Show and Tell Hawai'i

Here comes McBride: is he a key to 'Hawaii Five-0's' future?

September 15th, 2013

mcbride.jpg.gAlex O'Loughlin (Steve McGarrett), far left, confronts Chi McBride (new character Capt. Lou Grover), near left, as Dennis Chun (Sgt. Duke Lukela), center,  looks on in this scene from "Hawaii Five-O's" season opener.

Chi McBride —  do you  remember him on the short-lived “Golden Boy” drama?  — just might emerge as the “new” character to watch on the first episode of the fourth season of  “Hawaii Five-0,” premiering Friday (Sept. 27) on CBS.

Remember, it’s a new time slot (8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. here) on a new night (Fridays instead of Mondays) and the first year for the CBS series to be anchored at the Hawaii Film Studio lot on the slopes of Diamond Head.

A recurring role played by McBride on the struggling reboot may not be all that startling; heck, so many newbies,  some admittedly unnecessary with fabricated ties to the current cast, some initially fascinating  but overstaying their welcome — have been introduced so far.
But this one — a SWAT police offer named Capt. Lou Grover — just might have the mettle to matter.

Why?  It’s the second character extracted from the Jack Lord-era “Five-0,” from episode No. 165 entitled “The Hostage”  — in which Capt. Grover, an old-school cop, agitates Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord), who, at that time, was a no-frills, new-school investigator. The segment first appeared on March 11, 1975.

But as perceived by current  producer Peter Lenkov, McBride as Grover is supposedly a bad-ass Chicago cop assigned to “Five-0” as the SWAT officer who rankles McGarrett’s chains, with little or no regrets.

Perhaps this is just the invisible vinegar Alex O’Loughlin’s McGarrett needs to maintain his brand of orderliness and control, a demeanor which might have been diluted over the first three seasons by the constant and ongoing bickering/nagging bro-romance with his Danno Williams (Scott Caan) teammate.

McBride brings attitude along with agitation to stir the pot, and he’ll be a notable ingredient in this season’s playout. I’d put my money on McBride as the character to watch, the one you’ll remember, for better or worse. There’s been no confirmation that this will be a recurring role, but it's one that should come back.

Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) appears on the new episode, too, picking up where season three’s finale left off. But face it; as an antagonist of McG, he's never been the menace he should  be.

For his part, Lenkov previously jumpstarted a flashback character — as a matter of fact, an entire episode from the original “Five-0” template —  when Ed Asner (Lou Grant on the “Mary Tyler Moore” series) — who played the role “then” and in the retelling, with the producers meticulously recreating the action, point by point, scene by scene. Though it wasn’t a ratings hit, it certainly was a curiosity and risky proposition, earning an A for effort, if nothing else.

The upcoming show, entitled “Aloha ke kahi I ke kahi,” Hawaiian for  “We Need Each Other,” forces McG to break the law to locate a kidnapped Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) when gunmen storm H50 headquarters, compromising the safety and whereabouts of Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) and beau Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), situated somewhere in Hong Kong. Kinda like the old gang going through familiar motion and expected commotion.

But with McBride's arrival, he's no carryover; best of all, he isn’t being somebody’s father or brother or ex.

His presence, in his debut,  hopefully will ease the other problematic add-ons so far this year.

Since we’ve previously been introduced to Danno’s dad (real life dad James Caan), this year his mom (played by Melanie Griffith) makes her debut in what presumably will evolve into a recurring role. The show might have booked, instead, her hubby, Antonio Banderas, who,  at least, would  bring an ethnic, exotic element to crime or crime-fighting here, devoid of  family ties.

Mom’s not been a good word on the show, after all; think Mama McG (Christine Lahti). She was mostly dullsville in a story arc that plagued the storytelling flow and she brought hell and headaches to sonny boy McG.  Whether she’ll be a show or no-show this year, remains, well, mum. The actress had banked on a new pilot, which was not picked up, so presumably is available for hire.

We previously also have been introduced to John McGarrett (William Sadler), Dad McG, who died in the pilot episode, but managed to reappear in flashbacks a couple of times since.

So what’s next? A dad for Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim)? Perhaps portrayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa?  And a mom for Kono Kalakaua, maybe enacted by Nancy Kwan? This progression to expand back stories of the lead characters has created unwanted clutter and caused unneeded detours into the closets of the “Five-0” team  since the invented roles have been short on dynamics, long on screen time.

Oh, one more kin will be introduced this season: McG’s aunt, portrayed by Carol Burnett, who figures in a Thanksgiving-themed show in November. She’s a favorite of yesteryear’s TV viewers, so skewers older in demographics, so her inclusion as a new relative seems to reach out for older viewers. Does this portend an uncle down the way? Yikes.

Also signed to guest roles: Daryl Hannah, Tim Daly and Nick Jonas, not exactly names appealing to the show’s key 18 to  49 demographics. A mermaid from “Splash” (OK, she was in “Kill Bill,” too);  Daly also is an older TV face, who’ll play a  Texas ranger; and an ex-Disney Channel boy bander from The Jonas Brothers are so, well, sorta yesterday. But the Jonas clan also will perform in the annual Sunset on the Beach premiere of “Five-0” Thursday night (Sept. 26)  preceding the Friday premiere here and nationally.

