By Wayne Harada
It’s a big week — and month — for CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”
As the Island-based “Five-0” winds up its sophomore season May 14, a two-part crossover special with “NCIS: Los Angeles” begins Monday (April 30), with two stars from the L.A.-based procedural guest-starring in Hawaii. Then on Tuesday (May 1), two principals from “Five-0” appear in the continuing story arc set in Los Angeles.
The logical question: Is a tidal wave of enthusiastic interest in the offing?
On May 7, Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) should return after his rehab from prescription meds due to a shoulder injury ... leading to the grand finale on May 14, when his arch rival, Mark Dacascos (Wo Fat) also reappears, and one series regular meeting his/her demise.
Welcome to the May sweeps of the Nielsen TV ratings. The crossover might be just what the doctor ordered for "Five-0," which could use a booster shot more than "NCIS."
The crossover should give “Five-0” a thrust in ratings and perhaps new appeal and respect. L.A. Special Agents LL Cool J (Sam Hanna) and Chris O’Donnell (G. Callen) are in the Islands in “Pa Make Loa,” Hawaiian for “Touch of Death,” as part of a collaborative special force (also featuring Scott Caan as Danny Williams and Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly) to pursue a suspect on the verge of releasing a deadly virus that threatens the population.
Remember, O’Loughlin was on medical leave when these episodes were shot, so if he appears on the show at all, it might have been a specially-taped clip or a flashback. He’s not on the “NCIS” follow-up Tuesday, which is L.A.-based, completing the search for the culprit that’s up to no good.
Both segments are authored by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, with R. Scott Gemill contributing to the L.A. show, but different directors were at the helms: Bryan Spicer for the Hawaii show, Tony Wharmby for the L.A. conclusion.
It will be interesting to see how the crossovers play out. There can’t be the usual bromance between McGarrett and Danno, but Sam and Callan do a bit of this kind of give-and-take — surely, this element travels to Hawaii. When Danno and Chin Ho venture to the City of Angels, they can’t realistically engage in the kind of McG-Danno friction.
Will the "feel" be more "NCIS" than "Five-0"? Or complementary flavors, depending on the segments? Do viewers like crossovers, or will they watch the one show they're already partial to?
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
With “NCIS: L.A.” prevailing as the No. 2 procedural (the original, “NCIS” starring Mark Harmon (agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his crew, is consistently No. 1 with as many as 22.7 million viewers a week), some audience crossover is guaranteed, hopefully creating a tsunami of viewers for both the Monday and Tuesday shows.
Danno and Chin Ho engaging in crime-solving, not just with Sam and Callen but with the other “NCIS” team members Daniela Ruah (agent Kensi Blye) and Eric Christian Olsen (LAPD detective Marty Deeks), should create some fireworks and trigger high energy.
And with Sam and Callan in the Island segment, there can’t be much residue of usual recurring story ticks (think Shelburne) that simply diluted and numbed interest in “Five-0” this season.
So what do you expect on the Richter scale?
A co-star in this two-parter surely will be the makeup team: Great job in visually capturing the nastiness of a yucky virus.
So: Here’s a toast for a grand finish.
Lots to watch, soak in, observe, cheer and comment on, in the next few days and weeks.