone to save their family members from harm. Adam has sacrificed himself in the past for Kono — so it would not surprise me if he did kill Noriko to save his family — and end more troubles for Hawaii Five-0. Still, Tani (Meaghan Rath) finding the gun that killed Noriko randomly left in Adam and Kono’s kitchen junk drawer, was a little too easy. We just hope everyone continues to trust in Adam and believe his actions and commitment to Hawaii Five-0.

Sgt. Duke Lukela
Dennis Chun’s Sgt. Duke, at first only seen in his utility uniform aiding Hawaii Five-0 at crime scenes and in HPD headquarters, definitely moved up to become an extended member of Hawaii Five-0 in season three. When Duke helped McGarrett, Chin, and Danno protect Kono who was being framed for murder, he went from being their HPD liaison to part of their ʻohana. While Duke has always had Hawaii Five-0’s back in any situation — it was nice when we started seeing him show up in Aloha shirts at Hawaii Five-0 holiday and informal gatherings. He is definitely one member of HPD they know cannot be bought off and who they trust with their lives.

While Duke has certainly come through for McGarrett and the team in the past, it looks like it’s Duke who will need Hawaii Five-0 to back him up now. Last season, In “Kōpī wale no i ka iʻa a ʻeu no ka ilo” (“Though the fish is well salted, the maggots crawl”), Duke was forced to break the law, and ruin his career when he steals evidence from HPD in order to rescue his granddaughter, Akela (Cidni Romias). While this is such an unusual move for the steadfast Duke, it is not something that causes McGarrett to write him off. He knows Duke, he trusts Duke and is going to help him save his moʻopuna.

We’re hopeful that Duke will not be punished too severely for his actions — as his family was threatened and he was forced to take matters into his own hands. Duke probably acted alone so that he would be the only one harmed — he did not want his daughter and granddaughter harmed and he didn’t even want McGarrett and Hawaii Five-0 in danger. Yet we do know that no matter the outcome, Duke will always be a part of the team — even if he’s wearing an Aloha shirt instead of his uniform to support them.

Dr. Noelani Cunha
The newest member of the Hawaii Five-0 ʻohana, Noelani seems to have become not only a person who helps the team solve cases with evidence and forensic facts — she also has become their on-scene medic of sorts. More often than not, when a team member is hurt they call Noelani to stitch them up and take care of their wounds. Which is helpful when you have a team that includes McGarrett, who likes to jump off of bridges and roofs, as well as Tani and Junior (Beulah Koale) who will do just about the same.

Noelani is one member of the team who everyone trusts. She takes her job as seriously as their friend, and former Medical Examiner, Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka) did for the first seven seasons of “Hawaii Five-0.” While she’s not as quirky as Max, her darling demeanor has added a less cynical side to the team. We all waiting for more of her backstory and hope that will come in season nine.

We did love seeing her “borrow” Eddie to get a date “Ka lālā kaukonakona haki ‘ole I ka pā a ka makani Kona” (The Tough Branch that Does Not Break in the Kona Gale”) and trying to cover up her dating desperation from McGarrett. But when the team needs her — she’s right there with them, helping them solve puzzles, put together the pieces, and even sharing in their grief. When McGarrett struggles with the death of FBI Agent Fischer (Kip Pardue) and Adam is horrified by Jessie’s murder — it is Noelani who gives them the space to mourn. She of all people understands death and all of its implications. She also seems to also understand friendship and ʻohana and how it works when you are a part of the Five-0 team.

Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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