Hawaii Five-O

Hawaii Five-O Information

Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, and continues in reruns. Jack Lord portrayed Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett, the head of a special state police task force which was based on an actual unit that existed under martial law in the 1940s. The theme music composed by Morton Stevens became especially popular. Most episodes would end with McGarrett instructing his subordinate to "Book 'em, Danno", sometimes specifying a charge such as "murder one."


The CBS television network produced Hawaii Five-O, which aired from September 20, 1968 to April 4, 1980. Currently, the program is broadcast in syndication worldwide. In the U.S., it airs on Me-TV, and via on-demand streaming media from CBS Interactive. (CBS also has uploaded every episode of this show via its YouTube account.) Created by Leonard Freeman, Hawaii Five-O was shot on location in Honolulu, Hawaii, and throughout the island of Oahu as well as other Hawaiian islands with occasional filming in other locales such as Los Angeles, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Hawaii Five-O was named in honor of Hawaii's status as the 50th State. Although the show's name has always ended with the number "0," the soundtrack album, released in the late 1960s, used the letter "O" instead of the number zero. Today, an "O" is often used to differentiate the original series and the revival which premiered in 2010. The show centers on a fictional state police force led by former U.S. naval officer Steve McGarrett (played by Jack Lord), who was appointed by the Governor, Paul Jameson (played by Richard Denning, though Lew Ayres played the Governor in the pilot). In the show, McGarrett oversaw State Police officers "? a young officer, Danny Williams (played by Tim O'Kelly in the show's pilot but replaced in the regular series by James MacArthur), Chin Ho Kelly (played by Kam Fong Chun), and Kono Kalakaua (played by Zulu) for seasons one through four. Also, Honolulu Police Department Officer Duke Lukela (played by Herman Wedemeyer) joined the team as a regular, as did Ben Kokua (played by Al Harrington), who replaced Kono beginning with season five. Occasionally, McGarrett's Five-O team was assisted by other officers as needed: medical examiner Doc Bergman (played by Al Eben), forensic specialist Che Fong (played by Harry Endo), and a secretary. The first secretary was May (played by Maggi Parker), then Jenny (played by Peggy Ryan), and later Luana (played by Laura Sode-Matteson).

For 12 seasons, McGarrett and his team hounded international secret agents, criminals, and organized crime syndicates plaguing the Hawaiian Islands. With the aid of District Attorney and later Hawaii's Attorney General John Manicote (played by Glenn Cannon), McGarrett was successful in sending most of his enemies to prison. One such crime syndicate was led by crime family patriarch Honore Vashon (played by Harold Gould), a character introduced in the fifth season. Most episodes of Hawaii Five-O ended with the arrest of criminals and McGarrett snapping, "Book 'em." The offense occasionally was added after this phrase, for example, "Book 'em, murder one." In many episodes, this was directed to Danny Williams and became McGarrett's catchphrase, "Book 'em, Danno."

Other criminals and organized crime bosses on the islands were played by actors such as Ricardo Montalbán, Gavin MacLeod, and Ross Martin as Tony Alika. By the 12th and final season, series regular James MacArthur had left the show (in 1996, he admitted that he had become tired of the role and wanted to do other things), as had Kam Fong. Unlike other characters before him, Fong's character, Chin Ho, at Fong's request, did not just vanish from the show but instead was murdered while working undercover to expose a protection ring in Chinatown in the last episode of season 10. New characters Jim 'Kimo' Carew (played by William Smith), Lori Wilson (played by Sharon Farrell), and Truck (played by Moe Keale) were introduced in season 12 alongside returning regular character Duke Lukela.

The Five-O team consisted of three to five members (small for a real state police unit), and was portrayed as occupying a suite of offices in the Iolani Palace. The office interiors were sets on a soundstage. Five-O lacked its own radio network, necessitating frequent requests by McGarrett to the Honolulu Police Department dispatchers, "Patch me through to Danno." McGarrett's tousled yet immaculate hairstyle, as well as his proclivity for wearing a dark suit and tie on all possible occasions (uncommon in the islands), rapidly entered popular culture. While the other members of Five-O also "dressed mainland" much of the time, they also often wore local styles, such as the ubiquitous "Aloha shirt."

