I can't swear that it is my favorite all-time TV show of the 1970s but it is almost certainly my favorite drama. That's why last month's Season Four DVD release of Hawaii 5-0 has been giving me hours of pleasure this summer.
The show ran from 1968 - 1980 and centered on the crime fighting (fictional) police force of the Hawaiian Islands, headed by super cop Steve McGarrett, who, I think you can see from the DVD cover of actor Jack Lord here, had possibly the best hair in the history of television.
Last night Donna, her father and I watched Episode #71, originally broadcast on CBS on October 12, 1971.
It had a complicated plot about a hippie gone bad attacking an insurance company embezzler with a piece of driftwood to the head and stealing his wallet. Inside was the key to locker at the airport in which a briefcase was found with the $250,000 the victim has skimmed. The hippie was played by the late John Ritter and the embezzler by the late Vic Morrow. Their freakish, early real-life deaths should be bad news for other guest stars of the series.
Anyway, McGarrett's #2 man, Danno, is trying to help an old friend from Berkeley whose daughter is missing in the islands and he thinks she is the girl who burned up when the candle shop was set on fire but it turns out that was a cover up because the embezzler left his fingerprints all over everything slapping the girl around after she had already taken a fatal dose of heroin.
Cleo, the girl Danno is looking for, is actually the accomplice of the hippie gone bad and they are trying to board a plane to Asia when the embezzler kidnaps her and tries to hold her for ransom (well, his $250,000 back) in an abandoned airplane hanger that he somehow knows about. The hippie decided to ditch the girl and split with the money until McGarrett's #3 man, Chin Ho, nabs him while boarding the plane.
In the thrilling conclusion there is a shootout at the hangar and Steve wounds the now-fleeing embezzler in the leg with one incredible shot from about 100 yards away and the two wayward kids are safe and sound. The hippie gets arrested for stealing the stolen money but the girl is not charged as an accomplice because she knows Danno.
Whew. As an aside, my 13 year-old Chow dog is actually named Kam Fong As Chin Ho as a tribute to this great character but we usually call her just Chin Ho for short. Or Chin Chin. Or The Chincess.
I love this show so much that I could write a whole blog just about Hawaii 5-0 but I see that someone already does, here.
There are dozens of websites with tons of great show information too including the Wikipedia page here and the single most comprehensive site about all things 5-0 here. Please enjoy!
P.S. And you'll get no argument from me if you say the show had the best theme song in the history of TV too!