Remembering Jack Lord

Procedural & Technical Issues

The following is reproduced from "Procedural and Technical Issues," which appeared on the former website, Memories of Hawaii Five-0  (2009-2013). Many thanks go to Steve's Girl, whose contributions made this page possible.

Procedural Errors

Five-0 and the HPD didn't make many mistakes, but they did make some. This page records the most blatant, those that ran far deeper than losing a hubcap from the McGarrettmobile. These are the mistakes that could have gotten someone killed or fired.

If you can think of other instances when major mistakes were made, please leave a note in the guestbook, and I will add them to the list. Mahalo!

Arrest Without Probable Cause. In "Man in a Steel Frame" (Season 9), HPD Lt Matsuda placed Steve under arrest for the murder of Cathi Ryan before the forensics team investigated the crime scene. Perhaps, they would have found evidence of tampering of the telephone line or Steve's police radio. Perhaps, they would have found fingerprints or discharged shell casings. In short, it was foolish to make an arrest before a full investigation had been conducted. Furthermore, it left the HPD wide open for a civil suit for false arrest when McGarrett was found to be innocent of all charges.

Failure to Disclose. In "Full Fathom Five" (Season 1), Danno discovered that Victor Reese (Kevin McCarthy) kept a bottle of aconite (poisonous capsules). He passed the information on to Steve, but Steve was not shown passing the information on to his undercover agent, Joyce Weber (Patricia Smith). At the end of the episode, when Victor and Nora (Louise Troy) served Joyce a glass of poisoned champagne, she spilled it in order not to have to drink it. Did Steve tell her in a scene that was cut, or did she sense what the Reeses were up to? If Steve did not tell Joyce, he endangered her life unnecessarily.

Conflict of Interest.  In "Time and Memories" (Season 3), when Steve was in the Navy, he met Cathy (Diana Muldaur), who dated him quite amorously only to leave him to marry her fiance in San Francisco. Years later, when Steve was at Five-0, Cathy was strongly suspected of murdering her husband. Citing the accumulation of evidence against her, Danny told Steve that they needed to arrest her. Steve refused to do so. Further, when Danny suggested that Steve recuse himself on the basis of his personal interest in the case, he refused to do so.  In real life, a police officer with a conflict of interest would have been taken off the case.

Abuse of Power. In "'V' for Vashon" part 3 (Season 5), after being convicted of second-degree murder, McGarrett continues to use the Five-0 team to investigate his case. Yes, he consulted John Manicote about this and was told that he could ask for their assistance. Even so, he took so much of their time that they almost certainly had to let all other Five-0 matters drop. This definitely would not have happened in real life.

Abandoning His Post. In "Thanks for the Honeymoon" (Season 5), Steve McGarrett made his worst mistake in the twelve years he led Five-0. At a time when he was supposed to ensure that gangster Manola (Lane Bradford) did not reach witnesses Toni (Patty Duke) and Marty (Larry Kert), McGarrett slipped off to catch a little romance with old flame Margo (Carol Lawrence). Accordingly, he was away from his post when Manola's hired man managed to slip cyanide pellets in the sterno can. Marty was killed in the incident, and Tony was seriously injured. In real life, the top cop would have become the ex-cop. One has to wonder why he wasn't at least called on the carpet by the Honorable Paul Jameson.

Not Waiting for Backup. In "Hookman" (Season 6), when McGarrett discovered who had been killing HPD officers and leaving M-1 rifles bearing gold plates stamped with each officer's name, he went to the tenement building in search of perpetrator Kurt Stoner (Jay J. Armes). Before going in, he called for backup, but, then, he did not wait for backup to arrive. In the real world, he would be deemed foolish, at best, and guilty of breaking department regulations, as well.

In "A Gun for McGarrett" (Season 7), when McGarrett visited Marni Howard's shop, he was under heavy guard. The entire Five-0 team was with him; however, he entered the shop ahead of the others. Anyone inside with a gun could have killed him on the spot. He should have gone in surrounded by the others.

When McGarrett drove to Marni Howard's house for the showdown with her, he expected the bullets she would fire at him to be blanks; after all, he told the owner of the shop where she purchased the gun to fill it with blanks. Still, he could not know that she had not checked the gun, noticed the blanks, and swapped them for live shells. Steve should have let Danno back him up in this approach, for Marni's shot could well have been a fatal one.