In many episodes (including the pilot), McGarrett was drawn into the world of international espionage and national intelligence. McGarrett's arch-nemesis was a rogue intelligence officer of the People's Republic of China named Wo Fat. The Communist rogue agent was played by veteran actor Khigh Dheigh. The show's final episode in 1980 was titled "Woe to Wo Fat," in which McGarrett finally saw his foe Wo go to jail.

This television show's action and straightforward story-telling left little time for personal stories involving wives or girlfriends, though a two-part story in the first season dealt with the loss of McGarrett's sister's baby. Occasionally, a show would flash back to McGarrett's younger years or to a romantic figure. The viewer was left with the impression that McGarrett, at that point in his life, much like Dragnet's Joe Friday, was wedded to the police force and to crime-fighting. The altruistic teetotaler McGarrett often worked very late at the office, long after his colleagues had gone home, and he also worked a lot of weekends.

In the episode "Number One with a Bullet, Part 2," McGarrett spat at a criminal, "It was a bastard like you who killed my father." His 42-year-old father had been run down and killed by someone who had just held up a supermarket. Since Steve McGarrett was also a commander in the Naval Reserve, he sometimes used their resources to help investigate and solve crimes. Hence the closing credits of some episodes mentioned the Naval Reserve. A 1975 episode involving Danno's aunt, played by MacArthur's adoptive mother Helen Hayes, provided a bit of Williams's back story.

Hawaii Five-O would use actual phone numbers instead of the fictional "555" exchange for the first half of the series' run. In the 1969 episode, "Blind Tiger," McGarrett, who had been temporarily blinded by an attempt on his life (a criminal bombing his car), asked a hospital operator to connect him to 732-5577, which was the phone number at Five-O headquarters. Throughout the series, McGarrett and his Five-O team often refer to Hawaii as "the rock".

Hawaii Five-O survived long enough to overlap with reruns of early episodes, which were broadcast by CBS in their late night schedule while new episodes were still being produced. Once the program entered syndication after the original run of the series, CBS broadcast reruns of the 12th season in late night under the title McGarrett to avoid confusion with the episodes in syndication broadcast under the title Hawaii Five-O.

Creation of the show

Sources differ on how the show came to be. One source states the idea for the show may have come from a conversation producer Leonard Freeman had with Hawaii's then-Governor John A. Burns. Another source instead claims that Freeman wanted to set a show in San Pedro, California until his friend Richard Boone convinced him to shoot it entirely in Hawaii. A third source claims Freeman discussed the show with Governor Burns only after pitching the idea to CBS. Before settling on the name "Hawaii Five-O", Freeman considered titling the show "The Man".


Freeman offered Richard Boone the part of McGarrett, but Boone turned it down; Gregory Peck and Robert Brown were also considered. Ultimately, Jack Lord "? then living in Beverly Hills "? was asked at the last moment. Lord read for the part on a Wednesday, was cast, and flew to Hawaii two days later. On the following Monday, Lord was in front of the cameras. Freeman and Lord had worked together previously on an unsold TV pilot called Grand Hotel.

Kam Fong Chun, an 18-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, auditioned for the part of the lead villain Wo Fat, but Freeman cast him in the part of Chin Ho Kelly instead. Freeman took the name Wo Fat from a restaurant in downtown Honolulu. The name Chin Ho came from Chinn Ho, the owner of the Ilikai Hotel where the penthouse shot of Steve McGarrett in the opening title sequence was taken. Richard Denning, who played the governor, had retired to Hawaii and came out of retirement for the show. Zulu was a Waikiki beach boy and local DJ when he was cast for the part of Kono, which he played for the next four years.


