#H50 – a Perfect Pilot?

Hawaii Five-0: Action in Paradise Makes a Serious Comeback

by Kacie Lillejord

for 25YL’s Perfect Pilot Series

19 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.

The Beginning

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.

The Middle

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.


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Hawaii Five-0

7 responses to “#H50 – a Perfect Pilot?

  1. stevemcgarrettlover

    I definitely loved the pilot, and think that the progression of the cast since then, with new people, old people leaving, and the personality changes of everyone is awesome. I can’t wait for more episodes with the best actor ever, and the best cast and crew. Also, the discussion of how Steve and Danny met is always and will continue to be hysterical!😋😁 And, Alex looks just as hot now, as in the pilot..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cassiopea 1000

    What a coincidence! As we are still waiting for S9, as a Xmas present they started to air again S1, so the pilot is very fresh in my mind. That is was a perfect pilot is undeniable, so let’s not linger on this point.

    Now to your thoughts and questions:
    I had not realized it before, but it’s true that the “Book’em, Danno” has gradually disappeared and for good. Why I don’t know, but I’m not sure I understand you when you say that Alex & Scott never really like or embraced it. Do you mean they would have minded it as actors if they had had to go through it once in a while?

    I personally think that the pilot is one of the best epis in all these years. It was good because it kept us glued to the screen, leaving us panting for more H50, but it was bad because it was extremely difficult to maintain such a level of excellence throughout that season and the following ones.

    They certainly did not make the most out of all the stories that were suggested in that epi. The Champ box only was a mine from which many stories could have been built. That box suddenly disappeared from the show and we’ll never know what John McG was keeping in it and why. (BTW, we’ll never know either why Laura Hill returned some of the items to Steve. She was aware of the danger of helping him and was actually killed for it, so she must have had a very good reason.).

    Mary was introduced in the pilot, during John’s funeral, only the scene was cut, who knows why. She was reintroduced later, and so was Catherine. In my opinion, that was not a bad idea, especially as Cath is concerned. It gave us time to become acquainted with the main characters before new relevant ones were introduced.

    That the show is filmed in Hawaii certainly poses a problem as to the availability of recurring supporting characters and this, of course, can affect the continuity of storylines, but only if there are ten at a time. Tom Sizemore/Fryer, for instance, had his own condensed storyline. The same for Melanie Griffith/Clara. Others could have been devised, just to bring “new blood” to the show. Of course you can’t have an actor/actress flying from the mainland for a scene or two from time to time if the story is going to develop over a long period of time. It’s not only expensive, it’s tiring for the actor.

    The pilot was centered on Steve and his life, and in my opinion, it should have remained so. After all, there are hundreds of cop shows. Of course, the H50 team had to do cop work to account for their existence, but what made it different at the beginning was Steve’s personality. He’s now a regular cop, solving crime after crime as if he were an accountant submitting his balance sheet month after month. Where is the SEAL who had immunity and means, whose leadership and authority were unquestionable? That was the character we all fell for.

    As to Alex’s future, who knows but him? His love for Hawaii might very well be crucial as to his career. He has hinted several times that he doesn’t want to be an actor any more. Is being Steve boring him? Is he now more interested in writing and creating, and that he can do in Hawaii? Would he agree to be an actor in a movie, even if it was filmed in NYC or wherever, since a movie is a 3 months affair and he could be willing to make the sacrifice to be far from his family and island? Who knows but him?


  3. mamayorkie

    This show will continue to be renewed as long as :
    1. It continues to make money for the Network.
    2. The main cast makes salary and work schedule demands
    acceptable to the Network.
    3. There is a spot on the schedule for an aging show which is
    considered to have better ratings than other aging shows owned by
    the network and which can be sacrificed first.

    The operative word here is Network and its bottom line is profit.

    And yes, I loved the Pilot but the years have brought some changes which i do not like. The Steve McGarrett of the Pilot and some of his personality changes in recent years make him seem as though he has an alternate personality in there. That’s the “Steve” version that comes out when he does something totally out of character for him which may just be the result of new writers who have never watched earlier episodes and don’t really know who McG is. The guy we know would never let something unhealthy pass his lips but now he is on a sugar mission. Maybe all that stress eating is a result of not being able to get a date on his own. And his propensity to hand out H50 badges without vetting his new hires is troublesome. Plus, he can’t seem to keep himself or his team members from getting kidnapped. This man was in Naval Intelligence and a Navy S.E.a.L. The other Steve personality must be doing the thinking there.

    As for the champ box, i consider that a major disappointment. There was so much more that we could have been told but it was dropped, just like the Notebook Doris hid under the floor boards which was not shared with us. (That was a great hiding place. No one heard the creaking floor board for twenty years. I wonder if Steve keeps stuff there now? )

    So that brings us to Danny. I liked him in the early episodes and felt his character added something to the show. That was then. But now, I never miss him when he has his numerous –not present or almost not present– episodes. He has become nasty and mean spirited whenever he speaks so it is the writers who have determined to make this character irrelevant. Junior has taken his place as Steve’s backup on important missions.

    Happy New Year to all. I think it will be a wonderful one for all of us.


  4. Cassiopea 1000

    Yes, what happened with Doris’notebook?
    FOYeur, we –that is, you– could start a post with the myriad of unanswered questions, the dropped mouth-watering disclosures, the incongruities, inconsistencies and gross mistakes in scripts and the like. Completing the list should keep us busy for many weeks! Very useful when Alex chooses to go into invisibility mode and there are no news.


  5. Still one of the best crime pilots ever! Such a good baddie, Sang-Ming (they ruined him – later 😦 )
    So much potential, so much awesomeness! So much ALEX!

    One of my fav scenes:
    1) Steve in the humvee when he realises, Hess has his father
    2) Coming to Hawaii in the plane, his eyes
    3) Meeting Danny for the first time, so much antsy-ness
    4) Hess and McG – fight
    5) So many booboo’s and injuries, hurt Steve looks great (I’m dark-twisted, sorry)

    As most of the series, in the beginning there is so much to explore, but it get’s “had&done” as the seasons come!

    Except ALEX, he never fails to amaze!
    So handsome, so much hotness, so much strutting, so many poses, so much fun, so much of everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see you first 2 comments landed in our spam files for some reason – not sure why. 😦 But because they are the same as this one, I will just delete them 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.