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  • Michael W. Rickard II

Celebrating 50 Years of "Hawaii Five-O"

Copyright 2018 Michael W. Rickard II

2018 was a big year for pop culture anniversaries, but one that almost slipped away from me was the 50th anniversary of the landmark television series Hawaii Five-O. Produced by Leonard Freeman (and later by the star’s show, Jack Lord following Freeman’s death), the cop drama ran an incredible twelve seasons from 1968-1980 (Five-O would hold the record until it was finally beat by Law and Order in 2002). Hawaii Five-O told the story of a special state police unit in Hawaii comprised of an elite group of officers.

Filmed on location in the Aloha State, Hawaii Five-O was a well-written series with an all-star assemblage of guest actors and actresses. Like most shows of its length, it lost some of its steam as the years went on, but the program still holds up well today and is an engaging police procedural that tackled some of the issues of the day (issues which many viewers can still relate to today) in a thought-provoking way.

While the supporting cast featured many talented performers, the show revolved around its star Jack Lord, a man who had struggled for stardom for many years before landing this career-making role. Lord played the Five-O team’s leader Steve McGarrett, a driven police officer with a passion for justice and a compassion for crime victims. Lord would play McGarrett for twelve years before all but disappearing from Hollywood.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at the series including two excellent books. The first is Sylvia Lynch’s Jack Lord: An Acting Life which tells Lord’s life story while focusing on his on-screen career. The second is Karen Rhodes’ Booking Hawaii Five-O, a detailed analysis of the series. I’ll also be looking at the show’s impact on pop culture and television and hope fans of the original series and new series will enjoy it.

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