The first season was shot in a rusty military Quonset hut in Pearl City, which the various cast members quickly nicknamed "Mongoose Manor." The roof tended to leak, and rats would often gnaw at the cables. The show then moved to a Fort Ruger location for seasons two to eight. A third studio was built at Diamond Head, and was used during the last four seasons.

A problem from the beginning was the lack of a movie industry in Hawaii. Much of the crew and cast, including many locals who ended up participating in the show, had to learn their respective jobs as they went along. Jack Lord was known as a perfectionist who insisted on the best from everyone. His temper flared when he felt that others did not give their best, but in later reunions they admitted that Lord's hard-driving force had made them better actors and made Hawaii Five-O a better show. Lord's high standards also helped the show last another seven years after Leonard Freeman's death from heart trouble during the sixth season.

To critics and viewers, there was no question that Jack Lord was the center of the show, and that the other actors frequently served as little more than props, standing and watching while McGarrett emoted and paced around his office, analyzing the crime. But occasionally episodes would focus on the other actors, and let them showcase their own talents, such as Danno defusing bombs in "The Clock Struck Twelve".

Very few episodes were shot outside of Hawaii. At least two episodes were shot in Los Angeles, one in Hong Kong, and one in Singapore. Episodes shot in these locations were the only ones not to bear the "Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii" legend.


The opening title sequence was created by noted television director Reza S. Badiyi. Early shows began with a cold open suggesting the sinister plot for that program, then cut to a shot of a big ocean wave and the start of the theme song. A fast zoom-in to the top balcony of the Ilikai Hotel followed, showing McGarrett turning to face the camera, followed by many quick-cuts and freeze-frames of Hawaiian scenery, and Hawaiian-Chinese-Caucasian model Elizabeth Malamalamaokalani Logue turning to face the camera. A grass-skirted hula dancer from the pilot episode was also included, played by Helen Kuoha-Torco, who later became a professor of business technology at Windward Community College. The opening scene ended with shots of the supporting players, and the flashing blue light of a police motorcycle racing through a Honolulu street.

At the conclusion of each episode, Jack Lord narrated a teaser for the next episode, often emphasizing the "guest villain", especially if the villain is a recurring character, such as that played by actor Hume Cronyn. The line he spoke was, "This is Jack Lord inviting you to be with us next week for <name of episode>" and then, "Be there. Aloha." The teasers were removed from the syndicated episodes but most have been restored in DVD releases from the second season onward. Most of the teasers are slightly edited to remove references to "next week."

This tradition has been continued in the 2010 version of Hawaii Five-0, but is not limited to Alex O'Loughlin. All of the primary cast members take turns with the iconic "Be here. Aloha" line at the end of the preview segment.

There were two versions of the closing credits portion of the show. During the first season, the theme music was played over a short film of a flashing blue light attached to the rear of a police motorcycle in Waikiki heading west (the film is shown at twice the normal speed, as can be seen from people crossing a street behind the police motorcycle). In later seasons, the same music was played over film of outrigger canoeists battling the surf.

In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show's opening title sequence ranked #4 on a list of TV's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.


The show was the longest running crime show on American television until Law & Order surpassed it in 2003. The popularity of the Hawaii Five-O format spawned various police dramas on all the major television networks.

Known for the location, theme song, and ensemble cast, Hawaii Five-O is also noted for its liberal use of exterior location shooting throughout the entire 12 seasons. A typical episode, on average, would have at least two-thirds of all footage shot on location, as opposed to a "typical" show of the time which would be shot largely on sound stages and backlots. It is also remembered for its unusual setting, notable during a time when most crime dramas of the era were set in or around the Los Angeles or New York City areas.

The Hawaiian-based television show Magnum, P.I. was created after Hawaii Five-O ended its run, in order to make further use of the expensive production facilities created there for Five-O. The first few Magnum P.I. episodes made direct references to Five-O, suggesting that it takes place in the same fictional universe. Magnum's producers made a few attempts to coax Jack Lord out of retirement for a cameo appearance, but he refused.

