After 10 seasons, CBS says goodbye to restarting Hawaii Five-0… Or more appropriately, “Aloha”, which is the title of the final hurray for the reinvention of the classic series by Leonard Freeman. In the series finale, it looks like it’s all over for McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) as he says “see you later” – not “goodbye” to his ohana.
The episode continues McGarrett’s journey with this mysterious figure that his mother Doris left – and it turns out that the evil wife of Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) Daiyu Mei (Eugenia Yuan) wants it because she knows something on the mysterious figure that McGarrett does not know.
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In order to get the figure, Daiyu Mei kidnaps Danny (Scott Caan) and his morons torture him. They meet in the middle of nowhere (as you do) and she makes a deal with McGarrett: Danny’s figure. Before accepting, he asks him to prove that he is not dead. Thanks to the magic of face to face time (relevant to today’s social distancing), McGarrett sees Danny tied up and bloody, but he warns him “Don’t trust him! “
McGarrett accepts the deal. He gives her the number and she gives him the coordinates of where Danny is being held captive by his goons. As McGarrett and Lincoln (Lance Gross) rush to Danny’s location, Daiyu Mei calls his goons and makes sure that when McGarrett arrives, they will be greeted by Danny’s body. McGarrett looks like he should have heeded Danny’s warning.
Fortunately, Danny escapes and leads a good fight against his captors but is seriously injured while doing so. McGarrett and Lincoln find him and immediately take him to the hospital – but it doesn’t look right.
As McGarrett prays in the hospital chapel to take him to Danny’s place, Lincoln says, “We need to understand this encryption mess before it’s too late.” McGarrett agrees and sends him and Quinn (Katrina Law) to find a contact who can decipher the number – but when they finally reach him, he’s dead. Daiyu Mei strikes again! But that doesn’t stop Lincoln – he has another contact who could help them.
Fast forward to indefinitely later and Lincoln calls McGarrett and says, “Hey! We have decoded the figure and its coordinates. McGarrett plugs it into the coordinate finder and it turns out that these are the coordinates of a cemetery where his mother is said to be buried. Of course, we all know that she faked her death – and even that is still pending. In the coffin is a bunch of money – and the boys from Daiyu Mei took everything.
In the final showdown between the Five-0 Daiyu Mei’s crew and group McGarrett comes face to face with her and breaks it down. Using a flashback with familiar faces, including Wo Fat, Victor Hesse (James Marsters) and McGarrett’s captive father, John (William Sadler), she claims that Wo Fat deserved this legacy that was in the coffin. They share a joke back and forth as we see a flashback of his beaten and tied father as Wo Fat tells him he wants something from McGarrett – which is obviously that figure. It turns out that his death may not have been staged after all. Everything was a plan for Wo Fat – and now Daiyu Mei – to get that money.
“You are your father! Daiyu Mei tells McGarrett before he tells Lincoln to book it.
A week later, Danny is on the right track and sharing a moment with McGarrett, who is expected to leave the island to “seek peace.” Where it is, it’s not really known. One by one, he says goodbye to everyone in tears in the Five-0 – even the dog is sad.
When he gets on the plane, Danny sends him an SMS: “I miss you already”, then he looks up and he is greeted by – surprise! – Catherine (Michelle Borth). It turns out that she was the one who helped Lincoln break that number. He takes her hand and she joins him on his journey to find peace.
We spoke with the executive producer and co-creator of the series Peter Lenkov about saying “aloha” to his Five-0 ohana, how the trip was for the show, the pleasant surprise of the show’s success and how it dumped the real tears and emotion from the cast in one of the last scenes of the show.
DEADLINE: How this 10 year trip for Hawaii Five-0 been for you? And as a reboot, were you surprised by its longevity?
PETER LENKOV: For me, first of all, and I tell people all the time, I don’t think I will have a better experience than the one I had on this show in terms of the casting magic we had, location, everything, community support. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. I see a lot of it repeating itself somehow with Magnum P.I. in Hawaii. Restarts, historically, they don’t last long and I think we were very lucky because I think we did really well and we are probably in the best location you can have for a TV show. These two ingredients are probably the reason why we are successful. Yep, even people are coming back to it with a lot of skepticism, but I feel like we’ve taken over the themes and spirit of the original and done something new with it. We honored the original and I think people saw it not only as a redesign of something, but as an expansion of the brand and for some reason, 240 hours later, people still appreciate it. We are lucky.
