Hawaii Five-0 Then Versus Now

A Look at the Original Series Compared to the New 2010 Series

Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park
••• Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The new version of the classic TV series Hawaii Five-0 premiered on CBS on Monday, September 20, 2010. As of 2017, it is still running in its now regular 9:00 p.m. Friday evening slot.

Filming takes place in Hawaii for over six months of the year and the cast and crew are spotted regularly across the island of Oahu.

As we look at the new series, it is fun to look back at the original series which ran from 1968 to 1980 on CBS and then look at the new series, seeing where the two series are different, but how, in many ways, they remain consistent with each other.

I hope you enjoy our look at Hawaii Five-0 Then Versus Now.

The Premise

Then:
The show featured a fictional state police unit run by Detective Steve McGarrett, played by actor Jack Lord. (Hawaii has no state police force.) The name of the television series derives from the fact that Hawaii was the 50th state to join the United States. The force was led by former U.S. naval officer Steve McGarrett (played by Jack Lord), who was appointed by the governor, Paul Jameson. McGarrett and his team assisted local police as needed but also pursued international secret agents, criminals, and Mafia syndicates plaguing the Hawaiian Islands.

Now:
In this contemporary version, a new elite federalized task force is formed with a mission to tackle crime in the Aloha State. Detective Steve McGarrett, a decorated U.S. Navy lieutenant commander turned cop, returns to Oahu to investigate his father's murder (presumably the original Steve McGarrett) and stays after Hawaii's governor persuades him to head up the new team: his rules, her backing, no red tape and full blanket immunity to hunt down the biggest "game" in town.

The Governors

Then:
In 1968, the actual governor of Hawaii was John A. Burns, a Democrat, who served from 1962-1974. Burns was 58 years old when the show premiered in 1968. The role of the Governor Paul Jameson was played by actor Richard Denning who was 53 years old when the series premiered.

Now:
The governor of Hawaii when the show premiered in 2010 was Linda Lingle, a Republican, who served since 2002.

Her term of office ended in December 2010. Lingle was 57 years old when the show premiered. The role of Governor Patricia "Pat" Jameson in the new Hawaii Five-0 was played by actress Jean Smart who was 59 when the series premiered.

Theme song

Then:
The original, iconic Hawaii Five-0 theme song was composed by Morton Stevens, who also composed numerous episode scores. It was subsequently recorded by The Ventures and to this day remains popular with high school and college marching bands including the University of Hawaii.

Now:
Originally an up-tempo, acoustic version of the theme song was considered and even recorded for the new Hawaii Five-0, but this was rejected after uproar from fans of the original. The song was subsequently re-recorded using many of the original musicians and it is that re-recording which is used for the new series.

Opening Title Sequence

Then:
The original series opening title sequence begins a scene of the high North Shore surf followed by a fast zoom-in to the top balcony of the Ilikai Hotel where Steve McGarrett turns to face the camera, followed by many quick-cuts and freeze-frames of Hawaiian scenery, and Hawaiian-Chinese-Caucasian model Elizabeth Malamalamaokalani Logue turning to face the camera.

A grass-skirted hula dancer from the pilot episode is seen, played by Helen Kuoha-Torco who later became a real-life professor of business technology at Windward Community College. The opening scene winds up with shots of the supporting players, and the flashing blue light of a police motorcycle racing through a Honolulu street.

Now:
The new opening title sequence include the re-recorded version of the original theme music as well as many short clips from the original title sequence interspersed with clips of the new actors. Steve McGarrett will once again be seen on the top balcony of the Ilikai Hotel. Additional Hawaii landmarks seen in the new title sequence include: the big North Shore waves, Aloha Tower, The Honolulu Memorial and Statue of Columbia at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the King Kamehameha Statue in front of Ali'iolani Hale in Honolulu, Kualoa Ranch (where much of Lost was filmed), a Waikiki sunset, Diamond Head, and Honolulu International Airport.

The Cast

Television in 2010 was much different than it was in 1968. Networks were and are today much less patient with shows, giving them scant little time to find an audience. Shows also tend to trend younger trying to appeal to a younger demographic.

That being said, you would expect that the cast of the new Hawaii Five-0 would be much younger than the cast of the original series. Interestingly, that is not the case in all instances. In fact the combined ages for the four major leads in 1968 was 165 or an average of 41. The combined ages for the four major leads in the new series was 146 or an average of 36.5 in 2010. Two of the new actors are actually older than their counterparts were in 1968.

Detective Steve McGarrett

Then:
The role of Detective Steve McGarrett in the original was played by actor Jack Lord, a New York City native who came to love Hawaii. Lord remained in the islands following the series cancellation and died on Oahu in 1998. He was 48 years old when the original series premiered. You can read our feature Jack Lord - A Look at the Man and His Relationship With Hawaii.

Now:
Australian actor Alex O'Loughlin plays the role of Steve McGarrett in the new series. O'Loughlin is best known for his roles in The Shield, Moonlight and Three Rivers. O'Loughlin was 34 when the new series premiered.

Detective Danny "Danno" Williams

Then:
The role of Detective Danny "Danno" Williams was played in the original by actor James MacArthur, a native of Los Angeles, California and the only surviving member of the original main cast. MacArthur was the son of actress Helen Hayes. There are rumors that MacArthur may appear in a guest role in the new series. MacArthur was 31 years old when the original series premiered.

Now:
Actor Scott Caan, who is also from Los Angeles assumed the role of Detective Danny "Danno" Williams in the new series. Caan has appeared in numerous movies, but is best known for his role as Scott Lavin in the TV series Entourage. Interestingly, Caan is also the son of a Hollywood icon, actor James Caan. Caan was 34 when the new series premiered in 2010.

Detective Chin Ho Kelly

Then:
Honolulu born Kam Fong played the role of Detective Chin Ho Kelly in the original Hawaii Five-0. He subsequently appeared in two episodes of Magnum P.I., the Hawaii based show on CBS that followed Hawaii Five-0 after its cancellation. Fong was 50 years old when the original series premiered.

Now:
South Korean born and New York and Pennsylvania raised, actor Daniel Dae Kim assumed the role of Detective Chin Ho Kelly in the new series. Kim is best known for his role as Jin Kwon in the hit TV series Lost. Kim was delighted to be able to remain in Hawaii following the end of Lost. Kim was 42 years old when the new series premiered.

Detective Kono/Kona Kalakaua

Then:
Honolulu born Zulu (Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi) played the role of Kono Kalakaua in the original Hawaii Five-0. He also subsequently appeared on Magnum P.I. in a guest role. Zulu was 31 years old when the original series premiered.

Now:
Los Angeles, California native Grace Park assumed the role of Detective Kona Kalakaua in the new series. She will be playing the niece of the original character. Park is best known for her roles as Lt. Sharon 'Athena' Agathon and Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii in the TV series Battlestar Galactica. Park was 36 when the new series premiered in 2010.

The Car:

Then:
In 1968 Detective Steve McGarrett cruised the streets of Honolulu in a black 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door. Much was made of how large the car was for Hawaii. The original car was destroyed in an episode in 1974 and replaced by a triple black 1974 Marquis Brougham 4-door hardtop.

Now:
We didn't know originally what type of car McGarrett will be driving for work in the new series, but it was said that his son, the new Detective Steve McGarrett will be restoring his father's old 1974 Marquis Brougham 4-door hardtop and we were right.

Onto the Premier

Most fans of TV shows made in Hawaii were eagerly awaiting the premier of the new Hawaii Five-0. Fortunately many of the crew who worked for six years on the ABC series Lost have found jobs with the new series.

You can watch the new series live, on demand on on CBS.com.