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Case Number 16606

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Hawaii Five-O: The Sixth Season

Paramount // 1968 // 1200 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Cynthia Boris (Retired) // June 15th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Cynthia Boris is looking forward to the remake, Hawaii-Five-Point-Two.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Hawaii Five-O: The Complete First Season (published March 6th, 2007), Hawaii Five-O: The Fourth Season (published July 9th, 2008), Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season (published August 22nd, 2007), Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season (published January 28th, 2008), and Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth and Final Season (published January 10th, 2012) are also available.

The Charge

Patch me through to McGarrett!

Opening Statement

We're only half way through this classic crime series' 12-season run and, incredibly, the episodes are as strong as ever. This is Hawaii Five-O: Sixth Season on DVD.

Facts of the Case

There's more trouble in this island paradise and all of the usual suspects are back and ready for action. You have Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) still standing tall as the head of Hawaii's elite crime solving unit. Under him is the youthful and exuberant Danny Williams (James MacArthur), father figure Chin Ho Kelly (Kam Fong), and sidekick Ben Kokua (Al Harrington).

There are 24 episodes this season, which ran from September 1973 to February 1974.

The Evidence

As always, there are a couple of stand out episodes in what is overall, a very good season. Let's take them one by one:

Disc One
• "Hookman"
The season opens with a gimmick—real-life armless detective Jay J. Armes appears as a cop killer with a very specific M.O. This episode made quite an impact back in the 70's when many soldiers were coming home from Vietnam missing arms and legs. It's kind of a shame that Armes plays a bad guy in this because the things he manages to do with hooks instead of hands are nothing short of amazing. We've come a long way since then, but this episode is still a classic.

• "Draw Me a Killer"
Next up is another excellent episode about a geeky young man living in a cartoon world. Arthur is in love with comic strip character Judy Moon and he'll do anything to protect her from the nasty villains that come after her in the funny pages. To solve the crime, the comic's creator adds Officer Danny to the world of Judy Moon, making him the next target in Arthur's murder spree. Clever plotting made even better by actor Elliott Street's sad sack performance.

• "Charter For Death"
Bubonic plague is the villain in this piece about a mobster (Nehemiah Persoff) and his family who came ashore on a chartered yacht with plans to jet to the mainland incognito. Unbeknownst to them, the mobster's daughter is sick with the plague and she's contaminating everyone she comes in contact with. With an possible epidemic on their hands, Five-O must find three people who don't want to be found. Bert Convy plays against type as the mobster's son-in-law. Too much time with the guest stars and not enough with the cops makes this one slow around the middle.

• "One Big Happy Family"
This is one that has stuck with me since I first saw it in the 70s. Slim Pickins and Barbara Baxley lord over a family of white trash serial killers. Bo Hopkins is cold and sleazy as oldest boy Jeb, Robyn Millan is his slutty wife, and Lynette Kim plays his mentally handicapped little sister. Burdened with an odd sense of morality and righteousness, the family members take blue collar jobs, work for a week, then murder everyone on the premises on Fridays in order to steal a few dollars from the till. The characters here are in one way, so over the top, and yet so very believable and scary. Baxley steals the show with her cold, quiet version of a strict mama who insists that her son kiss goodbye before heading out to kill. If you only watch one episode this whole season, this is the one.

Disc Two
• "The Sunday Torch"
Disc two takes a turn for the mundane with several episodes in a row that don't quite live up to the ones before it. This episode is about an arsonist who strikes on Sundays. Michael Anderson Jr. plays a young firebug who may or may not be behind the blazes.

• "Murder Is a Taxing Affair"
The Andy Griffith Show's Jack Dodson ends up with a half a million in cash when his wife grabs the wrong bag at the airport. Over played hick-town tourists, the couple wants to keep the money but there are several nasty characters in the story who will do anything to get that money back. This one barely comes in as average.

• "Tricks Are Not Treats"
Thanks to some tricked out pimps and plenty of smack talk, this episode is horribly dated and it simply doesn't hold up. Gregory Sierra guest stars as a mob boss who wants a cut of all of the prostitution action happening in his neighborhood. When the pimps have had enough (yes, the pimps are the victims in this episode) they hire a hitman to take care of the problem. All in all, this is a very strange episode for Five-O. You'll see a clearly topless girl from behind, and it's loaded with degrading comments about the "ho's" and their black pimps. Look for an appearance by Ron Glass who would later go on to play a detective along side Sierra on Barney Miller.

• "Why Wait Until Uncle Kevin Dies? "
Due for an inheritance? Why wait until that rich uncle dies? Reversions, Inc. will give you the money right now and all you have to do is make them the beneficiaries of your life insurance in case anything should happen to you. I guess dangling millions of dollars in front of someone's eyes makes them stupid. When the murders start stacking up, Five-O sends in an undercover man (Lawrence Pressman) to get the goods on the felonious corporate bigwigs. I clever idea, I suppose, but this one plays like a B-movie. Next!

Disc Three
• "Flash Of Color, Flash Of Death"
An Australian opal dealer is robbed when he arrives in the Islands but he can't tell Five-O the whole truth since much of what he was bringing in was illegal. Another average episode.

• "A Bullet For El Diablo"
A Latin American dictator comes to Hawaii to ransom his kidnapped daughter. The girl he gets back looks like his daughter, but looks can be deceiving.