Disregard for Safety. In "Anyone Can Build a Bomb" (Season 6), when several jurisdictions of law enforcement went to Kapi`olani Park to dismantle a device to produce an atomic flash, they failed to wear adequate protective gear. After the flash, Steve ordered the HPD to seal off the building. Even though this was a Five-0 operation, the HPD bomb squad, no doubt working with federal authorities, should have ensured that everyone working the situation was properly protected against radiation poisoning.


Technical Errors

The Five-0 team didn't make all the errors. The writers, editors, and other technical personnel made their share. Here are a few goofs that we've noticed. Needless to say, there is plenty of room for you to add the errors you've noticed. Just leave a note in the guestbook, and I'll add it to this list.

Directions. This is probably the most agonizing of all the errors.

 * "He's going Makai (toward the sea) on Monserrat," when Monserrat runs Diamond Head and Ewa (east and west).

 * "He's going Diamond Head on Ala Wai," which, even in those days, was one-way in the opposite direction (toward town).

 * Taking unlikely and circuitous routes to reach a destination. The worst showed an ambulance speeding in the left lane of Beretania Street (the capitol building straight ahead), then on the H-1, and then back on Beretania (still in the left lane) en route to the Leahi Hospital, which is in Kaimuki. FYI: The Queen's Medical Center was across the street from the ambulance's Beretania Street location.

 * In "A Gun for McGarrett" (Season 7), McGarrett told his men to talk to business people throughout Waikiki in search of someone willing to help them move in on criminals who were running a protection racket. When Danno came from a store, the street signs over him revealed that he was at the corner of Hotel Street and Nu`uanu Street. This intersection is located downtown, not in Waikiki.

Lack of Continuity (Inconsistencies)

Inconsistent Biographical Data. Lack of continuity throughout Five-0's twelve seasons is so plentiful as to make a good topic for a book, should anyone care to research and write it.

Perhaps the most frustrating of the technical errors are the inconsistent biographical data for personnel, especially Steve McGarrett. After seeing Steve's birthday celebrated in December ("Blind Tiger," Season 2) and hearing the great detective claim he's a "Capricorn goat - very stubborn" on numerous occasions, we were told in "Death is a Company Policy" (Season 5) that he was born on March 10, 1927. A March birthday would make Steve a Pisces. A Pisces is described as being over-sensitive, indecisive, self-pitying, and lazy and needing a dominant partner. This is as far from the "Capricorn goat - very stubborn" as one can get and is a person who couldn't run Five-0 if the governor handed it to him on a silver platter (He did).

Steve's grades were a sprinkling of A's, B's, and C's and included courses that were not exactly college preparatory. So how did he manage to gain acceptance to the US Naval Academy? How did he manage to gain acceptance with a history of polio ("Once Upon a Time," Season 1)?

Also in "Death is a Company Policy," Duke Lukela and ADA Paul Drummond were said to have the same telephone number. Chris Lahani was said to be a true genius; however, the grades shown for him by the Iron Brain were sprinkled with B's and C's.

Wardrobe. In the often-seen stock footage of Steve running down the palace steps and out to his car, he sometimes changed clothes on his way to his destination. In "One For The Money" (Season 1), for example, he left in the light blue suit and arrived at the site of the first murder wearing a dark blue suit with a red tie.

In "The Ransom" (Season 3), the kidnapped Timmy Blake was brought home by Steve, who was wearing a grey suit after having left the office in a blue suit. In the following scene, which took place at Blake's home at the end of the second act, Steve was seen wearing the blue suit again.

At the beginning of the third act, Chin and Danno checked out the place where Timmy and Kono had been kept as hostages. Danno was wearing a dark suit and tie, yet after he broke down the door, he stepped into the bunker wearing a lighter suit with a matching tie. (Thanks, SG. You definitely have a good eye for detail. She writes, "It's funny to imagine Steve asking Blake where he can change and Danno having ruined his suit breaking down the door, changing in the open.")

In "Retire in Sunny Hawaii...Forever" (Season 8), when Danno and Chin Ho entered the state records building, Danno was wearing a tan suit; however, when he was inside, asking to see the deputy, he was wearing a dark blue suit.

In "A Gun for McGarrett" (Season 7), act 4, Marni Howard wore a reversible scarf turned to the white side while she was inside her house, yet turned to the red side when she was arrested and led out the front door. It seems highly unlikely that she would be concerned with reversing her scarf at the time of arrest or that the arresting officer would stand idly by while she reversed it.