The vast majority of characters in the show were non-Hispanic Caucasian, whereas only 40% of the population of the state identified themselves as such. However, many local people were cast in the show, which was ethnically diverse by the standards of the late 1960s. The first run and syndication were seen by an estimated 400 million people around the world.

A one-hour pilot for a new series was made in 1996 but never aired. Produced and written by Stephen J. Cannell, it starred Gary Busey and Russell Wong as the new Five-O team. James MacArthur briefly returned as Dan Williams, now governor of Hawaii. Several cameos were made by other Five-O regulars, including Kam Fong as Chin Ho Kelly (even though the character had been killed off at the end of Season 10).

The slang expression "Five-O", meaning police or the presence of police activity in a given area, has been used in New York City and other mainland urban areas since the show's television run.

The one-hour pilot for a revived show, called Hawaii Five-0 (the last character is a zero instead of the letter "O"), aired September 20, 2010 on CBS, and as of October 2010, the series now airs Monday nights at 10 PM Eastern, 9 PM Central time. The reimagined Hawaii Five-0 uses the same principal character names as the original, and the new Steve McGarrett's late father's vintage 1974 Mercury Marquis is the actual specimen driven by Lord in the original series's final seasons. The new series opening credit sequence is an homage to the original; the theme song is cut in half, from 60 to 30 seconds, but is an otherwise identical instrumentation. Most of the iconic shots are replicated, beginning with the helicopter approach and close-up turn of McGarrett at the Ilikai Hotel penthouse, the jet engine intake, a hula dancer's hips, the quickly stepped zoom-in to the face of the Lady Columbia statue at Punchbowl, the close-up of the Kamehameha Statue's face, and the ending with a police motorcycle's flashing blue light. On the March 19, 2012 episode, Ed Asner reprised his role as "August March", a character he first played in a 1975 episode. Clips from the 1975 episode were included in the new one.

Theme music

Another legacy of the show is the popularity of the Hawaii Five-O theme music. The tune was composed by Morton Stevens, who also composed numerous episode scores. The theme was recorded by The Ventures, whose version reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, and is particularly popular with college and high school marching bands, especially at the University of Hawaii where it has become the unofficial fight song. The tune has also been heard at Robertson Stadium after Houston Dynamo goals scored by Brian Ching, a native of Hawaii. Because of the tempo of the music, the theme gained popularity in the UK with followers of Northern soul and was popular on dance floors in the 1970s.

Although the theme is most widely known as an instrumental, it has been released with at least two similar but different sets of lyrics. The first, You Can Come With Me by Don Ho, opens with an instrumental in the familiar tempo, then settles into a ballad style for the sung portion. The second, by Sammy Davis, Jr., titled You Can Count on Me (Theme from Hawaii Five-O), maintains the driving style of the original instrumental throughout.

Australian new wave band Radio Birdman also quoted Stevens' theme at length in the closing section of their 1977 single "Aloha, Steve & Danno", a tongue-in-cheek punk 'tribute' to the series.

In the Australian movie The Dish, the theme was mistaken for the national anthem of the US by a local band upon the visit of the US Ambassador to Parkes, NSW, to commemorate the 1969 moon landing.


See List of Hawaii Five-O episodes

Withheld episode

"Bored, She Hung Herself", the 16th episode of the second season, depicted a Five-O investigation into the apparent suicide of a woman by hanging, which she was supposedly practicing as part of a health regimen. A viewer reportedly died trying the same technique, and as a result, the show was not rebroadcast, was never included in any syndication packages, was not included in the DVD set of the second season released on July 31, 2007, and is not available for streaming.

