Paramount // 1979 // 996 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // January 10th, 2012
"That's Hawaiian for Jim. Maybe you should get used to it." -- Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord)
The head of Hawaii's elite crime solving unit is talking to James Carew (William Smith, Laredo), former Boston lieutenant of detectives assigned to the organized crime detail, who left the force after his wife and child were murdered by Mafiosos. Carew turns up in the double-length season premiere and, after some clashes of style and temperament with McGarrett, is invited to join the squad as second-in-command.
That's right, Danno is gone. After wrapping season eleven, actor James MacArthur (Swiss Family Robinson) reportedly decided he'd had enough of playing detective Danny Williams, and directed his superiors to scrub him from future roll calls. Though he'd return to play Governor Danny Williams in an ill-fated 1997 TV-movie reboot, MacArthur's absence left a giant, gaping hole as Hawaii Five-O went into its twelfth and final season.
But alas, the business of law and order continues without time for eulogies. So onward and upward we go!
All 19 of this season's episodes are included here, broadcast between 4 October 1979 and 5 April 1980...
* "A Lion In The Streets" -- A fight for local union leadership turns ugly, due to syndicate intervention. McGarrett finds himself unable to intervene, after one of the Island's religious elders puts a "kapu" marking him as taboo. According to the ancient law, no Hawaiian is allowed to help or even speak to him. Ross Martin (The Wild, Wild West) reprises his role as mob chieftain Tony Alika, and Moe Keale (previously a guest on the series in various roles) joins the regular cast as Detective Truck Kealoha.
* "Who Says Cops Don't Cry" -- Five-O's latest hire is killed in a hold-up before he can report for his first day of duty. His vengeful wife, (Sharon Farrell) herself a cop, threatens to get in the squad's way as they attempt to track down the killers. Farrell (The Reivers) joins the cast as Lori Wilson, Five-O's first woman detective.
* "Though The Heavens Fall" -- When the courts fail to put away the bad guys, an exclusive vigilante group of rich, white "sportsmen" appoint themselves to mete out proper justice. Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch) guest stars.
* "Sign Of The Ram" -- Prize fighters, criminal fixers, and a wacky Astrologist (Jayne Meadows, Medical Center) have Five-O working overtime.
* "Good Help Is Hard To Find" -- Payback is a bogus tip. Tony Alika (Ross Martin) returns to make mischief for the squad, sending them on wild goose chases, which proves not only publically humiliating, but also keeps them from stopping a major drug supplier from bringing toxic product onto the Island.
* "Image Of Fear" -- An old friend, once hospitalized for paranoid delusions, claims she's being terrorized, despite all evidence to the contrary. McGarrett instinctively wants to believe her, but each development raises more doubt.
* "Use A Gun, Go To Hell" -- The ballad of a rare, imported handgun and the bloody trail of victims left in its wake. NRA supporters may be offended by McGarrett's tirade against the ol' "guns don't kill people" theory.
* "Voice Of Terror" -- A trio of terrorists commandeer a squad car, taking one of the cops hostage. Bring in McGarrett to negotiate!
* "A Shallow Grave" -- A young tourist (John David Carson, Pretty Maids All In A Row) experiences strange, disconnected visions that eerily match up with details -- deliberately withheld by police -- of an unsolved robbery committed on the Island twenty years earlier. Could he be the reincarnation of the missing robber, long presumed dead? This attempt to break away from the standard crime-drama formula provides the season's nadir, asking us to accept (among other silly notions) that the brilliant, middle-aged, veteran cop Kimo needs an explanation of the term "Deja Vu"!
* "The Kahuna" -- Ancient Hawaiian religious principles forbidding autopsies complicate the Five-O's need to investigate a possible double murder. Cathy Lee Crosby (The Dark) guest stars.
* "Labyrinth" -- Centered around the kidnapping of a rich plastic surgeon's wife, this needlessly over-complicated saga benefits from a fiery performance by guest star Tricia O'Neil (Piranha II: The Spawning).
* "School For Assassins" -- The class valedictorian (Gary Lockwood, 2001: A Space Odyssey) gets his first professional assignment: fatally sabotage an OPEC meeting on the Island.
* "For Old Times Sake" -- An oddly affecting modern Robin Hood tale of a reformed ex-con (Peter Bromilow, Wild At Heart) who gives up the straight life in order to save a home for wayward girls. This episode marks the first major appearance of Honolulu-born Kelly Preston, (Jerry Maguire) then seventeen years old, and billed as "Kelly Palzis."
* "The Golden Noose" -- Guest star Ed Lauter (The Longest Yard) gleefully chews scenery as a soldier of fortune looking to finance a small Far East country's revolution by stealing millions in gold bullion from the Honolulu bank.
* "The Flight Of The Jewels" -- A pair of smarty-pants University students boost a fortune in royal gems with a toy airplane. Jeff Daniels (Dumb And Dumber) and Linwood Boomer (one-time Little House On The Prairie regular, who went on to create Malcolm In The Middle) guest star as the collegiate crooks.
* "Clash Of Shadows" -- When the body of a renowned Nazi hunter washes ashore in Honolulu, McGarrett suspects the island is hiding a top-level fugitive war criminal.
* "A Bird In Hand..." -- A tour bus full of bird-watchers makes an unscheduled stop in front of a condemned sugar mill. Within hours, said passengers are suffering "accidental" deaths.
* "The Moroville Covenant" -- A senatorial candidate's secret past is coming back to haunt him, but McGarrett becomes convinced it's his protector he must fear most. Paul Burke (Valley Of The Dolls) and Diane McBain (Spinout!) guest star.
* "Woe To Wo Fat" -- McGarrett goes solo on this final adventure, facing off against his arch nemesis now bent on world domination. Khigh Dhiegh (The Manchurian Candidate) returns as Wo Fat, reprising the iconic villain he first created in the series' 1968 pilot episode.
By all accounts, star Jack Lord -- who had effectively taken over as Hawaii Five-O's head honcho, following the death of creator-producer Leonard Freeman in 1974 -- had tired of doing the series after a dozen years, and who could blame him?However, those expecting this final season to betray a sense of weariness or even a hint that it was winding down are in for a shock! There are a couple episodes that qualify as middle-season yawners, but this collection of case files had me at "hello," and left me wanting more. Admittedly, I came in relatively uninitiated, having only seen a handful of Five-O adventures over the years, but honestly this set has me determined to investigate further, and what better result could the folks at Paramount and CBS Home Video hope for?
The studio has managed once again to deliver a batch of crisp and clean, standard definition 1.33:1 full frame transfers with surprisingly good Dolby 2.0 mono audio. English subtitles for the hard of hearing have also been provided. In keeping with previous season designs, the navigation screens feature a variety of photos and helpful episode synopsis written on the backs of the snap cases.
You call these extras? These aren't extras, they're filler! A (very brief) commercial that may or may not be from Season Twelve, and "Crime Wave," a two and a half minute clip-fest -- with accompanying rap by Trackmasters featuring Punchline and Taj -- billed as "a musical tribute," is in fact nothing more than a three minute promo for the DVD series. A buncha bunk, bruddah!
For a dozen years of dedicated service, mahalo nui loa!
Retirement with full honors.
Review content copyright © 2012 P.S. Colbert; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 996 Minutes
Release Year: 1979
MPAA Rating: Not Rated