The Triple-Black Mercurys. The use of stock footage sometimes resulted in McGarrett's leaving the palace in one car and arriving at his destination in another. The worst occurrence we've noticed was in "Hit Gun for Sale" (Season 7), when he was shown speeding along Ala Moana Boulevard in the 1967 Marquis (two-door), turning off of Waialae in the 1968 Park Lane (four-door), and arriving at the Maunakea Hale in the 1974 Marquis Brougham. O-kay! Most of us manage to reach our destinations using a single vehicle, but if it took McGarrett three, that's fine. After all, as hard as he was on brakes and tires, two of the three cars was bound to be in for service at any given time.

Props. In "Here Today, Gone Tonight" (Season 5), when Danno stepped into the helicopter to be flown to Maui to meet with Barry Dean (end of act 1), he was empty handed; however, when he arrived in Maui, the chopper pilot handed him an attache case. Later, when Danno returned to Honolulu, he left the helicopter, empty handed; however, when he entered Steve's office, his arms were loaded with documents relative to what Barry Dean had said during their meeting.  (Thanks, SG. She writes, "I always wonder: How did insurance investigator Bella Morgan know what colour Mrs. Flemming's underwear is? Did she search her place? Not very likely. But we don't get to know (part 4).")


Scientific Improbability

In "Singapore File" (Season 2), McGarrett managed to get more shots from a six-shooter than most men get out of a .09 mm Beretta. In "Singapore File," he fired at least nine shots at Victor at the temple near Santa Cristina in the Philippines. This phenomenon (read "goof") occurred on many occasions throughout the series.

In "6,000 Deadly Tickets" (Season 7), the number of shots required to hit the targets was astounding, both on Five-0's part and on the part of the suspects. There must be a couple of hundred spent shells laying on the bottom of the Ala Wai Canal, between the McCully Street Bridge and Ala Moana Boulevard. Of those, only one bullet hit its intended target. The Five-0 team needs desperately to head out to the firing range.


Conflict of Interest

Sometimes, law enforcement ran headlong into different points of view. Sometimes, the point of view related to court interpretations of the law. Other times, the point of view conflicted with the standards of another industry. In any case, a conflict was left to be resolved. Here are some of the instances we noticed.

Legal Responsibility. In "Bored, She Hung Herself" (Season 2), a girl hung herself, and her boyfriend was held to be responsible, since he was teaching her a means of hanging for relaxation and meditation purposes. The question was raised, "If someone bought a car, then used it to drive off a cliff, would the person who sold him the car be legally responsible?" Interpretation in this situation would change according to the mood of the times. Presently, it seems likely that the boyfriend would be held responsible, since he encouraged her to engage in a dangerous pastime. In times past, however, he would not, since the girl was of legal majority and fully capable of thinking for herself.

First Amendment Freedom. In "Cop on the Cover" (Season 10) and "The Skyline Killer" (Season 11), a novelist who wrote about colorful crimes had a run-in with McGarrett over the first amendment. According to the writer in each episode, she/he could withhold information based on the principles of freedom of the press. According to McGarrett, such constituted withholding evidence and interfering in a police investigation. It should be noted that this was a very big issue in the 1970s and led to a court decision stating that reporters could not be forced to name their sources. Whether the decision went so far as to allow reporters and writers to withhold evidence is another matter. It seems likely that the interpretation would be shallower today after the experiences of 9/11 and the emphasis on security. In 1979, when this episode aired, however, reporters were enjoying a heyday of literary freedom.

Rules of Evidence. In "Bored, She Hung Herself" (Season 2), the bereaved father, who was a psychiatrist, extracted a confession from the dead girl's boyfriend. He recorded it and took the tape to McGarrett, insisting that it was proof that the boyfriend did the deed. McGarrett insisted that the tape was inadmissible, because it was not obtained legally. Good thing, too. The boyfriend turned out not to be the murderer!


Media Issues. Earlier in the series, the media (newspapers, television reporters) seemed to work with Five-0. An example was seen in "Rest in Peace, Somebody" (Season 4), when Eddie Sherman honored McGarrett's request not to print a story about "Mona" to help the investigation. By Season 9, however, the media had taken on the role of Big Brother as witnessed by their criticism of McGarrett's leading the investigation to clear his name in "Man in a Steel Frame." Times changed with Watergate, and Five-0 reflected the fact.