Broadcast history

  • September 1968 " December 1968: Thursdays at 8:00 pm
  • December 1968 " March 1971: Wednesdays at 10:00 pm
  • September 1971 " February 1974: Tuesdays at 8:00 pm
  • September 1974 " March 1975: Tuesdays at 9:00 pm
  • September 1975 " November 1975: Fridays at 9:00 pm
  • December 1975 " November 1979: Thursdays at 9:00 pm
  • December 1979 " January 1980: Tuesdays at 9:00 pm
  • March 1980 " April 1980: Saturdays at 9:00 pm


Season Rank Rating
1968"1969 Not in the Top 30
1969"1970 #19 21.1
1970"1971 #7 25.0
1971"1972 #12 23.6
1972"1973 #3 25.2
1973"1974 #5 24.0
1974"1975 #10 24.8
1975"1976 Not in the Top 30
1976"1977 #18 21.9 (Tied with 60 Minutes)
1977"1978 #23 20.4
1978"1979 Not in the Top 30


The show was nominated for the following Emmy Awards throughout its run (wins are in bold):


  • Outstanding Cinematography: Frank Phillips, "Up-Tight"
  • Outstanding Musical Composition: Morton Stevens, the pilot

  • Outstanding Musical Composition: Morton Stevens, "A Thousand Pardons, You're Dead!"

  • Outstanding Film Editing: Arthur David Hilton, "Over Fifty? Steal"
  • Outstanding Directing: Bob Sweeney, "Over Fifty? Steal"

  • Outstanding Cinematography: Robert L. Morrison

  • Outstanding Drama Series: Leonard Freeman, executive producer; Bob Sweeney, supervising producer; William Finnegan, producer

  • Best Cinematography: Robert Morrison, Jack Whitman and Bill Huffman
  • Best Music Composition "? Series: Morton Stevens, "Hookman"
  • Best Music Composition "? Series: Don B. Ray, "Nightmare in Blue"
  • Best Music Composition "? Series: Bruce Broughton, "The $500,000 Nickel"

  • Outstanding Actress, Single Performance Drama or Comedy Series: Helen Hayes, "Retire in Sunny Hawaii ... Forever"

2010 version

Main article: Hawaii Five-0
On May 19, 2010, CBS announced that a new re-imagined version of Hawaii Five-O, this one set in present-day Hawaii and called Hawaii Five-0 with the last character a zero instead of a capital letter, would join the network's 2010"2011 fall lineup. The updated version stars Alex O'Loughlin as Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Detective Sergeant Danny "Danno" Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Detective Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly and Grace Park as Officer Kono Kalakaua. It premiered on CBS on Monday, September 20, 2010.

In 1997, CBS ordered a pilot for a revived version of the series. It included James MacArthur reprising his role as Danny Williams, now the Governor of Hawaii. The series was not picked up.


  • Steve McGarrett, played by Jack Lord
  • Danny "Danno" Williams, played by James MacArthur
  • Kono Kalakaua, played by Zulu (credited as Zulu)
  • Chin Ho Kelly, played by Kam Fong (credited as Kam Fong)
  • Attorney General John Manicote, played by Glenn Cannon
  • Ben Kokua, played by Al Harrington (1972"1975)
  • Duke Lukela (HPD police sergeant promoted to Five-O), played by Herman Wedemeyer (1971"1980)
  • Governor Paul Jameson, played by Richard Denning (original cast) (1968"1980) (Lew Ayres in the pilot)
  • James (later "Kimo") Carew, played by William Smith (1979"1980)
  • Truck Kealoha, played by Moe Keale (1979"1980)
  • Frank Kamana, played by Douglas Mossman (1975"76)
  • Lori Wilson, played by Sharon Farrell (1979"1980)
  • May (secretary), played by Maggi Parker (original cast) (1968"1969) (Mitzi Hoag in the pilot)
  • Jenny Sherman (secretary), played by Peggy Ryan (1970"76)
  • Other original first season characters portrayed by Nancy Kwan, Leslie Nielsen and Andrew Duggan (original cast)

