Outtakes Online: Bernsen’s ‘Five-0′ tribute
BY MIKE GORDON / firstname.lastname@example.org
Corbin Bernsen can be picky when it comes to guest starring in TV shows, but appearing in tonight’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0” was a slam-dunk decision. He did it for his mother, the grande dame of soap operas, Jeanne Cooper, who died in May.
Cooper appeared in a 1971 episode of the original “Five-0” called “… And I Want Some Candy and a Gun That Shoots.” She played the mean mother of a disturbed Vietnam War vet who starts taking rifle shots at people and police. She calls Oahu a “pesthole.”
Bernsen, who first won over TV viewers in the ’80s with his role as playboy Arnie Becker in “L.A. Law,” wouldn’t say much about his “Five-0” role. But he had fun.
“I’m caught up in the crime of the episode,” he said in a call from Los Angeles. “I find myself involved in something because of what my son is involved in. I’m not your typical criminal, straight-up bad guy. It’s a little more complicated and that was somewhat attractive to me.”
Even with episodic TV, there has to be complexity, Bernsen said.
The episode revolves around the shooting of a zombie-like man and a madman conducting creepy experiments on humans.
The 54-year-old Bernsen has been a steadily working actor since early roles as a boy. He has 186 acting credits, including a recurring role in the USA series “Psych.” His role on “L.A. Law” earned him a pair of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for lead actor.
He loved the original “Five-0.”
“That was one of the finer episodic procedurals,” he said. “From the music, to the zoom-ins to the complexity of McGarrett and he was such a hard ass.”
Bernsen has shot in Hawaii before, appearing in a December 2000 episode of “Baywatch: Hawaii.” But he’s visited the islands often, starting when he was a boy.
“When I was 17 I went to Kauai and lived in Kalalau Valley and lived there for months with hippies,” he said. “We had no clothes and we did everything and anything that went on there. I helicoptered in.”
His mother loved Hawaii, Bernsen said. She wanted to buy property on Maui but never did.
“I hope some day to buy property there in her honor,” he said.
And she would have gotten a kick out of his guest role on “Five-0.”
“She would have been thrilled,” Bernsen said. “She is thrilled. I know she is watching us.”
Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.