by Kacie Lillejord
for 25YL’s Perfect Pilot Series19 December 2019
While there are many great shows out there, only a few of them have a perfect beginning—the kind that draws you in immediately and leaves you wanting more. In 25YL’s Perfect Pilots series, we will be looking at pilot episodes we think are flawless. This week Kacie Lillejord looks at the pilot of Hawaii Five-0.
Hawaii Five-0premiered on CBS in 2010. It was the reimagining of the beloved classic series of the same name, which ran from 1968 to 1980. Of course, in 2010 a few things had changed: Kono’s character was cast as a woman and the look was modernized, but that hasn’t stopped viewers from loving it since day one.
For most, Hawaii is paradise. Gory crimes and real-life problems seem like a thing of the mainland, but for the Five-0 team, it’s very real and usually on a daily basis. The show has a way of making paradise into something else for the purpose of its storylines, but it retains the Hawaiian scenery and culture at its core, evening out whatever horror may have befallen the Five-0 team that week.
Hawaii Five-0 has changed cast several times in the last few years, but for the first year and its following six seasons, we had the main characters of Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan), Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim of Lost), and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park). The pilot episode introduces them all, bringing them together to form what would become Five-0.
We are first introduced to Steve McGarrett in South Korea. He is a Commander in the Navy, naturally a tough-looking kind of guy, riding in a convoy and being heckled over his childhood home of Hawaii by Anton Hesse (Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead), a terrorist that he has been after for some time.
It’s clear that Anton is up to something, and when Steve receives a phone call from his father, he’s placed in a bad situation. Halfway across the world in Oahu, his father is in peril at the hands of Anton’s brother, Victor, who wants to trade Steve’s father for his brother. Steve passes a note to a team member to get the local police to his father’s house while he remains on the line with Victor, trying to attempt a negotiation.
Steve’s father basically says goodbye, apologizes for lying to him (Steve has no idea what this is in reference to), and tells him that he loves him. Seconds later, Steve’s convoy is under fire thanks to Victor, who had been tracking him through the phone. Steve does his best to prevent Anton’s death but is forced to kill him, thus ruining any chance he had of negotiating with Victor.
Victor calls Steve back, confirming the death of his brother, and Steve hears the kill shot as his father dies on the other end of the line, screaming a grief-stricken “NO!” before the opening credits roll.
We’re back in familiar territory as Steve lands in Hawaii, dressed in uniform, and meets with the Governor of Hawaii, Pat Jameson (Jean Smart). As she puts it, the death of Steve’s father was a wake-up call. She wants to create a task force to go after guys like Victor Hesse and asks Steve to lead it. She offers full immunity and means—the opportunity for Steve to take out bad guys his way with her support. Yet, believing her intentions are political, Steve passes on the offer and then runs into Chin Ho Kelly.