By Wayne Harada
Gotta hand it to CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.” For its Christmas episode on Friday (Dec. 20), the show had a sleigh full of procedural fodder: a serial killer threatening to kill a team member, a memento from the Japan earthquake/tsunami found on the beach, a glimpse of “Honolulu City Lights,” even Chi McBride (Det. Lou Grover) as a Santa of color.
Despite the mix of murderous mayhem, there was a sweet dose of “Mele Kalikimaka.” But auwe, the effort didn’t do much to jingle the Nielsen ratings bell; the preliminary live overnight numbers for “H50” topped its time slot (8 p.m. here, 9 p.m. Mainland) with 9.38 million viewers, but fell flat in the coveted 18 to 49 demographics with a 1.2 rating, a skosh behind ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which posted a 1.3 demo rating and 5.48 million viewers. Demos, you know, determine the power of a series’ advertising rates.
Overall, ABC won the demos for the night, but CBS had the most viewers, largely through the network’s “Blue Bloods,” which pulled in the most viewers (10.18 million) and a middling 1.1 demo. CBS’ “I Love Lucy Christmas Special,” at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. Mainland), logged the top demo rating, 1.4, with 8.65 million viewers.
“H50,” themed “Pukana” (Hawaiian for memento or souvenir), focused on a mysterious box with a trinket of sorts inside, discovered by Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) during a beach cleanup with dad Danno Williams (Scott Caan). The plot also involved a serial killer (James Urbaniak), whose house is invaded by a thief in the opening segment; the dude is shot in the head and stuffed in the trunk of a car.
Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) investigates and winds up as a kidnapped victim in the cellar of the home of the serial killer, where he is brutally beaten, gagged and bound. It is the bloodiest moment yet of an attack of a team member. And when he doesn’t (because he couldn’t) respond to his cellphone, Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) launches a search. Thank heavens the killer's g.f. (Heather Dubrow, pictured with Urbaniak, above) shows up, enabling Chin to wiggle his way out of harm's way.
Long story short: This is Chin’s show; he is reunited with his girlfriend, Leilani (Lindsay Price), he utters the “Mele Kalikimaka” greeting; his fate is of the uttermost interest. Along the way, McBride shows up as a Santa for the second time in “H50” history; he has banter with McG as usual. Forensics guy Fong (Brian Yang) discovers DNA in the locket in the box that provides a key clue to return the trinket to its rightful owner, a Japanese national who survived the chaos and calamity of nature, where his family (and daughter pictured in the heart on a chain), so naturally, there will be closure.
Meantime, Kono (Grace Park) still is in her afar mode, appearing in a cameo from Seattle and then Vancouver; her situation still is in limbo, if anyone still cares.
This episode did have a warm personal surprise for me; when Danno and Gracie return the locket to the dad in Japan, the location for the supposed Nippon neighbor was actually Kokea Gardens, a stone’s throw from Kapalama Canal, where my late mom and dad lived. I know; I recognize the building and the narrow pathway of vegetation between buildings. Seemed to be the precise walkway where my parents lived for years, so it brought back fond memories of a Christmas past.
Programming note: expect returns of “H50” over the next few days/weeks, including one at 8 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 21) that aired Nov. 12, 2012.