Most of us know that “ohana” means family in Hawaiian, but the word is also used to describe a feeling of being a family, even if blood is not shared between the members. In “Hawaii Five-0” the word is often used in reference to the members of the team, as well as their lovers and spouses, their children, and relatives. Yet when it comes to the friends who sometimes assist the team in their many adventures — they are also included in the Five-0 ohana.
All members of the extended ohana are recurring characters who have been with the series for several seasons. A few have been recurring since season one and all add something more to McGarrett’s world and “Hawaii Five-0.” Many started as guest stars and then became recurring cast members because of fan reaction and love of their characters.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
Two recurring cast members whose characters certainly follow in the rogue footsteps of McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) are Frank Bama, played by legendary musician and author, Jimmy Buffett, and Harry Langford, played by British actor, Chris Vance. Bama is a former Vietnam pilot and is usually the one McGarrett calls when the team needs to fly outside of Five-0’s jurisdiction. Bama returned in the season nine finale to toast the sad death of fellow brother in arms, Joe White (Terry O’Quinn).
Harry Langford is a former MI6 agent who befriended McGarrett and Danny (Scott Caan) in season seven, and he returned this season to help McGarrett find Agent Greer and avenge Joe’s death in “Hala i ka ala hoʻi ʻole mai” (“Gone on the road from which there is no returning”).
Both Buffett and Vance are perfect in their roles on “Hawaii Five-0.” Bama is almost too perfect as the slipper-wearing pilot who gives McGarrett guitar lessons and always seems to have a drink in his hand. He is way too laid back to be flying Five-0 on unsanctioned missions to North Korea and Columbia with the threat of capture, torture, and death hanging over them. For Frank Bama, everywhere he lands is Margaritaville and he is always up for the ride.
Vance plays Langford with panache, sharp wit, and a killer smile that belies some personal pain and regret. He teams up well with McGarrett and Danny, as he shares several similarities with both men. It’s always fun when Langford returns to ask for help or aid his American friends.
Other recurring characters who will always be friends of Five-0 even if they didn’t always start out that way: Gerard Hirsch played by Willie Garson and Dog the Bounty Hunter played by Duane “Dog” Chapman. Chapman basically plays himself as the famous bounty hunter and is more of a friend and an associate to the team.
Garson plays a former art forger who the team befriends as he starts a second career cleaning crime scenes. His scenes are full of humor and he often is used as a confidential informant as the team uses his knowledge of art and forgery to help them solve cases.
While Dog has yet to assist Five-0 since he first appeared in season three, he is often seen at Five-0 family gatherings, parties, and poker games. Naturally, he gets along well with McGarrett’s dog Eddie, and has taken care of Charlie (Zach Sulzbach) for Danny. This season we saw Dog briefly when he skipped a golf game with Lou Grover (Chi McBride) on one of the hottest days of the year.
OHANA MEANS FAMILY
Three recurring characters have become dear to the hearts of fans because of their close relationship with McGarrett — Joe White, played by Terry O’Quinn, Nahele Huikala played by Kekoa Kekumano, and Mamo Kahike by Al Harrington. Sadly, Quinn’s character was killed in the fall finale, “Pio ke Kukui, Po‘ele ka Hale” (“When the Light Goes Out, the House Is Dark). Kekumano and Harrington where only seen in one episode this season during the Thanksgiving episode when the team gets together for their annual flag football game.
The passing of Joe White hit fans as hard as it did McGarrett. The loss of McGarrett’s father figure and the last connection to his mother was difficult for him to take. Fans have had a love hate relationship with Joe since he emerged in McGarrett’s life, but these last two seasons he has certainly been seen as someone who truly loved McGarrett.
Nahele has thrived under McGarrett’s mentorship and while working for Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) at the Shrimp Truck. His scenes tend to show him with the team as another true member of the ohana. Mamo is much the same — appearing at poker games and during family gatherings. He is always willing to give his manaʻo and sage opinions to McGarrett — especially during the highly competitive Thanksgiving football game.
Both Mamo and Nahele add a touch of aloha spirit to the ohana and are always an added welcome to the episodes. Fans always notice their appearance. Harrington was present at this year’s Hawaiian blessing and we hope that means we’ll be seeing Mamo again in season ten.