In each season of “Hawaii Five-0,” there have been many guest stars who have added their share of star power and dramatic strength to the series. This year is no different, except for the fact there were quite a few guest actors who made an impact on the storylines of the ninth season. Guest stars are actors who are in one episode during the season. While sometimes these actors return in subsequent episodes to play the same role, this focus is on those characters who were in a single episode.
Some of the ninth season’s guest stars are legendary actors and entertainers, and others are known for their work on other series. Several of them made an impact by delivering powerhouse performances and a few helped to develop the overall character arcs of the main cast members — which makes a guest star far more memorable.
BRING ON THE LEGENDS
“Hawaii Five-0” is no stranger to hosting stars who are legends in the entertainment world. This season, fans loved seeing Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. and the “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight play Lou Grover’s (Chi McBride) parents Percy Sr. and Miss Ella in the Thanksgiving episode, “Lele pu na manu like” (“Birds of a Feather…”). Gossett and Knight were wonderful — especially in scenes with grandson Will (Chosen Jacobs). The interplay between Percy and Ella was another sweet addition to the episode and helped to offset the tension between sons Lou and Percy Jr. (recurring cast member Clifton Powell).
The other legend to grace McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny’s (Scott Caan) world with her mere presence was British actress Joan Collins, who played Danny’s former mother-in-law, Amanda Savage. Amanda is in Hawaii to see her grandchildren, Grace and Charlie, and to promote her latest romance novel. She demands that McGarrett and Danny act as her personal bodyguards during her book tour. The episode had its fair share of humor, especially as we watched Amanda shower McGarrett with compliments and continue to criticize Danny as if he were still married to her daughter. When Amanda finally puts away her Alexis Carrington persona and tells Danny what a good man he is, it was a scene where Collins and Caan were both able to shine.
There were several powerful performances delivered by guest actors this season, and these actors made a definite emotional impact not only within the episode they starred in but also with the viewers. The most dramatic performances came from Tim Lounibos who played Mr. Chen, the father of a dead former baseball player, and J.J. Soria who played Tory, a bank robber and current boyfriend of Junior Reign’s (Beulah Koale) high school sweetheart, Layla (recurring cast member Anna Enger).
Lounibos is so real as a grieving father, it was tough to not get choked up while watching him tell his son’s story to Lou and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) so they could investigate the baseball player’s death. It was one of the most believable reactions to a death we’ve seen in a guest star. Soria was just as believable as a misled criminal who only wants to participate in a deadly bank heist in order to provide a better life for Layla and their son Kai. It is heartbreaking to watch his final scene as he tells Junior how he can’t let his son grow up seeing him in prison. Both performances definitely stood out above the rest.
BRINGING OUT THE BEST OF FIVE-0
Several actors made an impact this season, not just because they delivered strong performances but they also brought out the best in the main cast. In “Aia i Hi‘ikua; i Hi‘ialo” (“Is Borne on the Back; Is Borne in the Arms”) two guest stars stood out, mainly because of their scenes with McGarrett. Actor Eddie Cahill, best known for playing Don Flack for nine seasons on “CSI: NY,” played Carson Rhodes, a former SEAL brother of McGarrett’s, and Nazneen Contractor also guest stars in the same episode as NCIS Agent Emma Warren, who is sent to Hawaii to investigate Rhodes’ death.
Cahill is really strong in his scenes as his character shares a poignant moment with McGarrett days before he dies trying to save the life of a baby. McGarrett disagrees with how Contractor’s character is investigating his buddy’s death, and when he tampers with evidence she arrests him. Both characters give McGarrett several good moments where he could express his sadness about his friend’s death, and a chance to show his comedic side. The scene when Danny brings Warren a letter from the governor to bail out McGarrett, but not before he enjoys a moment seeing McGarrett in handcuffs, was one of the funniest scenes of the season.
Bob Hiltermann is another guest star who gave Ian Anthony Dale’s character Adam a chance to shine. Hiltermann plays Hal, a homeless deaf man, who Adam befriends. Hiltermann is actually a deaf actor and gives the role of Hal natural authenticity. The scenes between Hal and Adam were both real and honest, as well as a testament to forgiveness and second chances. It seems interesting to most viewers that guest stars can bring about these kinds of emotions, even if they are only present in one episode.