#AlexOLoughlin Gets Candid About Why He’s Ready To Step Away From #H50


Alex O’Loughlin has led the charge as Steve McGarrett since the show’s 2010 debut, and is taking a rare moment of introspection on the CBS action drama’s prolonged success.

“There’s something to be said about the alchemy that happens, that’s there with every successful, long-running anything. If that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” the 40-year-old star tells ET of reaching the milestone in the seventh season. “We’re all very lucky that the chemistry, that the X factor was in there however it manifested itself because without that, we’re just a lot of hard work to not necessarily this end.”

In Friday’s landmark episode, a romantic dinner between McGarrett and his girlfriend, Lynn (Sarah Carter), is unceremoniously interrupted by his former love, Catherine (Michelle Borth), who abruptly vanished in season six. After learning from Catherine that his mother, Doris (guest star Christine Lahti), is being held hostage at an unknown CIA black site, so begins the fireworks.

O’Loughlin spoke to ET about the significance of reaching episode 150, why he’s ready to say goodbye to McGarrett for good and the one accomplishment he’s proudest of (hint: it has nothing to do with acting).

By ETOnline.com.

3 November 2016


ET: You’ve been with this character, Steve McGarrett, for seven seasons. Are you able to step back and appreciate the breadth of work you’ve been able to do on “Hawaii Five-0?”

Alex: One thing that I’ve never got to explore as an actor is just that, staying in the skin of a character year after year after year. When I talk about character work, I don’t really feel like i do much as an actor when I look at other great actors who win big awards for doing incredible transformations. I look at this character and go, “Well, what did he do really?” One of the things I have experienced, subjectively, is an ease and relaxation on a level that I’ve never experienced before so that when the cameras are rolling, the choices that come in are much more natural. There’s a subtlety to that that is disarming for me and enjoyable. It’s a highlight for me, those tiny moments that you don’t see but I feel.

ET: Is there an essence to McGarrett that you’re completely in tune with or do you feel you can flip on a switch and know exactly where he is at any given moment?

Alex: He definitely reacts differently to the way I react to things in my life; we definitely are different people. There definitely is a switch that goes on and when I’m looking at life through his eyes, I don’t have to think about his reactions, they’re kind of there second nature now in my body. But the thing about playing someone like that for that amount of time is if I need him in my life when the cameras aren’t rolling, I can hear [him], which is potentially useful and potentially dangerous. (Laughs.)


ET: This Friday, “Hawaii Five-0” reaches another milestone: episode 150. Do you put much stock in reaching these benchmark moments or is it another week in your work life?

Alex: Both. I can’t give it too much reverence because I’ve got to go the work, I’ve got to get up early, do the thing, go home and read to my kids before they go to bed and it’s just another day. It can’t be anything too crazy, otherwise what’s tomorrow mean? But on the same side of that coin, it’s incredibly significant. I’m never going to do this again. I physically f**king can’t be No. 1 on the call sheet on a network television for seven years again. My body won’t do it, you know? This show, with all the action that’s been required of me from the very beginning, this is it. This is a one-time deal for me. I’ve sat in deep reflection on that a couple of times since we shot [the 150th episode] and it’s not lost on me. I’m extremely proud of myself, I’m extremely proud of everybody who’s been involved in this show since its inception.


ET: Speaking specifically to the 150th episode itself, it’s far more family-oriented with the return of McGarrett’s mother, Doris. What excited you about exploring the tenuous relationship mother and son?

Alex: To have a show where I get to deal with two specific storylines, one where I deal with Catherine and Doris, is terrific because I had something to play and something to work with. They’re also the two most important relationships in his life outside the relationship with his sister, and resolution is critical with Catherine for [McGarrett] to move on with his life, which he now can [with Lynn]. And I think he got some sort of resolution with Doris as well by finally understanding what Catherine’s M.O. was. He was able to see his mother through Catherine now; Catherine has humanized Doris for McGarrett and now he can move on from the both of them.


ET: With Catherine in the past, how does all McGarrett went through affect his perspective on his relationship with Lynn now?

Alex: Who knows what’s going to happen with Lynn? She’s a cute girl, she’s funny, McGarrett likes her a lot, and she’s good in bed. I think that he’s now probably freed up to do whatever he wants. He’s going to do what he wants anyway but he’s cut the cord with Catherine and in a loving way. He’s always going to love her but now that she’s shown her hand as unavailable on a fundamental level, he knows to go back into something with her would be a suicide mission emotionally. He’s smarter than that. I think it’s a really healthy place that he’s in now; he can be discerning and his heart’s freed up.


ET: He and Catherine were at one point close to getting engaged. Is he turning over a new leaf and willing to settle down at some point?

Alex: I don’t know about any of that. (Laughs.) He was all but left at the altar, but they were a very real thing and he had the experience that he had [with Catherine]. I don’t think he’s going to rush into anything but I do think he’s going to have a good time with Lynn or whoever it is he’s going to hang around with because he’s not waiting for closure on a long relationship.


