Ready to go back to the beach?
Hawaii Five-0 Season 5 won't premiere until September 26, but we’ve got scoop on the new villains ahead - including who will tangle with Danny - along with answers to some big questions about McGarrett and Wo Fat’s history and the show's 100th episode.
I jumped on the phone with Executive Producer Peter Lenkov earlier this week to get the lowdown on our favorite Hawaiian crime solvers, so let’s catch a wave and see what’s coming...
TV Fanatic: You left Season four in a good place to kind of leap into season five. Has it been a different kind of challenge for you this time around or is it business as usual?
Peter Lenkov: Well, not really business as usual. I think it’s actually been challenging because we just started shooting our 100th pisode so how do you make things fresh? And we always do this thing called Sunset On the Beach. We premiere the first episode in front of this live audience [in Waikiki], like ten thousand people and so every year I try to top that.
So this year I think we just went out of our mind in terms of a big episode to try to make it feel like there’s some fresh story still left to be told because that’s also the challenge. How do you, after a hundred episodes, still keep things exciting and feel like the show is growing? So it’s definitely not business as usual. In fact we’re making it tough on ourselves to do better than we’ve ever done.
TVF: With shaping the 100th episode, how did you think about in terms of honoring the series and the franchise as a whole?
PL: I think honoring the legacy of the original show, for sure. But I think one of the things that I was excited about thinking about the 100th episode is that over the last few years we’ve left a lot of questions unanswered. And I thought, what better time to answer these questions than the 100th episode? And they mostly have to do with McGarrett and the origins of Wo Fat and that relationship with McGarrett’s mother and all the sort of big mythology questions.
It may be that the 100th episode also pivots into the future by starting some new story lines. The good thing about the 100th episode, it’ll really feel like there’s finality if there’s some answers to a lot of big questions that we’ve been asking over the last couple of years.
In the 100th episode it’s sort of like this Irwin Allen extravaganza where you have all these stars and most of them are people that we’ve known over the years like Ian Anthony Dale and Will Yun Lee are coming back, and a lot of the fan favorite characters are coming back. Gavin Rossdale plays a little cameo in that episode but for the most part if you’re a fan of the show and you’ve been watching it forever all your favorite characters are going to be in it.
TVF: When will we see Carol Burnett again? Is she in the 100th?
PL: She’s in the 101st episode. She’s in the one right after that.
TVF: I want to ask a little more about Wo Fat because in the finale in some ways he helped our group so my question is are we supposed to feel differently about him or is he still in full-on villain mode?
PL: He’s still full-on villain mode. Wo Fat doesn’t do anything unless it benefits Wo Fat, so I think he definitely had a plan there by saving Grover’s daughter. Again, the last thing we heard was that he needed to have a face-to-face with McGarrett, and that’s definitely coming.
TVF: I know Catherine is not back, but have we seen the last of her at this point, or what can you say to that?
PL: I hope not. I hope we get to have her on again. We didn’t resolve her story line on purpose because we were hoping we could bring her back at some point, but probably a little later on than sooner. I think we sort of want to build to a reunion between those two.
TVF: It seems so kind of organic that Grover’s now part of the team. But will we see the team change because he is now a permanent part?
PL: Well, first of all, Chi McBride makes anything easy. When he first came on the show it really was going to be just for a couple episodes and it was such a good fit that we realized that it’s up to us. We better try to make this work because the guy is so good and he adds so much to every scene.
And I think that really in terms of the dynamics though, we just have another member of Five-0 but not much is going to change in terms of the relationships or the dynamics. It just means we have one other person to play with, and somebody who’s really good and really complements the team.
TVF: Outside of Wo Fat are there some new big bads coming this season or are we focusing on Wo Fat?
PL: We’re definitely going to resolve a lot of things with Wo Fat. We’re trying to launch at least one new multi-arc villain that has a couple episode arc so we’re looking at that as sort of building a big story.
There’s also this big sort of arc with Danny at the beginning of the season with a character that sort of comes to him and has a relationship with Danny’s brother, and that plays over the first four episodes. So that’s a pretty big villain right from Episode 1 that’s going to play a big impact on Danny’s life.
TVF: Does that include his daughter? Is she involved with some of this?
PL: No, she’s not in any jeopardy or anything but she’s definitely in the conversations, for sure.
TVF: You also have a lot of potential for some lighter. I know Max is going to be training Amanda Setton’s character and that sounds like that could be fun just knowing how Max is.
PL: Well, the difference is her character, Mindy Shaw, she gets the joke, unlike Max who doesn’t, and she’s really one of the guys. And I think she’s very different in terms of personality. And they sort of complement each other. It’s interesting to see them together. And I think Max really relishes the fact that he’s one of the senior M.E. (Medical Examiner). This year we’re also going to need a rival M.E. that works on the island of Hawaii, the Big Island. And these two guys really don’t like each other, and they’re going to be forced to work together, and then there’s going to be a funny story with that coming up. There’s a big Christmas episode coming up, too.
TVF: And what’s Jorge Garcia’s function going to be as Jerry?
PL: Well, there’s this big arc that starts the season with him, the conspiracy theory that he’s on and gets those guys involved and that sort of plays over the first five or six episodes. And he’s Jerry, he’s always going to be in our lives. He’s not a member of Five-0 but he’s definitely a part of everyone’s life just like the same way Kamekona is.
TVF: Are we going to see some romance this season? I was thinking Amanda Setton could spark with someone.
PL: There’s this moment in the first episode between Mindy and Danny, Scott’s character, and you can see that there’s something. We wrote something but we didn’t plan on it being so fun and sort of subtle but there’s something there you can tell and you’re hoping that maybe those two get to spend some time together, scenes together. So who knows? That’s always a possibility.
TVF: And you said Ian Anthony Dale is coming back…
PL: And Kono told Chin Ho last year that Adam wanted to get married to her and we’re going to play that out. So I think there’s romance. Even McGarrett’s going to meet a woman he has a connection to. When she was a little girl, McGarrett’s father had helped get the men who killed her father so McGarrett’s going to connect with this woman because they suffered a mutual trauma. So that’s going to be an interesting and that may go somewhere. So there’s a lot of potential for romance this year, relationships. We just are still in early days with that stuff.
Hawaii Five-0 Season 5 Episode 1 airs on Friday, September 26 at 9/8 on CBS.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.