This has been a great week for Hawaii Five-0 fans and we have another interview, this time from IGN, with the cast in this week leading up to the Season 3 premiere. We get a few more tidbits of information, plus a glimpse of the more playful side of Grace Park.
Hawaii Five-0 ended its second season in a big way, with every character’s life in turmoil, either physically or mentally. With Season 3 set to debut this Monday, I recently visited the Oahu set of the series, and the first big example of this turmoil was standing in front of me, doing a a scene with Alex O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett – Christine Lahti, playing Steve’s mom, Doris. This of course is oh-so notable because Doris was believed to be dead until the Season 2 finale.
“We deal with that immediately,” O’Loughlin told me. “He sits down with his mom and says, ‘All right, please explain.’ There’s a lot that goes along with that, too. One would think after 20 years you’d be thrilled to know that your mother’s still alive, but there’s a lot more that needs to be processed before that luxury. Basically, the devastation that’s gone in the household and the family and his life is largely due to the decisions that she made. The murder of his father was the direct result of the constant pursuit of her killers and what happened to her. So that immediately drops Steve into a place of pretty deep resentment and confusion.”
When last we saw Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), he was given a horrible decision to make, with his wife, Mailia (Reiko Aylesworth) and his cousin, Kono (Grace Park) both in deadly scenarios in separate locations thanks to William Baldwin’s villainous Frank Delano – and Chin chose to go to his wife. The Season 3 premiere will find Chin facing even more crucial decisions and put through the wringer emotionally.
Said Daniel Dae Kim, “I think it’s really interesting stuff for an actor to play because we are in what essentially is a crime procedural. It’s a crime of the week, we all know the format, it’s all over the television. Generally, as an audience, you know what to expect. As an actor, when you get material like this that’s of a very personal nature and speaks to their character’s history and future, it’s very, very rare. So I appreciate it a great deal. It’s the kind of material that makes me feel like an actor, so it’s been really fun to play. It’s been great for Chin Ho to kind of reveal those sides of himself. That’s the one great thing about television: character can reveal itself week to week as opposed to over the course of two hours in a film. So yeah, I really appreciate the opportunity to get material like that, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the ramifications of it are.”
Going forward this season, Chin will have to deal all of his recent actions. Said Kim, “He’s had to make some choices that he might not be proud of, in more than one way. You’ll see residual effects of it in subsequent episodes. I like the fact that it’s not just a ‘one-episode and done’ thing. It affects him physically, psychologically, as the season progresses.”
Danny ‘Danno’ Williams (Scott Caan) may have had the least jaw-dropping plotline occurring in the season finale, but it certainly was still one of vast importance to his character – as his ex-wife and her husband are threatening to take Danny’s daughter away from Hawaii, leading to his decision to fight her legally.
Daniel Dae Kim and Scott Caan in Hawaii Five-0
Regarding this turn of events, Caan said, “It’s obviously something fun to play with and something I like to do. The more character stuff they give me, the better. The more stuff they give me with my daughter or my family members, the better. The deeper I can dig and the more honest I can be, the more fun I can have. Ultimately, doing procedural stuff is more the job of this. But when you get the other stuff, it’s when you kind of light up and have more fun and play around a little bit more. I obviously enjoy that stuff the most. Anything that pokes me or upsets me or gets me going is good for drama.”
As for Kono, well… That’s a tricky one. Last we saw her, she was bound and gagged on a boat and pushed overboard, sinking to her doom. But it’s not a secret that Grace Park is still a member of the Hawaii Five-0 cast this season, so it’s also not really a secret that Kono is going to make it out of the lethal scenario… you know, most likely.
When I noted to Park that, since she was sitting in front of me on the set, I assumed Kono was either alive or a zombie, she grinned and ran through the possibilities for how she might be appearing in Season 3. “Yeah, Zombie Kono! She comes back in flashbacks. I play the evil twin. That kind of thing. No one’s ever done it before. Groundbreaking!”
I asked if this evil twin might sport the classic go-to evil twin goatee and Park replied, “Yeah, evil fraternal twin boy. We’re gonna take it back to the masculine.” [Since much of my conversation with Park hinged on what occurs in the premiere, look for a separate interview with her later next week, after the premiere has aired].
Grace Park in Hawaii Five-0
Hawaii Five-0: Season 3 will also have a new series regular this year – Michelle Borth, who has had a recurring role as McGarrett’s love interest, Navy lieutenant Catherine Rollins. Said O’Loughlin, “Michelle is now a part of our full-time cast, which is terrific. From the beginning, McGarrett hasn’t had a steady girl, and you know, Michelle’s been in and out. But she’s the obvious one that he has love for and a potential future with. So that’s going to open up a side of McGarrett that we haven’t really seen. Hopefully, we’ll tap into a softness and an accessibility that we haven’t seen that much of with this military sort of guy.”
When I asked what it was like working with the acclaimed Lahti, who’s won everything from an Emmy to an Oscar (the latter for directing a short film!), O’Loughlin laughed and exclaimed, “Jesus, she’s like a general, she’s so heavily decorated!”
He added that his TV mom is “Amazing. I love Christine very much. The first scene we ever did together, immediately after we met, was where they’re reunited at the beginning of [episode] 301. It’s a heavy scene, and we really had to be connected as people and as actors. So that was a wonderful way to start our friendship, and she’s a terrific person to have around. She’s very, very funny. She has a great sense of humor. She’s deeply humble and a lovely woman.”
Lahti recalled being pitched the character by Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov and how she had to work to get Lenkov to give her any details about the mysterious character. Recalled Lahti, “He said she was a CIA operative, an assassin, who had to fake her own death to protect her family 20 years ago. That’s basically it, so I filled in a lot of the blanks. But then he told me a few other things because I insisted. He answered some questions about the first episode. So I know some things that even Alex doesn’t know. Clearly, I’m not going to tell you about it, but you’ll find out. Stay tuned!”
Michelle Borth, Alex O’Loughlin and Christine Lahti in Hawaii Five-0
When I asked Lahti, best known for roles in dramas like Chicago Hope, what it was like to enter the action-filled world of Hawaii Five-0, she described it as “Totally fun. You know, I’ve always hated guns, and I deplore violence. I’m really an advocate for gun control, and here I am, holding a gun and shooting. It’s really fun, though. Her CIA training and her life as a CIA operative was so long ago — and I don’t really know how much she’s involved — but there must be something because she’s pretty handy with a gun!”
As for portraying the mother/son dynamic with O’Loughlin, Lahti remarked, “it’s really complex, which was what was really appealing about the role to me. She has no regret — she did what she had to do to protect her family — but is filled with guilt. Think of all the pain she’s caused to her kids and her husband, and ultimately the murder of her husband. There’s so much love and so much loss and humor — she’s also really funny. One of the most appealing things about taking this job was for her humor. She’s really funny. In addition to everything else, she was that. It’s been a great ride.”
Lahti has initially signed on for four episodes, and isn’t sure if she’ll be doing more beyond that. In the meantime, she noted, “There was a lot of build-up for this character, for two years, so I felt like there was a lot of responsibility for me to live up to that. That’s a good challenge.”