Recurring characters

  • Wo Fat (Chinese intelligence agent and criminal mastermind), played by Khigh Dheigh in the pilot, and occasionally throughout the series, including the final episode.
  • Che Fong (the forensic specialist), played by Harry Endo
  • Joey Lee (former gang leader turned undercover informant for McGarrett), played by Brian Tochi
  • Doc Bergman (the medical examiner), played by Al Eben
  • Lieutenant Kealoha, played by Douglas Mossman (season 1)
  • Jonathan Kaye (from the State Dept.), played by James Gregory (pilot), Joseph Sirola (season 2"5), Bill Edwards (seasons 6"9), and Lyle Bettger (season 10)
  • "Doc" (full name never used), played by Newell Tarrant (season 1), and Robert Brilliande and Ted Thorpe (season 2), and Robert Costa (season 3)
  • Che Fong, played by Danny Kamekona (seasons 1 and 2)
  • Luana, played by Laura Sode
  • Attorney General Walter Stewart, played by Morgan White (season 1)
  • Mildred, played by Peggy Ryan (season 1)
  • Mrs. Pruitt, played by Hilo Hattie
  • Sandi Wells, played by Amanda McBroom (seasons 8-9)
  • Nick (Tom Kellog), played by Danny Kamekona (seasons 5"7, 12)
  • Dr. Grant Ormsbee, played by Pat Hingle

Streaming media

CBS Interactive had presented the entire first season of the show online via Adobe Flash streaming media. As of September 2009, selected episodes are available at CBS.com. These are full-length episodes available free of charge, but with ads embedded into the stream of each episode.

Netflix also streams complete episodes without ads. The episodes can be viewed via computer as well as the Wii, Xbox 360 consoles, TiVo boxes, and on mobile phones including the iPhone and Android phones through an application download.

DVD releases

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all twelve seasons on DVD in Region 1. The first eight seasons have been released in region 2 and region 4.

NOTE: The Season 2 episode "Bored, She Hung Herself" is not included in the 2nd season set. The omission is mentioned on the back of the box. Only some Australian bootlegs have had the episode. Seasons 2"8 contain episode promos by Jack Lord.

DVD Name Ep # Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The First Season 24 March 6, 2007 April 16, 2007 April 12, 2007
The Second Season 24 July 31, 2007 October 29, 2007 November 8, 2007
The Third Season 24 January 22, 2008 May 5, 2008 May 15, 2008
The Fourth Season 24 June 10, 2008 September 1, 2008 November 6, 2008
The Fifth Season 24 November 18, 2008 February 9, 2009 March 5, 2009
The Sixth Season 24 April 21, 2009 September 14, 2009 December 24, 2009
The Seventh Season 24 October 20, 2009 March 22, 2010 December 24, 2009
The Eighth Season 23 March 16, 2010 TBA TBA
The Ninth Season 24 August 3, 2010 TBA TBA
The Tenth Season 24 December 14, 2010 TBA TBA
The Eleventh Season 22 September 20, 2011 TBA TBA
The Twelfth Season 20 January 10, 2012 TBA TBA

Other media

A soundtrack album featuring Morton Stevens' theme and incidental music was issued by Capitol Records in 1970. One of the instrumental pieces on the album, "Call to Danger", was excerpted as background music accompanying a "Special Presentation" logo that CBS used to introduce its prime time television specials throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The album was re-issued on compact disc by Film Score Monthly in 2010.

  1. Hawaii Five-0 (1:32)
  2. Call to Danger (1:48)
  3. McGarrett's Theme (2:25)
  4. Front Street (2:42)
  5. The Long Wait (2:18)
  6. Blues Trip (3:14)
  7. The Floater (2:23)
  8. Interlude (1:53)
  9. Operation Smash (2:05)
  10. Beach Trip (2:30)
  11. Up Tight (2:05)
  12. The Chase/Hawaii Five-0 (4:36)
Hawaii Five-O was the subject of six novelizations. Each one had a plot line written for the book and was not based on a television episode. The first two books were published by Signet Paperbacks in 1968 and 1969. After that were two juvenile hard covers published by Whitman publishing in 1969 and 1971 and finally two more books were published in England.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hawaii_Five-O" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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