Outtakes: Lenkov talks 100th ‘Five-0′
BY MIKE GORDON / firstname.lastname@example.org
He tells the story a lot, but it’s a good one, so forgive Peter Lenkov for repeating it another time. Besides, with Lenkov’s TV drama “Hawaii Five-0” set to air its 100th episode Friday night, the executive producer has a timely tale.
When Lenkov set out to reboot the CBS series in 2010 he wanted to honor his father, a devoted fan of the original version of the show. “Five-0” defined their relationship: Every week, father and son watched it together.
“It had an impact on me in such a profound way,” Lenkov said in a call from his Paramount Studios office in Southern California.
As Lenkov imagined a modern version of his central character, the iconic lawman Steve McGarrett, he focused on the relationship McGarrett had with his father. But Lenkov imbued that bond with tragedy, killing off the elder McGarrett in the opening scene of the pilot.
Sorrow made the new McGarrett human, much softer than the square-jawed, suit-and-tie wearing version played by Jack Lord from 1968 to 1980. In the new “Five-0,” Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin portrays a man searching for family. He is a broken man surrounded with similarly broken characters who are also searching for a connection.
They find it in each other and that is the heart of the show, Lenkov said.
“I wanted McGarrett’s connection to his new family to be through his father and the death of his father,” Lenkov said. “That’s the way it started. There was no formula. I wanted to emotionally be able to write this show from a place of truth and honesty. I wanted people to relate to it.”
For Lenkov, it felt natural to tap that emotion for the show’s milestone 100th episode, which he views as a tribute to family. Lenkov turned everything upside down for the special episode, starting with McGarrett’s father, who is very much alive.
He gives them moments they never had. And Lenkov, who wrote the episode, put tears in the lawman’s eyes.
“I wanted the relationship between me and my father to be somehow translated to McGarrett and his father and how much he meant to him and how important he was in his life,” Lenkov said. “I don’t think it is as evident in every episode as it is in this one.”
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.