1 9 6 8 – 1 9 8 0 (USA)
278 x 50 minute episodes
Hawaii Five-O was the longest continuous-running police series in television history, airing on CBS from September 1968 to April 1980.
Although the men of Hawaii Five-O were based in the Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu, they were not members of the Honolulu Police Department.
They worked as part of the Hawaiian State Police and were accountable directly to Governor Philip Grey.
Jack Lord played Steve McGarrett, head of the elite four-man police unit investigating “organised crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, felonies of every type.”
James MacArthur played his 2IC Danny “Danno” Williams, with local actors Kam Fong, Zulu, Al Harrington, and Herman Wedemeyer playing members of the Five-O team.
McGarrett (pictured below left) worked with his own men and the local police in solving crimes and fighting the organised groups of the Hawaiian underworld.
The most hated man on any of the islands was the criminal genius Wo Fat (a Red Chinese agent in charge of the entire Pacific Asiatic theatre).
He would pop up every now-and-then to make life difficult for McGarrett, who was determined to put him in prison.
Although he did manage to interfere with Wo Fat’s illegal activities, he could never get enough evidence to put him away for good.
There was very little turnover among the lead characters. Steve had several secretaries – May was replaced by Jenny, and Luana took her place. One of his assistants, Kono, left the show after four seasons.
After ten seasons, Kam Fong tired of his role as Chin Ho Kelly and was written out by having his character killed in the final episode of the 1977-78 season. But for most of the cast, the working conditions in Hawaii were too nice to give up.
At the end of the 1978-79 season, James MacArthur decided he had enough of playing McGarrett’s top assistant, Danny Williams (pictured below right).
That fall, three new members were added to the cast, including former policewoman Lori Wilson.
The ratings were falling and the new cast members didn’t help – this would be Hawaii Five-O‘s last season.
Near the end of it’s run, on 5 April 1980, McGarrett’s toughest rival was finally brought to justice.
Disguised as a scientist, McGarrett sprung a trap that sent Wo Fat – seen for the first time in five years – to jail.
Hawaii Five-O was filmed entirely on location and it was the action and the beautiful scenery of Hawaii that made it so popular.
The series was also famous for the guest actors who appeared in episodes, including Ricardo Montalban, Leslie Nielsen, Herbert Lom and many more. The icing on the H50 cake was the extremely famous and wonderful title theme.
Jack Lord died in Hawaii on 21 January 1998 of congestive heart failure, aged 77.
Chin Ho Kelly
Governor Philip Grey
Attorney General Walter Stewart
James “Kimo” Carew