ET: You touched on the physical toll that “Hawaii Five-0” has taken on you over the years. Do you foresee an end date for you in the near future?

Alex: I have an end date. I signed two more years, seasons seven and eight, and then I’m done. (“Hawaii Five-0” has not been renewed for an eighth season yet.) I got too many injuries to contend with. This show is really important to me and I’m pretty sure the world can see that with what I bring. I really care about these characters, I’ve never phoned in my performances. Every single day, no matter how tired I am, I give it everything I can to make it as good as it can be but that takes a toll. I think if I’d have been an actor who didn’t care, I’d have less gray hair and I’d be a lot less tired. But I’m really tired. I do a lot of heavy lifting on the show, I have a harder schedule than anyone else but that’s just the way it is for number one. That’s cool, but it has to end.


ET: What are some of the injuries you’ve sustained?

Alex: My body’s pretty broken up. I got through most of them — the last surgery I had on my elbow I came to work the next day at 5:30 a.m., I just had them bandage my elbow. I’ve pushed through all of them but I’ve got a back injury now and this one’s really sort of slowed me down. It’s also forced me to look at my future and what I’ve realized is I want to be able to throw a football with my grandkids. I want to be moving my life — a TV show is not worth that.

ET: This may be difficult for you to answer since you’re still in the thick of things, but at the end of the day, what do you think will be the lasting thing that you’ll be proudest of?

Alex: As consuming a schedule and as the expectations on me continue on something like this, the husband and father that I’ve been able to maintain and continue to be is what I’m most proud of. The relationships I’ve had with my wife and children are what mean the most to me. It’s hard to maintain that when you’re doing a job like this. It’d be a lot easier if I was selfish and didn’t think about anyone in the hours that I have off. On the same side of that coin, having my wife and kids fills me and fuels me and gives me what I need to get out of bed the next day.

ET: You’ve got to keep that balance.

Alex: That’s right, and doing something like this is the most unbalanced thing I’ve ever done and that’s why we get paid really well for it is your whole f**king life is going to be upside down while you’re doing it, and I think that’s why there’s a finite cap. It’s a wonderful show and the audience deserves another year after this one.


My Thoughts

  • I think this a well balanced and honest interview.
  • I find it funny that Alex sometimes need Steve in his real life.
  • >>>> I physically f**king can’t be No. 1 on the call sheet on a network television for seven years again <<< – Of course you can Alex, just choose a less physically demanding role and don’t do too much. But I know that is easier said than done when you are Alex, who always choose to commit 100% in everything he does. I personally would also rather wish him something like Tom Selleck’s career after Magnum PI. Some great movies and maybe later in life, another successful series like Blue Bloods.
  • “They’re also the two most important relationships in his life outside the relationship with his sister” – I guess Alex regard the 3 women in Steve’s life (Doris, Catherine and Mary) as most important relationships for Steve ……… not other colleagues & friends and  characters that fans regularly want to suggest to be more important than his family and his actual long time lover!


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Hawaii Five-0, Interviews

18 responses to “#AlexOLoughlin Gets Candid About Why He’s Ready To Step Away From #H50

  1. gracenotpark

    I enjoyed this interview very much…so introspective. He’s a very sensitive, thinking man, our Alex. I love how he puts his family first in his heart, but physically, he meets all the worlds demands, bless him. I for one would be fine if McG took an easier road from now on. Alex has aged, so has SuperSEAL. If he hadn’t left the SEALs for 5-0, McG probably would be doing fewer ops these days anyway. I hope Show will write more carefully considering McG’s age and, um, liver condition. 🙄 I also love your take always for this interview, Foyeur, and I agree.

    There is one point Alex made that I actually disagree with. When he talks about the subtleties that he loves bringing to McG and says, “It’s a highlight for me, those tiny moments that you don’t see but I feel.” You’re wrong, dear Alex. We watch you, child! We really watch you. Those little glances, the small swallows, the slight physical hesitations, the look in your eyes…we see it all, and we know they all show us something going on inside McG’s head or his heart, and we love those moments! We get you, Alex. And you are magnificent! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perfectly said Grace!
      And yes, we see it! He is no ‘over-actor’, I love the little things he does, the subtleties that are yet so important. These are the things that make a character multi-dimensional and real. He makes the characters his own, he IS Steve, Mick, Luke, Michael, Kevin, Andy, Will…

      Liked by 1 person

    • G2F

      Grace, you’re so right about the small things that bring this character to glorious life. Some have criticized Alex for his subtlety but they’re probably the ones who feel that all out histrionics, (ala Shatner), are the way to approach the role. Rather, it’s those things you described, the hesitation, the look in his eyes, etc., that make his portrayal of McG such a fully-realized character in a show not necessarily known for its restraint or soft approach. His hard work is clearly evident. It brings the level of what could be something cartoonish to something that makes us want to watch it and him week after week. Lastly, his comments about what fuels him – relationship with wife and children – serve to illustrate that he is a good man as well as a skilled actor. Yes, he is magnificent.