DEADLINE: The final scene had a lot of tears from the cast. I guess some of these tears are real tears.
LENKOV: I told the cast and the team two hours earlier that the decision had been made that the show would not come back. Everything you see in this scene, including the dog, was so real. You almost had to imagine that the dog could smell it. ((Laughs) But all you saw in this goodbye was real tears and real affection and emotion for each other.
DEADLINE: But was everything still scripted?
LENKOV: It was written, but what came out of their mouth and the emotion was not. I told them [we weren’t coming back] during a break during the day because I knew the press knew it. I didn’t want our cast and our team to know it through the trades. I wanted to have a conversation with them. I told them and then two hours later, we were shooting this scene. I think it was, for me, one of the best scenes we have ever shot because it was really they who treated the experience and it went very well.
DEADLINE: Did you do it on purpose?
LENKOV: It was intended to spark a performance. You don’t want your family to read something in the news – you want to tell them personally. I didn’t want them to hear that from anyone except me. It was really about preventing them from getting bad news on a title and on social media.
DEADLINE: Was this the end you envisioned for the show?
LENKOV: The ending I wanted really happened in Season 7 when I thought this year may be our last year. It was a conversation between Jack Lord and McGarrett. It’s a scene where I didn’t think the CGI was so good, but I had to put it on because I thought it was going to be the last year of the show.
I always felt that the end of the match was going to be a little bit of happiness. Of course McGarrett is a happy guy – he has a family, but he has suffered so much trauma for 10 years that I always thought the end game would be that he had a real relationship with Catherine, retiring, sitting on those adirondack chairs with Danny – all those things that would amount to happiness for him were always kind of a finale to me.
If you know the show well, you know that he came to the island after losing his father and the idea of leaving the island just to get some air and breathe, take a little distance and come back , was always something I thought he needed. He doesn’t say goodbye to everyone at the end. He’s coming back, but he just needs to get away a little. Just like people have to recalibrate, he never really left. I mean, he’s been doing the same job for 10 years and he’s moving on. I think he needs a moment to think and breathe.
DEADLINE: After 10 years of a show that has persisted, what have you learned?
LENKOV: This is a difficult question. I mean, for me, I’ve always been taught that when you write on TV, it’s the characters first. It’s really the most important thing in each episode. It has never been so clear to me that people follow a series of characters. I don’t think they really remember the plot from week to week, but they do remember what your characters are doing and it really reminded me of how important strong characters are in this series.
DEADLINE: The show has gathered a loyal fan base. Throughout its race, how do you navigate what you want for the show and what the fans expect?
LENKOV: Social media has changed so much. You interact with the fans every day. It reminded me to stay true to history and I hope the audience will introduce themselves. Over the years, there have been a lot of people with a lot of ideas about where the show should go. You are trying to stay true to your vision without being swayed. There are characters that the public liked and disliked. I always thought that if I had to put on blinkers and keep moving in the direction I wanted to move and not let myself be influenced. For me, it’s having a vision and following it, and I hope the audience is following you in the direction you are leading them.
DEADLINE: McGarrett hasn’t said goodbye for good, which suggests he may be back. Given the previous Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. crossover, can we expect to see characters in future episodes of the latter?
LENKOV: Five-0 and Magnum P.I. exist in the same universe and I hope to continue what we have done in the first two years of Magnum, which consists of having characters of Five-0 appear from time to time. I hope if there is availability, I would love to find a way to get them at some point in the series.
DEADLINE: Would you be ready to have a standalone Hawaii Five-0 reunion show in the future?
LENKOV: I can’t imagine this not happening at some point – and I’m going to be a big fan of it. I will watch it. If it happened sooner or later, I would love to participate. If it’s 20 years later, I’m going to sit on that Adirondack chair and watch the sunset. I mean, anything could happen. The brand is so strong, I think Leonard Freeman did with it Five-0 really resonated with people and I think the place people can’t get enough of this place.