Five-0 Redux: The villains I’ve loved

Jun. 18, 2013 | 8 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I have a confession to make: I have a love/hate relationship with many of the villains on “Hawaii Five-0.”

I love how they are smart and tricky, yet so ruthless and charismatic I want to like them — but I know I will lose my “Team Five-0” card if I ever gave into their evil charm.

More often than not, they seem to have a special vulnerability I can relate to, and even get me semi-cheering for them to at least survive McGarrett and his team. Don’t get me wrong, I never want them to actually succeed. I would never go against McG, but I would like a few of them to live and cause havoc one more day in “Five-0″ land.

So like last summer’s open letter to the “Five-0″ villains from season two, here’s five of my beloved season three villains, and why many of us have loved them more than we really should.

The Hookman

I can’t seem to say enough about the rebooted version of the 1973 classic “Hawaii Five-O” episode of the same name.

 The Hookman, played by Peter Weller. (Photo courtesy CBS)

The Hookman, played by Peter Weller. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Not only was the villain, one Curt Stoner, someone we inherently felt sorry for, but he was also extremely clever in plotting his revenge against the HPD officers he blamed for the loss of his arms. Unfortunately for Stoner, he sought to avenge his limbless life by also targeting McGarrett — the son of the officer he blamed the most for causing his injury.

Stoner was played by the impressive Peter Weller, who also directed the episode, and the real-life double upper amputee, Jason Koger, who “stood in” for The Hookman’s bionic hands.

I think one of the reasons why I loved the Hookman was because I could understand his anger and his want for payback. I’d say losing your arms is pretty brutal, and then to spend years in jail paying for a crime that also caused that loss is adding insult to injury.

Hookman did lose a lot of my love when he shot Sgt. Duke Lukela, who was a rookie when Hookman was thwarted by Jack McGarrett and officers Keoki and Ookala. When he engraved “McGarrett” into a bullet, I knew all bets were off, as there would be no way Hookman would survive if he went after Five-0.

When Kono shot him in the end, I felt a mixture of “glad he was stopped” and “aww, poor Hookman,” mostly because the guy never had a chance once he looked through his scope and aimed at McGarrett.

The Evil Woman

I don’t think I’ve loved hating a woman like Dr. Olivia Victor, the “Evil Woman” in “Wahine ‘Ino Loa,” since Alexis Carrington graced my television in “Dynasty.”

For those of you who may not recall the kind of character Alexis was on the popular 80’s soap opera, just think of Bellatrix Lestrange from “Harry Potter” and add a cool hat and beautifully capped teeth. All three women — Olivia, Alexis, as well as Bellatrix — were evil, conniving, and clever, but always undone by good.

Olivia, played by with smirky excellence by Vanessa Marcil, was lovely to hate because she used all of her feminine wiles to twist McG into knots, and I had to give the girl some props for being a tricky wahine. She was still too skinny to completely fall in love with, but I bet she won’t be able to keep that girlish figure at Chez Halawa Correctional Facility.

The Bad Cop

How can we forget ex-HPD Detective Kaleo? We met him so briefly in season one’s “Manaʻo”, and luckily for us we’ve seen him twice more since his visiting hours were reinstated in season two’s “Kālele.”

Unfortunately for Kaleo, played with nice passionate anger by Jason Scott Lee, our third visit in “ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make” took place during a prison riot unwittingly set off by Chin Ho and Sang Min to orchestrate their escape.

 Bad cop Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee) meets his match in Chin Ho Kelly. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Bad cop Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee) meets his match in Chin Ho Kelly. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Poor Kaleo — not only does he have to hang out with the commoners in general population, afraid a criminal he put behind bars would kill him, but in the end it was his own need for revenge against his own brother in blue that actually brings him down. Chin Ho fights to the death against Kaleo minutes before McG and the Five-0 team swoop in for the rescue.

It seems in the dynamic of good cop/bad cop, Kaleo drew the short stick.

The Combatant

If any villain brought out the I love him/I hate him feelings in me, it was Vince Shin’s North Korean combatant in “‘Ōlelo Paʻa.”

Maybe because I met Shin in person, or perhaps because I really enjoyed the episode, but his character was the bad guy that I felt a bit sorry for when he was used as a human booby-trap. While he did kill McG’s SEAL brother Freddie, who he killed and buried years before, death by grenade still seemed like a tough way to die.

 Vince Shin's North Korean combatant character takes a shot at McGarrett.  (Photo courtesy CBS)

Vince Shin’s North Korean combatant character takes a shot at McGarrett. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Shin’s portrayal was a conflict in emotion because his character probably would have faced the same fate as Freddie if the situation had been reversed. I’m not a terrorist, nor do I hang out with arms dealers or underground rebel groups, but I would guess that their life spans are fairly short.

Luckily for me I got to experience how a combatant lives and dies without having to wander too far from my living room.

The Black Sheep

Now the villain I wanted to love and wanted him to love me back the most this season was Adam’s brother, Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney), who first appeared in “Huakaʻi Kula,” freshly released from prison.

 Black sheep Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney) takes his anger out on big brother Adam (Ian Anthony Dale. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Black sheep Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney) takes his anger out on big brother Adam (Ian Anthony Dale. (Photo courtesy CBS)

When he hugged Kono hello, I thought, “Well, maybe they will be one big happy family?” I should have known that anyone who looks as sweet in the face, yet have eyes that are hard as his own pecs, probably has other things on his mind besides living on the right side of the law, and the right side of his brother’s cop girlfriend.

Alas, when Adam kills him in the season ender, I was glad to see the black sheep of the Noshimuri clan finished. He would have taken down not only his trying-to-do-good brother, but also Kono, which would have torn the Five-0 team apart.