    • I absolutely agree with both points 🙂


  2. “…as most important relationships for Steve ……… not other colleagues & friends and characters that fans regularly want to suggest to be more important than his family and his actual long time lover!” Perfect words are perfect! Thank you FOYeur.


  3. cwtshjan

    Well said Grace. Is it any wonder that so many of us love this man when he talks and feels and thinks the way he does.


  4. I agree when you say that Alex could definitely pick up another show after Five 0, as long as it is not as physically demanding as McG.

    Concerning his relationships, the McRolls supporters of course will pick that line as the one that stands out “the two most important relationships (plus his sister).
    Personally I was more in tune with this one “He’s always going to love her but now that she’s shown her hand as unavailable on a fundamental level, he knows to go back into something with her would be a suicide mission emotionally. He’s smarter than that. I think it’s a really healthy place that he’s in now; he can be discerning and his heart’s freed up.”
    I’m not saying he didn’t love her and maybe always will but it sounds like Steve is more than ready to move on.
    I guess the interpretation depends from what we would like to see in the show (or not see). I don’t think any is right or wrong, just different.


    • Totally agree with Alex and knowing that it is best for Steve to move on at this point in time.
      I am not a McRoll shipper, and my comment do not come from that. I just support the reality of the show.
      Alex see those three women as the most important ‘relationships’ in Steve’s life, because actual family and lovers are the closest to us in life. That is for those of us who live in reality and not in some fanfiction world of imaginary romantic realtion(ships) and imaginary families.
      We can love our friends, but they will never be as important as blood and those lovers we share our most intimate moments with for years and years.
      And here I am talking about friends like Danny (and Chin and Grover and Kone etc) and their families like Gracie vs blood, like Doris and Mary and lovers like Cath.
      I guess that is the difference how we see it lies between the fiction that the show portrays, against the fanfiction that some believe is the actual show……..


      • I understand what you mean. But what I’m trying to say is that there no “true reality” in a tv show. Some fans see the McRoll relationship as the “real one”. Some other fans see the McDanno relationship as the one with real feelings even though it’s not visibly canon. That’s the beauty of having a show as an escape from our daily reality, we can make it what we want it to be. I speak as neither McRoll nor McDanno shipper, but just as someone that enjoys evading the RL reality and fantasize on the tv show, on what we see as its reality but also on what we can imagine. To many of us the McRoll relationship stopped feeling “real” after season 3. And the constant coming back and disappearing again feels less real than the strong bond, brotherly and friendly or other that Steve have with Danno, Lynn and the other characters closest to him. I’m not really good at explaining my thoughts but I hope it makes a bit of sense now that I tried 😉


        • I agree, people can do whatever they want with their worlds and how they want to enjoy the show…..
          All I said from the beginning is that it is clear that Alex does not see the realationship between Danny (with Gracie) and Steve as the most important in his life. Some people clearly does not understand the wonderful deep love between friends and the importance of it vs importance of romantic lovers and also the love for actual family – but Alex does with this comment and also with what he said in an interview at SOTB (Alex: Oh mate, he always tells him that he loves him. They’re always like, “I love you buddy.” You know. But don’t you do that with your mates? I do it with all my mates.)

          You are changing the original subject of my comment on how Alex sees the character’s relationships, with you comment. And with it, are doing exactly what I said people are doing..

          And I will repeat my last sentence from the previous comment:
          I guess that is the difference of how we see it lies between the FICTION that the show portrays, against the FANFICTION that some believe is the actual show……..


  5. Lynne

    melting…..- great interview sigh


  6. Lulu

    Yes, Alex, we do see what you feel! He has always been good at expressing himself without words. I know he’s tired and hurt and H50 is coming to an end in a few years, but I will be sad if he doesn’t continue to be on the big screen (TV or movie). I need my Alex fix! (Sorry about the last post).


  7. Ally

    If it weren’t for Alex’s ability to convey his feelings without words, his portrayal of Steve would make this show less entertaining and like every other police drama. There’s a role he played on Criminal Minds years ago and the episode is excellent, but I hate to watch it because of the way he portrays the character. His character evokes sympathy despite what he is. I enjoy watching him act. He has made the remake of H50 enjoyable and that’s because he gives it 100%. I know we will see him in other things and taking on other projects.

    When reading some of the posts it made me realize how sad the character of Steve is. Alex has a point when he mentions the 3 most important relationships he has are with Doris, Catherine, and Mary. All of those he considers the closest to him are women and they are all emotionally unavailable for him. His friends are always there for him and he knows that and they are the family he’s created. However, it has to really affect a person when your blood relatives are not dependable and the woman you were considering spending the rest of you life with cannot offer you any emotions support or comfort. It’s tragic that when he was almost tortured to death by WoFat, Aunt Deb died, and he had to receive an organ transplant to live they weren’t there for him. Mary seems to have gotten her act together, but they have spent so much time apart they’re don’t have a close bond with each other.


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