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:
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
• "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.
• "The Sunday Torch"
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
• "Murder Is a Taxing Affair"
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
• "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!
• "Flash Of Color, Flash Of
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.
• "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
• "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.
• "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
• "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
• "Nightmare In Blue"
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"
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"
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.