Ironically, the team is separated right now because of Michael’s actions, but I’m crossing my fingers that will be resolved rather quickly to get Kono back with McG and the team.

The Momma

Alas, we come to a character that shouldn’t be considered a villain, but I can’t help but think that Doris McGarrett really is a good antagonist for McGarrett.

 Momma McG tries yet again to convince her son that she is no villainess. (Photo courtesy CBS)

Momma McG tries yet again to convince her son that she is no villainess. (Photo courtesy CBS)

An antagonist is not always bad, but if you pull them out of the story, the story falls apart — and the writer’s have set Momma McG as someone who connects McG in many ways to several storylines. The Wo Fat storyline, and the Adam and Kono storyline, as well as the Champ Box/Shelburne/Jack McGarrett story that seems to still be lingering on into season four.

I know many of us love Christine Lahti, but her Doris character has often rubbed us the wrong way; sometimes good and sometimes bad. Still, I see her as someone I really love, but who completely frustrates me as a viewer. I want answers!

And like a typical Momma, Doris is making me wait patiently like the good little girl I should be. I only hope next season we see her more as a team player than someone who creates more conflict than she resolves.

OVERALL, this season’s mix of villains was a pretty good one. There are several I haven’t mentioned but could have, as I’m sure you all will comment here if you want to add to the list.

I’m just happy that there were several that I enjoyed watching be caught by McGarrett and his team. I’m hoping I’ll have more to add to the list for love notes next season.

Redux Side Note:

This week’s repeat was “Ke Koa,” featuring kapu ku‘i a lua — the ancient Hawaiian martial art more commonly known as lua. Friday’s repeat is “Pā’ani” filmed by Jeffrey Hunt and incorporates the Pro Bowl and NFL running back Arian Foster. There is a special cameo by former “Magnum P.I.” star Larry Manetti.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Sam

    Thank you for this. A good villain makes half the show.

    I loved the psycho psychiatrist; her power play with McGarrett was just
    brilliant. A great episode.

    I’m really sorry that Michael is gone already. He had such potential and in my
    eyes was more interesting than Adam could ever be. Such a pity that they killed
    him. I think that was a mistake, he still had so many stories in him. ;-)

    Christine Lathi is brilliant as momma McG. But I must say that I lost
    interest in her story with Wo Fat. That was dragged out way too long. I don’t
    care about that anymore, or about Steve’s connection to Wo Fat. But I still
    like to see her again from time to time opposite Steve. Alex and Christine are
    great together.

    • Terry FiveOs

      Yes, I would have liked to see Michael make Kono’s life much more uncomfortable within the team. I hate the way this show feels the need to kill off all the villains except for Wo Fat. I was so mad when they killed off August Rush. He was by far the most interesting character they’ve had on the show.

      • Sam

        Hi Terry,

        I’m pretty sure you’re talking about August March (Ed Asner). August Rush was a film Alex was in.

        March was a great character, and I loved it that they brought someone in from the old show. It’s a pity that he is also gone.

        • Terry FiveOs

          Hahaha! Yep!

  • KAD1228

    I love a good villain! For me Hookman was not only the best episode of s3 but also the best villain! He had the perfect amount of evil, cold, calculating, sinister and desperation, going. I had chills down my spine when I saw both the photo and the bullet w/Steve’s name.

    Kaleo got everything he deserved as did the Combatant. There’s that old saying, that what goes around, comes around and both men received their long-awaited just desserts. Even the good doctor Dr. Olivia Victor got what was coming to her. Although I will admit that the sexual tension between her and Alex was off the charts – it added a different twist to the usual storyline. To quote Steve – “She’s playing me and I hate being played”.

    I was sorry to see Michael go so soon. There was a lot of conflict and tension between him and Adam that could have been explored. I wish I could say the same for Momma. She can’t leave soon enough for me. I really am hoping for answers and her departure early into s4. Her return and convoluted story took away A LOT from the original Wo Fat storyline. It’s become trite and annoying.

    Thanks for this Wendie! You’re right about the many other villains who graced the screen! I hope Sang Min will make a return visit to the screen this season – he’s one villain I actually love!!

  • jlopie1

    Thanks, Wendie! I have to say even though Grandma Helen (Lee Meriweather) was not officially the villian in this season’s Halloween episode, she was the one who chilled me to the core! She undoubtedly was unhinged enough to have passed her psychotic genes on to her grandson, the real villain. Funny thing is, I can’t remember HIS name off the top of my head, but I can remember her’s!

  • LindaStein

    As always Wendie…you bring a fresh take to our favorite show and keep our interest high even when the show is on hiatus! Mahalo!!!

    They say you can’t know happiness unless you’ve also felt sadness; a person who has always been downtrodden may not recognize good fortune when it presents itself. There must be yin to accompany yang. So too is the hero. Without the villain, without a foe, with no enemy to vanquish, there is no true reason for the hero to exist. The more deadly or calculating the foe, the more strength and ingenuity is required to produce the hero.

    Five-0 has 4 heroes and with McGarrett leading the pack the villains needed to propel the stories must also be just as fierce. Five-0 always has wonderful villains, some more lethal than others. I find it interesting that in a show that has WoFat it’s not him who pops into our minds when we think of the best villains for the season. I agree with all your choices 100%.

    I hope that who ever the new villain Peter Lenkov has up his sleeve for Season 4 is a mind blower. WoFat has lost steam and that’s a shame. But as long as we keep getting week to week good…bad guys I’m a happy camper!

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,

    I agree with your selections, especially The Hookman. That ep was among the best of the season. It was a perfect tie in with the original Five0. I hope they do another similar one for the upcoming season.
    WoFat does seem to be on hold and not really part of the series anymore. I prefer some resolution with him and the chest, and then he could depart the series.
    Paul