But back to McBride: in the end, he just might be the soul “Five-0” needs to shape and plan for the future. Best of all, he brings no baggage; he is relative-free.

Book ‘em, Lenkov.

11 Responses to “Here comes McBride: is he a key to 'Hawaii Five-0's' future?”

  1. theDman:

    ...he brings no baggage; he is relative-free...

    LOL! Who knows, maybe that will work after-all.

  2. Manoa_Fisherman:

    Why not just get the entire surviving cast of "Magnum, PI" in on the action? Then they can syndicate the show on "ME TV", where ancient tv programs have a new life.

  3. Hawai:

    Why don't they make a move about Hawaii mafia that been in business over 40 years and have family& friends working with hawaii5-0 and how they take money(extortions)from drug , government, church, public figure and how is costing over 1 billion dollar a years.

    the cover up from mafia family is great and how the hawaii 5-0 killed for the mafia .and catch the bad cops great movie

  4. hossana:

    Enough of this Hawaii Five-0 crap!! Get rid of it already!!!!!!

  5. sarah lynn:

    It just might work, and as DMan stated already, there is no baggage. Sounds refreshing. I also thought Jorge Garcia's character I read about somewhere sounded kinda fun, and it was also surprising to me he wasn't a relative. Lenkov should just cut ties with all the previous stuff and start over. New nemesis, everything, and no Danno mom or McG aunt.

  6. terrysagirl:

    I'm pretty excited about the addition of Chi McBride, whom I've loved since Boston Public, and then just adored on "Pushing Daisies." But once again Wayne, I have to ask if you even watch the show. James Caan did not play Danno's father, or any other relative, and Kono and Adam didn't go to Hong Kong. It seems like in each blog you get some of the facts wrong, which is pretty sad considering this show is your assignment.

    And then this statement; "Daryl Hannah, Tim Daly and Nick Jonas, not exactly names appealing to the show’s key 18 to 49 demographics." First of all, the reason the show is being moved to Friday, is because it skews older - it isn't landing the younger crowd in large numbers any longer, so how "key" the younger group actually is, is debatable. But, how old do you think Nick Jonas is? Do you even know who Nick Jonas is?

    Admittedly, Mom McG didn't work out like hoped, and I'm not a big Melanie Griffith fan, but since both Kono and Chin Ho grew up on the island, it would seem rather likely that they would have parents there, wouldn't it? Frankly, it seems strange to me they haven't been referenced before. Don't let one bad parent-apple spoil the whole bushel, Wayne.

  7. sarah lynn:

    I had to respond to the second paragraph above from Terrysgirl regarding Nick Jonas. I think Wayne was exactly right on that. When the Jonas Brothers were popular, they appealed to 9-year old girls, not exactly a demographic that would watch a cop show. No one of any demographic is interested in the Jonas Bros now.

    And "the reason the show is being moved to Friday, is because it skews older". Hmm. I think it moved to Fridays because CBS needed another year for syndication, it wasn't drawing well on Mondays and CBS needed to freshen up its lineup, and it may have matched up well with Blue Bloods. It does, indeed, skew older, but as for that being THE reason for the move, I'm not sure. Maybe you're right, but the additional 22 episodes needed for TNT is probably the biggest reason IMO.

    Then, regarding paragraph 3 above, there have been other relatives that have been poorly written/performed/developed on this show. Steve's sister was great the first episode she was on, then she just became another victim of the week thereafter. Danny's brother was ridiculous. Chin's uncle and theft backstory could've been much edgier and interesting, but Lenkov and company allowed that to fizzle. Chin's wife was boring, yet she was a doctor who could have had some great storylines tied into. It was even rumored the actress was glad to be killed off since she had nothing to do on the show. We agree about Doris, though.

  8. Lowtone123:

    Whatever happened to former Lt Govenor-turned Govenor what'shisname?

  9. MAT:

    "Rankled Steve's chains" You're mixing your metaphors.

    Also James caan did not play Danny's father in 5-0. He played a former NY homicide detective.

    Agreed with everything else you wrote. If they went back to solid weekly mysteries involving mostly the core 4 they could probably save this show. As it stands, and with all the new, and uninteresting, characters being added, the show will undoubtedly die this year.

  10. Mr. Mike:

    Unlikely Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa could play Chin Ho Kelly's father, since he already guest-starred on the show as the slimy yakuza boss Hiro Noshimuri (father of Adam Noshimuri, Kono's boyfriend). Hiro was supposedly murdered and disposed of in a hotel room bathtub in episode 22 of season 2, though I don't think anyone actually did a DNA analysis on the gory remains to confirm this.

  11. Wiseguy70005:

    Also, I may be wrong since I am not familiar (yet) with the original Ed Asner episode but I understood his appearance on the new HF0 was a sequel to the original not a remake ("point by point, scene by scene"). That describes "Hookman" which was actually a remake.

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