Hawaii Five-0 episode 1 review: Pilot

Len Wiseman directs this latest attempt to update the classic series Hawaii Five-0. But how does it measure up to the original? Ti finds out…

First of all, I should say, I never really watched the original series of Hawaii Five-0. My knowledge of the series extends to that fact that I know it had Jack Lord in it, the instantly recognisable theme tune and the line “Book ‘em, Danno”, and that’s about it. I didn’t even know, going into this series, who Danno even was.

With that in mind, I approached the new series of Hawaii Five-0 with no preconceptions and, as such, was pleasantly surprised. The new series of Alex O’Loughlin (WhiteOut, The Shield) as Det. Steve McGarrett, a top Navy SEAL who is, at the beginning of the episode, tasked with transporting an Irish criminal out of South Korea, which looks strangely like Hawaii. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the criminal’s older brother (played by Buffy‘s James Marsters) phones up saying he’s holding Steve’s father (William Sadler of The Pacific and Shawshank Redemption fame) hostage. 

McGarrett’s convoy comes under attack and during the resulting firefight, Marster’s brother is killed. In retaliation, he executes McGarrett’s father and the young Navy SEAL is forced to go home to investigate the murder. Fortunately, his home is Hawaii!  Cue lots of shots of stunning scenery, picturesque beaches and lots of nubile lovelies in bikinis. 

Upon returning home, McGarrett is tasked by the governor (24‘s Jean Smart) to head up a task force that will be dedicated to hunting down criminals and bringing them to justice, and he is answerable only to her.

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Slowly but surely, McGarrett forms his team: former Hawaiian police officer Chin Ho Kelly (Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim), New Jersey cop Danny “Danno” Williams (Ocean’s 11‘s Scott Caan), who is now in Hawaii because that’s where he ex-wife has moved with his daughter, and rookie cop Detective Kona “Kono” Kalakaua (the ever lovely Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica). 

So, let’s get down to what people care about:

Yes, the original theme is back and it rocks! Yes, McGarrett says “Book ‘em Danno” and yes, Grace Park walks around a lot in next to nothing. It’s everything you could want from a cop show set in paradise that has to compete with the darker likes of CSI and Criminal Minds

The pilot is directed by Len Wiseman (Die Hard 4.0) and he handles the action scenes with aplomb, but like most cop shows, the heart of the action lies in the relationship between the partners and/or the team.

While this is the first episode, it shows promise with the amusing banter and bickering between McGarrett and Danno (courtesy of a script from Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek, Cowboys And Aliens), but only time will tell if it has the legs of the original series, which ran for twelve years. 

However, if they keep managing to get guest stars such as James Marsters and William Sadler, as well as throw in more gratuitous shots of Grace Park, then they’ll have secured a viewer in this writer.

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Seeing as the first episode drew over 14 million viewers in the US, it’s safe to say that, for the moment, Hawaii Five-0 is a bonafide hit and here to stay.