To be honest, though the original Hawaii Five-O was on the air during first ten years of my life, I don’t remember anything about it beyond the iconic theme music and the phrase “Book ‘em, Danno.”  So there was no treading on sacred cows or any particular expectations I had when watching the remake of the show.  Here’s what I do know:  this iteration of the show not only works well, but was surprisingly good.

The father of Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is killed by bad guys hiding on the island.  The governor of Hawaii (Jean Smart), grief stricken and angry as she was also a friend of McGarrett’s dad, comes to him with proposal to head up, a task force that doesn’t have to play by the rules, comes complete with immunity agreements, and a magical budget to fund it.  He then gets to put together his own team, which includes:  Danny Williams (Scott Caan) a former New Jersey cop who refers to Hawaii as “a pineapple-infested hellhole”; Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim, most recently from Lost), disgraced officer no longer on the force due to accusations of corruption; and Kona Kalakaua (Grace Park, Battlestar Galactica), the disgraced officer’s surfer cousin cum almost ready to graduate from the academy officer.

“You don’t have to like me, but right now there’s no one else to do this job.” –Steve

An Annapolis-educated former Navy SEAL, Steve McGarrett plays outside the lines. He’s a just this side of loner character, a maverick who plays by his own rules whose cowboy mentality gets frustrated with bureaucracy and red tape, rules and authority as they more often than not get in his way.  His focus is mission oriented, get the job done.  So he assembles a team of other square pegs in a round system who are similarly good at what they do.  Team interplay becomes key to the show’s success.  McGarret shares a “whose is bigger” chemistry with the gruff played Danno and they come across as brothers trying to out-do one another.  Chin and Kona play against one another in that family sort of way.  And the show works.

“In a civilized society, we have rules.” –Danno

Balance between being slaves to the law and adhering to the spirit of the law (justice) rather than the letter, but believing in a procedural correctness only takes people so far in their journey.  We don’t get to make up the rules as we go along; the Law is meaningless if it isn’t consistently applied. Of course, that’s the rub, isn’t it: the Law isn’t consistently applied. It can’t be because the appliers (humanity) aren’t consistent – no matter how much talk there is about applying the law “for the greater good.”  McGarrett chooses the path of investing himself in a few, those that had been called for a purpose. They became his disciples of justice and he calls others to join in their mission of justice.

“No task is too big when done together.” –Chin

Hawaii Five-O approaches a CSI Miami level of ridiculousness when it comes to how it handles its cases, but at least it doesn’t pretend to be playing procedures straight.  These are action heroes with badges, Tango & Cash with immunity agreements.  The action is well-choreographed, filled with tension, and executed with an eye for detail. It’s enough so that each week you look forward to hearing those magic words:  “Book ‘em, Danno.”