Hawaii Five-0's second season was, effectively, a more ambitious repeat of the series' highly successful first season -- in some ways, too ambitious, as some of the episodes involve plots that were a little too convoluted for easy, uninvolved viewing, as well as embracing levels of violence that were soon to become a bone of contention between Congress, the FCC, the networks, and producers. The cast was unchanged from the previous season, and Jack Lord's Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur's Danny Williams were still the center of most of the stories, although Kam Fong's Chin Ho Kelly and Zulu's Kono Kalakua each got featured episodes. Harry Endo's character of Che Fong, the lead of the forensic unit, was also introduced in this season. And Maggi Parker as McGarrett's secretary May was replaced by Peggy Ryan, the former child actress of the 1940s, in the role of Jenny during this season.
The shows themselves were mostly memorable if, understandably, a bit grim, as the body count on the series was very high. Khigh Dhiegh was back as Chinese agent Wo Fat for two episodes. A few of the story-lines seemed aimed at some of the excesses of youth culture of the era, and come off as very dated today. But others, such as "Three Dead Cows At Makapu", a two-part thriller starring Ed Flanders and Loretta Swit -- a story about a plot to wipe out Hawaii's population, using a deadly microbe, as a protest against biochemical warfare research -- seem very relevant 40 years later. And one script, "To Hell With Babe Ruth", about a recovered amnesiac (played by Star Trek's Mark Lenard), who is bent on carrying out his 1941 sabotage mission on behalf of the Japanese government, in conjunction with the attack on Pearl Harbor, is a reminder of just how much of its time the series was -- today no one would cast a western actor such as Lenard, fine as he was, in a Japanese role; and no one today would dare submit a script that implied (or stated, as this one does) that Japanese saboteurs, regardless of where they originated, were living in our midst decades after Pearl Harbor. In between such highlights and odd episodes, Hawaii in this season was depicted as a near-paradise that was constantly under threat from mobsters, foreign agents, rebels from overseas, and lurking sociopaths and psychopaths. Jack Lord got to work his acting muscles a bit harder in a handful of episodes in which McGarrett was threatened personally, none more so than "Blind Tiger", in which the lawman is blinded in an explosion. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
Cast & Crew
Jack Lord - Det. Steve McGarrett
James MacArthur - Det. Danny Williams
Kam Fong - Det. Chin Ho Kelly
Zulu - Det. Kono Kalakaua
Richard Denning - Gov. Philip Grey