A Review of
“Over Fifty? Steal”
Season 3, Episode 11
Someone is robbing jewelry stores in broad daylight. Furthermore, the perpetrator dresses in disguises that give the appearance that the robberies are being carried out by different people. He somehow knows to send a box of rejected diamonds from Kam’s Jewelry Store to McGarrett in Che Fong’s laboratory. His portrayal of an elderly shop keeper with Parkinson’s and a touch of senility is nothing short of brilliant. Yet, after his interrogation in McGarrett’s office, he isn’t smart enough to move his cache from Paradise Park. Enter McGarrett, who says, “Time is always on my side, Mr. Filer. You should know that.”
Well, not strictly speaking. If this case were to come up today, it would be solved as soon as Filer licked the back of the Monopoly card and stuck it on the door of the vault in the tanzanite robbery. Che would whip out his DNA testing equipment, and McGarrett would make the arrest at 15:50 on the DVD counter.
Now, here’s a problem with the plot. Lewis Avery Filer (Hume Cronyn) is supposed to have worked as an insurance investigator for a company that was bought out by Mid-Pacific Industries (MPI), a large conglomerate. He is supposed to be seeking revenge for his layoff by robbing MPI-affiliated businesses. Would a large conglomerate have any interest in small jewelry stores or a small cash cart store? On the other hand, what else could he rob? Let’s say MPI owns fifty percent interest in a petroleum company. How do you rob a petroleum company, unless you have a line of tank trucks ready to fill up at the end of the distillation process? Talk about implausible plots! Better to stick with the jewelry stores.
As for what’s most delightfully right about the episode, that would have to be Morton Stevens’ unforgettable episodic theme. It dances! It plants itself in our minds and doesn’t let us forget it. Most of all, it reflects the enjoyment Lewis Avery Filer is receiving from his efforts to outsmart McGarrett:
Filer: Ah! There you are, McGarrett!
McGarrett: Yeah, this is McGarrett. What is it that can't be said to anyone but me?
Filer: I want to report a robbery in progress. Kam’s Jewelry . . . Oh . . .
Sorry, hiccups. Kam’s Jewelers, The Jewelry Mart, at the corner of South and Curtis.
McGarrett: Yeah. Go on.
Filer: Go on? Isn't that enough?
McGarrett: Well, you said "in progress." How do you know? Who is this, anyway?
Filer: Why, the thief, of course!
And, yet, the music also tells us where we are within the storyline. At the end, the two measures with a pounding beat tell us that we have reached the apex of the story. We now know where Filer keeps his cache. So does McGarrett, who is about to step through the bamboo and pounce, like a cat on a rat!
I asked whether the scene at Paradise Park, where Filer picks up a duck and strokes it, was scripted or ad-libbed. I find equal arguments in both directions. There, at the end, the audience may well have needed a reminder that Filer basically was a decent man. As psychiatrist Wally Emerson (John Hunt) said in McGarrett’s office, Filer seems like a man who has been kicked around his whole life. Now, deprived of his wife’s company and his career, he has been driven to the point of needing to fight back in the only way he can, by using his investigative skills to try and outsmart the smartest investigator in the Islands. This is confirmed in Filer’s second appearance in “Odd Man In.” At that point, there is no doubt but that Filer’s game is one of proving that he is smarter than everyone else.
Thus, it seems more likely that, as they filmed the scene, Filer walked up to the golf cart to find the duck sitting in the driver’s seat and needed to move it. The director told the cameraman to keep filming, and we received a delightful scene to enjoy.
“Over Fifty? Steal” gives us a delightful break from the serious crimes perpetrated by such fiends as Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) in “Cocoon” and Masterson (Robert Edwards) in “Blind Tiger” and allows us to sit back and enjoy a colorful episode. After Filer calls him at Kam’s Jewelry Store, McGarrett looks directly into the camera with a curious grin on his face that draws us into the story as though he is asking us, “Just what is that clown up to, anyway?”
The Legal Issues of
"And They Painted Daisies on His Coffin"
(Season 1, Episode 5)
"And They Painted Daisies on His Coffin" is filled with legal theory. When Danno doesn’t go straight to jail, the media causes a public outcry; after all, if anyone else had shot an unarmed 18-year-old boy, he’d go straight to jail.
The grand jury, acting on incomplete information, indicts Danno on a charge of first-degree murder. This is not the charge he would have received in real life. A charge of first-degree murder requires proof of criminal intent and/or premeditation. This was an accidental murder; that is, negligent homicide. As a trained police officer, Danno should have realized there was a chance that firing a gun through a closed and locked door could hit someone; that is, he failed to take due diligence in making his arrest.
Negligent homicide carries a lighter sentence than first-degree murder, but it is no tiptoe through the daisies – uh, tulips – either. Danno knows this and goes to the HPD and turns himself in. He surrenders his police revolver and personal belongings, is fingerprinted, and is taken to a holding cell.
McGarrett, meanwhile, storms the attorney general’s office only to be met with the harsh realities of life. The grand jury heard evidence that, first, Danno could not find or even identify the car that supposedly was being broken into, leading to the chase through the streets; second, the gun that Thad used to shoot at Danno cannot be found; and third, no witnesses will state that they either saw the chase or heard the shots. In short, every appearance is that Danno shot an unarmed 18-year-old boy in cold blood.
