Five-0 Redux: Father figure

Feb. 28, 2012 | 15 Comments

Danny (Scott Caan), private investigator Tony Archer (guest star James Caan) and McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) cross paths as they investigate the death of a famous talk radio host. (Courtesy CBS)

Danny (Scott Caan), private investigator Tony Archer (guest star James Caan) and McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) cross paths as they investigate the death of a famous talk radio host. (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It’s always sad to see a cool guest star getting blown up in the first five minutes of a “Hawaii Five-0” episode, and this week was no exception. Dennis Miller, who meets a vocally explosive end, definitely got the show started on this week’s episode, “Lekiō” (“Radio” in Hawaiian).

Emmy Award winner Dennis Miller guest stars as famous talk radio host Bobby Raines. (Courtesy CBS)

Emmy Award winner Dennis Miller guest stars as famous talk radio host Bobby Raines. (Courtesy CBS)

As Miller — a comedian, actor, and currently the host of his own daily internet radio show — is no stranger to controversy, his portrayal as pirate radio show host Bobby Raines was not much of a stretch. But once Raines joins the heavenly airwaves, the action keeps rolling along, leading us to the inevitable showdown between McG and the real star of the episode, James Caan. And once Caan establishes himself as a sort of father figure to the team, the episodes sails along like a well oiled Five-0 machine.

I have to say, it’s always fun to watch signature “Five-0″ action, like a near hysterical Max joining McG and Danno to chase down Dumb and Dumber, a couple of Raines “acolytes,” who wanted to sacrifice Raines’s dead body to Pele on the Big Island. And the excellent carguments between Sigmund McG and his patient, Danno Troubled-Daddy Williams, as well as more subtle daddy issues between Danny and Tony Archer, played with effective gumshoe crabbiness by Papa Caan.

I don’t know what I loved better — McG getting one-uped by Archer in a game of gun chicken, or Archer’s many loving nicknames for Danny — “Hair-Do,” “Dick Tracy,” and the best: “Muscles.” We even got a “Book ‘em” from Papa Caan, definitely a cool moment for “Five-0″ fans.

A lot of hype has been made about James Caan guest starring on this week’s episode, and I was not disappointed. It was nice to see a big name actor get more than five minutes of short scenes in this week’s episode. He seemed to do a lot more than most guests, and I hope it was not an accident. Archer is a good character to bring back; he fit right in with his snappy combacks and the writers crafted his backstory and revealed it well. He seemed even more developed than Joe White, who played a similar father figure role to the Five-0 team.

James Caan, left, and his son, Scott Caan, share the screen in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

James Caan, left, and his son, Scott Caan, share the screen in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Perhaps this week’s episode should have been called “Makua kāne,” which means “father” in Hawaiian, as that is the role James Caan seemed to play. A godfather, if you will, to the Five-0 team — if you will excuse my obvious pun and historical allusion to the movie that made Papa Caan a household name in the 1970’s. The father issues and theme run pretty deep, which is not hard to do when James Caan is the real life father of Scott Caan. He fathers the team through the investigation and he also was the godfather to Raines’s daughter, Brandi (Heather Sossaman).

The fact that many of the characters had daddy issues, with Bobby Raines’s playing father figure to runaway kids at his charity home, the first suspect Doug Leland (Chris McGarry) having issues with his runaway son, as well as Danno’s personal issues with his daughter growing up right before his eyes, solidify the daddy metaphor.

And in the end, Archer gets to be the hero for his goddaughter, and seems to have made a strong bond with the Five-0 team. I am definitely on board for another episode with Tony Archer godfathering McG and Danno any time, any case. The McG/Danno/Tony group hug, as well as a real father-son hug in the end, was the topper to a great episode.

Perhaps Papa Caan can return to teach Danno a thing or two about slippers, wearing Aloha shirts, and how to deal with his marriage — I mean, his impending daughter issues. It’s obvious he knows how to be a really great father.

Redux Side Note:

“Hawaii Five-0” goes on a short hiatus for the next two weeks, with repeats of two of the more popular episodes from season two. “Mea Makamae” airs March 5, followed by “Ma‘ema‘e” on March 12.

Also, be sure to read Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon’s exclusive interview with James Caan to learn more about his experience on “Hawaii Five-0” and how proud he is of his son. It’s a great treat for “Five-0″ and James Caan fans alike.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama. Reach her on Facebook and on Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/fiveophans Joey

    refreshing, funny, and an instant classic!! this had it all – theyve got a way of making hard core fans happy every week. incredible. i hope james caan returns! his carachter would actually make for a great spinoff! never disappointed. how we can say ” it was one of my favorites” week after week and be sincere is an incredible compliment to the show! I love it !!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Gotta say I thought there was a great connection between Tony and Brandi at the end. I could really see Tony ( James Caan) coming back again and again with his god daughter Brandi (heather Sossaman) with some sort of plot integrated between them. She was really foxy and looked to have some serious acting skills, although we didnt get much dialogue in this eposide. Overall chemistry was fantastic between Tony, Mcgruff lol and Muscles …. would love to see Tony and Brandi become regular cast fixtures. From my point of view Tony’s character opened up this entire show to a fresh direction. It was better than anticipated and by far the best episode of the first two seasons.

