Five-0 Redux: On location in Hawaiʻi
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
One of the best elements of watching “Hawaii Five-0” has to be seeing all of the fantastic images of the islands. It’s almost as if all the sunshine, the blue Pacific Ocean and the green of our lush mountains are poured into television screens for the entire world to enjoy. Hawaiʻi itself is always in the spotlight and is consistently a major part of the “Five-0” oeuvre which permeates the show and its storylines.
Executive producer Peter Lenkov has always said Hawaiʻi is “one of the main characters of the show,” and like the original, the cast and crew take great pride in filming on location in Hawaiʻi. While their main filming area is on Oʻahu, they have also filmed on Hawaiʻi island, Maui and Lanaʻi over the last five seasons. Locations on Oʻahu have subbed for Niʻihau, Japan, North Korea and Columbia. Some exterior shots have been filmed in Hong Kong and in Vancouver, B.C., yet for the most part Hawaiʻi plays herself every week on the small screen.
Many fans have asked where they can watch shooting or visit the set when they visit Oʻahu. A few times, I’ve taken fans to see specific locations, and during season two and three I helped lead two Hawaii Aloha Travel bus tours to Five-0 locations for fans who were here for Sunset on the Beach.
So when Amy and Zoom Bakari invited me on a Hawaii Jeep Tour of “Hawaii Five-0” locations, I was completely on board. I wanted to check out a few of the locations myself and find out what fans of the show might think about Hawaiʻi. Amy is a “Hawaii Five-0” blogger and Zoom has been an extra on the show as well as in “Jurassic World,” and their knowledge of the filming locations, as well as insight into the show, is integral for a tour of this nature to be successful. And they were awesome; not only did they show fans the locations, but they added behind-the-scenes stories, as well as Hawaiian culture and history. It was a great way to see Oʻahu and relive moments from past episodes.
I rode with Zoom and shared my tour with a couple from Quebec, Normand Pelletier and Louise Normand (this is not a typo; Pelletier explained his partner has the same last name as his first). Normand is a self-described “super-fan” and Pelletier said they watch episodes both in dubbed French and English back home. They were thankful Zoom showed them clips of each spot on a portable iPad, which helped refresh their memories of where they originally saw each spot we visited. It was a great way to mix sightseeing with their favorite scenes and episodes.
After driving past Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island (the new parking spot for Kamekona’s shrimp truck), our first stop was the Five-0 Headquarters at Aliʻiōlani Hale. We took pictures in front of the King Kamehameha statue and went into the building to see where guest star Henry Ian Cusick surrendered to Five-0 in the season four opener.
I was happy to share the origins of the Hawaiian flag and the meaning behind the Union Jack taking up the mast side left corner, as well as what the eight stripes stand for (the British were great friends to King Kamehameha and the monarchy and the eight stripes stand for the eight main islands in the Hawaiian chain). We also talked about ʻIolani Palace and its Hawaiian and “Five-0” history. ‘Iolani Palace was not only where King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani lived before the fall of the monarchy, but was also where Five-O had their offices in the original “Hawaii Five-O.”
After our brief glimpse into Hawaiian history, we drove past the Hawaiʻi State Capitol building, where Governor Denning (Richard T. Jones) warned McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) about overstepping his boundaries in “Hookman.”
We drove into Punchbowl Crater to visit the National Cemetery of the Pacific where John McGarrett (William Sadler) is buried. In Hawaiian, Punchbowl is known as Pūowaina, or Hill of Sacrifice. An appropriate name for two reasons — as a National Cemetery only service members can be buried there (McGarrett’s father fought in Vietnam) and in ancient Hawaiʻi, Pūowaina was where warriors were sacrificed to the gods.
After Punchbowl, we headed up Round Top Drive and stopped at the Tantalus lookout where McGarrett and Danno (Scott Caan) once tried to push McG’s beloved Mercury Marquis. We drove further up Round Top Drive and stopped at Puʻu ʻUalakaʻa State Park to not only see the spectacular views from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor, but to also see the site where poor Roy Parrish (Michael Madsen) met his demise.
Once we were done, we headed to Manoā Valley to see four private homes that stood in for a few important addresses on the show. We visited Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono’s (Grace Park) homes, and young David Toriyama’s (Luke Hagi) home, as well as his 1941 neighbor’s home in the Pearl Harbor episode.
Waikīkī was our next stop, and while the many scenes shot along Kalākaua Avenue are too numerous to name, we did watch a Sunset on the Beach clip and showed our visiting friends where the famous red carpet event has been held for the last five seasons. We headed over to Diamond Head lookout and took many pictures at Danno’s favorite spot (and ironically enough, Scott Caan’s favorite surfing spot). Diamond Head is also the home to the Hawai’i Film Studio and fans got a chance to see Danno and Max’s Camaros parked in the lot, as well as the outside of the soundstage where both the reboot and the classic version of “Five-0” made some of their magic.
After a few more stops, including Rachel’s (Claire van der Boom) house from season one and Koko Crater Trail (where McG and Lori Weston challenged each other to a race), we made the best stop of all at the Bayer Estate, otherwise known as McGarrett’s house.
The Bayer Estate is a historic home that has stood in for McG’s home from the start. Owner Susan “Sooz” Mirikitani welcomed us into her home and showed us where John McGarrett was murdered, McGarrett’s bedroom and the living room where Danny often slept. We all walked out to the yard where we moved the familiar wooden chairs to sit like McG and watch the waves wash over the sand. The property is small but lovely, and as it is a wedding venue in its real life, we all wondered if the show would ever use it to stage a “Five-0” wedding like no other.
After marveling at the “house where McG sleeps” and taking lots of pictures inside and out, Mirikitani gifted us with ice-cream treats (Zoom Bakari said it’s the best part of the tour). We walked back to the Jeeps to say our goodbyes, our heads spinning with images of McGarrett and the Five-0 crew. And as we made our way back to our real lives, we couldn’t help but think about the beauty of Hawaiʻi that can only be witnessed in person.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Alex O’Loughlin, fitness trainer Egan Inoue and Marcus Wilson made an appearance Friday at Whole Foods Kailua to present a jiu jitsu demo.
O’Loughlin looked relaxed and at ease, yet seemed to be right at home showing the small crowd a few moves.
Inoue just opened a new Egan’s Training Center in Aiea on Kauhale Road. Manager and trainer Heather Wong sent pictures from the Whole Foods event and invited everyone to join her at the new location.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.