The attorney general tells the hotheaded Irishman that Danno needs to be in jail and that his lawyer needs to buy time to find the gun and develop a chain of evidence proving what Danno said happened that night. Without witnesses to say they saw and heard the incident, proving that the missing gun was in the apartment when Thad was shot is the only thing that will exonerate Danno. In short, McGarrett is the only one who can clear Danno’s name.
Kono and Chin Ho begin gathering the evidence and reveal that, first, the HPD found two sets of Big Chicken’s prints in the apartment; second, the autopsy revealed no evidence of drug use on Thad, telling them that the roach found in the apartment must have belonged to the girl; and, third, the slug pulled from the wall is traced to the gun, which surfaced when Ann sold it to support her drug habit. Showing just how low he is, Big Chicken attempts to save himself by telling McGarrett they’ll find Ann with Maggie in “the little jungle.” McGarrett and Chin Ho track Ann there and have her hospitalized for drug addiction. When she is able to answer his questions, McGarrett learns that, yes, she was in the apartment, saw what happened, and took the gun from the apartment.
McGarrett’s interrogation of Ann ends with the following question: “Okay, for the record, you’re making this statement of your own free will, without promises or threats? You’ve been apprised of your constitutional rights?” To which Ann replies, “Yes.” This is an application of the Miranda Rights, which had been created two years earlier, in 1966, by the US Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona.
A Review of
“The Late John Louisiana”
(Season 3, Episode 9)
Mr. and Mrs. Hollander (Don Stroud and Marianne McAndrew) appear to be an ideal couple. She meets his flight at the airport in Kahului, Maui, with a loving kiss. At home, in a delightful beachside bungalow, she prepares their dinner, which she intends to serve it on a beautifully set table – until he sees a reflection of hitman Tigner (John LaBreque) looking on from outside. Hollander goes out, kills Tigner, and buries him. What a lead-in!
Quite clearly, more is going on than we were led to assume – but what? As McGarrett & Co investigate the killing, they meet the Hollanders’ next-door neighbor, Mrs. Pruitt. She is portrayed by the beloved Hawaiian entertainer, Hilo Hattie, who extols the virtues of living on Maui with the Hawaiian saying “Maui nō ka ʽoi” (no place but Maui). As the investigation continues, she identifies the Hollanders from police photographs.
Mr. Hollander is Nick Pierson, who describes himself as mob boss Harry Quon’s (Alfred Ryder) “number one boy,” while Mrs. Hollander is Julie Grant, a lady of the evening, who was serving as hostess at a poker game amongst mobsters when she witnessed Harry Quon kill John Louisiana, a competitor in crime. The killing terrified Julie, who ran from the room, screaming. She has been hiding out on Maui ever since.
Nick Pierson has been suspected of committing gruesome murders in the Islands. As he tells Julie, when pressures mount, he was hired to kill her – except that he fell in love with her at first sight and killed another woman fitting her general appearance, instead, in order to fulfill his contract to Harry Quon. Julie finds his words hard to believe; after all, the man she knows as Nick Hollander is a decent and loving man.
Meanwhile, suspecting that Nick is behind Tigner’s killing, Harry Quon sends hitman Charlie Cayliss (Al Harrington) to keep an eye on Nick’s whereabouts. As Charlie sits in his car in front of Nick’s apartment building in Honolulu, he sees McGarrett emerge with Julie in custody. He reports the siting to Quon, who calls in Nick and tells him that he wants him to kill Julie “because a contract is a contract.”
Nick manages to take Julie from the HPD station, where she is being questioned about Harry Quon and the murder of John Louisiana, and they speed off in his car. It is not a successful escape, for an HPD patrolman witnesses it and takes down their license number. At the same time, Charlie comes up from the floor of the back seat with a gun in hand.
At Charlie’s insistence, they go up the Kalanianaʽole Highway to a road behind Koko Head and overlooking Hanauma and Hawaii Kai. At the overlook, Charlie tells Nick to pull off, then instructs him to kill Julie (because “that’s how Harry wants it”). Al Harrington speaks in a strong Hawaiian accent in this scene (“Let’s do it now, Bay-bee”). Nick shoots Charlie just as Charlie shoots Nick, and Charlie falls dead. Nick and Julie try to continue their escape, but Nick’s injuries are severe; he is losing blood very quickly. He veers off the road and stops, then dies in Julie’s arms atop Makapuʽu Point.
McGarrett and Quon arrive on the scene (Would someone please explain why the mobster is riding with the top cop en route to arrest the mobster’s hitman? If any scene in this episode makes no sense, this is it). Julie continues to defend Nick as a decent and loving man, even as she identifies Harry Quon as John Louisiana’s killer. Truly mournful music by Don B. Ray rises to a crescendo, and the scene fades to black.
On the whole, this was one of the best written episodes of the series. Even the most heinous of the criminals had a likeable side, although like too many of Five-0’s mob bosses, Harry Quon surely did eat a lot! The plot had enough twists and turns to keep us guessing without having so many red herrings that we couldn’t sort them out. Still, that last scene, with the top cop and the top mob boss riding together, was beyond comprehension.
Jack appeared in The Traveling Lady on Broadway with Alfred Ryder’s would-one-day-be wife, Kim Stanley. Hilo Hattie also appeared as Tommy Kapali’s mother in Season 1’s “Strangers in Our Own Land” (“Mister, you no hurt my Tommy. No?”). Don Stroud also appeared in Season 6’s “The Flip Side is Death,” which we’ve already reviewed, and Season 9’s “Target – A Cop,” which we will review next week (He’s good in it, too!). Marianne McAndrew also appeared in Season 2’s “A Bullet for McGarrett.”