  • http://twitter.com/Terrysagirl Terry

    As always, you point out the running themes (fatherhood)  that I manage to miss.  Your insight is interesting and always makes me want to go back and watch with “schooled” eyes. 

  • Anonymous

    Great review Wendie – as always. Enjoyed reading it. This was an epic episode. 

  • http://twitter.com/starg8r Kat

    Wonderful review.  Enjoyed the parallels of the father figures throughout the ep and glad you brought them out in your review.  Good job! :)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know how you get your reviews done so quickly each week, Wendie, but thank you for your dedication to the #H50 fans who wait for your review to get the discussions rolling on Tuesday morning! 

    Like you, this is indeed one of my favorite episodes this season.  I actually feared that all the James Caan hype the past week, especially, would do more harm than good because, quite often, the hype is better than reality. But I am so happy that this was not the case for Papa Caan and last night’s episode.

    It was obvious that James Caan is a fan of the show and understands the relationship between Steve and Danny.  He sandwiched himself right in between the two actors and played them for all it was worth! The banter, the nicknames, the sarcasm and snarkiness were delivered with flair and a true understanding of the craft!

    I think it’s very accurate to compare the difference between Joe  White the “father figure/mentor” and Tony Archer the “marriage counselor.” It really highlights the differences between Steve  and Danny, as well. Very well done, Show! I hope we see a lot more of Tony Archer in future adventures on H50!

    $H50-fan, I’m in the same boat! I kind of embarrass myself each week saying “this is my favorite episode!” I now have 42 favorite #H50 episodes?!

  • Anonymous

    Wendie,
    Excellent review as always. I was looking forward to Dennis Miller and am sorry that he was gone after the first five minutes. I guess he was guest shot with no long term comitment. I enjoyed the father/son connections throughout the episode. Good show all in.
    Paul

  • Anonymous

    Great review again Wendie.  I think you are absolutely right.  It would have been very appropriate to call the episode  “Makua kāne” (father).  I’m surprised TPTB didn’t think of that.  I mean, “Radio” is fine but other than the fact that Raines was a radio host, what did Radio have to do with the rest of the episode?

    I mean, JC is Scott’s dad
    Raines if a father to Brandie
    Tony is godfather to Brandie
    The whole charity to help kids get free from abusive parents/fathers
    The father who hated Raines because of that
    Danny with Grace at the Hilton

    I mean, the theme was all through the show.  Yes…I agree with you “Makua kāne” would have been very appropriate.

    Oh and Danny…you need to be careful babe!  You are either going to turn poor little Gracie into a paranoid nutcase who won’t be able to trust a person of the opposite sex for the rest of her life or, once she’s able, she is going to bolt from you straight into the arms of someone I can guarantee you won’t find suitable (which, considering how you are behaving would be ANYONE).  You need to chill brah! LOL

    Great great episode.  Can’t wait to watch it again!

  • http://twitter.com/MaddyRico50 Madaline Rico

    Like everybody else, I loved this episode. So well written, great team dynamic and the introduction of Papa Caan’s character was just perfect. I hope to see him in future episodes. His character may come in handy helping McG to hunt down WoFat.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great review and your insights!  I liked the episode except I was really disappointed that Dennis Miller got killed off so soon; I was hoping he was just injured.  Well, now I will keep hoping for more of James Caan.  BTW, do you think the Joe White character will ever return, or is he gone for good?

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Come back and read my post this weekend, Iʻm going to write out my theories of Joe and Lori and other guest characters this season:) Thanks for reading! ~WJ

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PYTWUNNG7PPBGVBTLCMBWMVEOY Diane

        Hi Wendy,

        I’m new to the site.  I was looking for your post that you mentioned to jw7 for last weekend, but I can’t find it.  I was wondering if I am looking in the wrong place.  I would like to hear your theory on the characters of H50. Thanks.

        • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

          Hi Diane- here’s my post from yesterday- http://www.honolulupulse.com/slider/five-0-redux-beating-the-sophomore-slump 
          It’s not really about theories- it’s more of a season 2 wrap up so far:) 

  • http://twitter.com/offermoi Offer Me

    I thought the episode was not as exciting as the other episodes. James Caan talks a lot and the show usually has a lot of action sequences but with the older Caan it won’t happen. I hope he is not a regular on the show as it will slow down the pace of the show which is what a lot of viewers are looking for.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PYTWUNNG7PPBGVBTLCMBWMVEOY Diane

    I loved this episode.  I hope James Caan comes back next season a couple of times.  The three of them worked perfectly together.  I had heard that there was adlibs, and if there were, all 3 of them knew exactly how to flow with it.  Loved Max’s melt down, he was even in on a little cargument.  Can’t wait for the rest of the season.