• "The Finishing Touch"
When counterfeit bonds show up in a bank, McGarrett hires an expert in forgeries to check the rest. Only problem, the expert is the one who forged the bond in the first place. Not a lot of excitement in this one but still it's a fascinating tale.

• "Anybody Can Build A Bomb"
It's terrorism 70's style when someone threatens to set off an atomic bomb in Honolulu if they aren't paid a king's ransom. The science may be screwy here but it's a fear we can still relate to.

Disc Four
• "Try To Die On Time"
This complex tale involves a gambler who decides to take bets from his friends predicting the time of his impending death. An interesting concept but a little hard to follow.

• "The $100,000 Nickel"
Victor Buono is at his usual wonderful, menacing best as a coin collector who hires a sleight of hand artist to switch a rare nickel for a fake. But when the police close in, the conman dumps the coin into a newspaper vending machine and the chase is on from there. It's an interesting chase story that really works because of Buono.

• "The Flip Side Is Death"
Four men dressed in military garb fake a nerve gas leak in order to rob a bank, now all they have to do is get off the island with the cash. Yeah, like Five-O is going to let that happen.

• "Banzai Pipeline"
Perry King and Nicholas Hammond play brothers out to make the ultimate surfing movie. Cash strapped, King steals a wallet from a man who is the subject of a DA investigation. Enter the scary hitman who fears King may have seen him pull the trigger. Now everyone is trying to track the two brothers—one wanting to kill them while Five-O tries to save them. Nice surfing footage helps you overlook some of the silly things in the episode such as "zooming" in on the killer's image while watching a film on an old 16mm projector.

Disc Five
• "One Born Every Minute"
A diamond con is at the center of this merry chase that has McGarrett chasing down a slick team who is fleecing tourists out of big bucks. Halfway through this story, the episode takes a turn I didn't expect. It's hard to imagine that people are this gullible, but you'll buy it when you see these con artists at work. Funny though, this is a plot that wouldn't work as well in this day and age of cell phones as much of the con is based on the inability to reach another person quickly.

• "Secret Witness"
A husband with a wife (a young Cindy Williams) and new baby puts all of their lives into danger when he witnesses a mob hit. Star Trek's Mark Leonard guest stars in this tense cat and mouse game that has the bad guys and the good guys all trying to find the same man.

• "Death With Father"

When Five-O takes down a drug lab, they learn that one of the drug dealers is Tom Morgan (Peter Strauss) son of an ex-cop (Andrew Duggan). Daddy tells the cops it can't be so, but then he goes to great lengths to clear his son of the charges. A strong guest cast makes this one worth watching.

• "Murder With a Golden Touch"
When a private detective turns up dead and covered in gold dust, Five-O goes on a treasure hunt for the source of the pricey glitter. Turns out the thieves have recasted the stolen gold and planted it in the ocean so it appears to be bounty from a shipwreck—thus making it salvage and the property of whomever finds it.

Disc Six
• "Nightmare In Blue"
One of the best episodes, it's also the heaviest. The story revolves around a man dressed as a police officer (who may or may not be an actual officer) who is raping and murdering women around the island. Five-O gets a break when one of the women survives to tell her story but her husband steps in to block the cops. He's afraid she'll be dragged through the mud and he's not about to allow his wife to be violated again by the court system, this time.

It's a particularly chilling episode and one that still holds up despite dated references such as McGarrett calling a policewoman "honey."

• "Mother's Deadly Helper"
This action-packed episode has Anthony Zerbe playing a vigilante who is supporting his local police by killing men who have escaped justice. Radio host Casey Kasem guests.

• "Killer At Sea"
A kidnapper and robber hides in plain sight on an ocean liner full of tourists. Comedian and impressionist John Byner guests. Not a favorite.

• "30,000 Rooms And I Have a Key"
Sadly, the season ends on a low note with David Wayne as an aging cat burglar who taunts Five-O as he robs his way through a luxury hotel in Waikiki.

Paramount does a great job with the packaging on this set. The box graphics are appropriate and the navigation screens feature a variety of photos. Best of all, the episode synopsis are written on the back of each snap case for ease of use! The video quality is overall very nice. There are a few scenes marred by pops and crackles but they are few and far between.

As with previous seasons, each episode includes the promo for the episode (what we used to call the coming attractions). A nice touch since they're all voiced over by Jack Lord, but it's the only special feature on the DVD.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The only problem I had with this set was the sound quality, which was so uneven I had to watch with my remote control in hand. The dialogue had to be turned way up to hear but sound effects such as gun shots, airplane engines, even cars screeching along the street were so loud I couldn't turn the sound down fast enough. It wasn't a big problem when watching the more typical dialogue-filled episodes, but it was extremely frustrating on an episode such as "The Sunday Torch," which is loaded with fire trucks and sirens.

Closing Statement

From its signature theme and cresting wave, to the oft quoted "book 'em, Danno," there's no denying that Hawaii Five-O is an icon in the world of cop shows. They couldn't have done it any better.

The Verdict

This court finds Hawaii Five-O: Sixth Season to be as exciting as ever. Surfs up. Court's adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 80
Extras: 10
Acting: 92
Story: 89
Judgment: 83

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
• English
• Portuguese
• Spanish
Running Time: 1200 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Classic
• Crime
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Episode Promos

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