McGarrett sees Soviet Colonel Mischa Toptegan off at the airport in FOB Honolulu
(Part 2, Season 3), Hawaii Five-0. Leonard Freeman Productions / CBS Television, 1970.
In an age of compromise, McGarrett is a totally truthful, honest, open man.
He says what’s on his mind. He’s never neutral. We share that trait in common.
He steadfastly refuses to back away from his ideals. He never backslides into evil.
~ Jack Lord
Meyers, Ric. Murder on the Air: Television’s Great Mystery Series.
New York: The Mysterious Press, 1989, 147-148.
In the early seasons, we knew very little about Steve McGarrett. He was almost too perfect. He was dressed and coiffed to perfection, worked in the big office, and drove the big car. We were told almost nothing of his personal life, except that he had told Rosemary Quong that he'd never been married ("Cocoon," Pilot).
We learned that he lived at 404 Pi'ikoi Street ("Once Upon a Time," Season 1); later lived at 2085 Ala Wai Boulevard ("'V' for Vashon/The Father," Season 5); and, still later, rented a beach house for weekend getaways ("Sing a Song of Suspense," Season 8). Oh! And we saw that his bedroom was furnished with a 1960s headboard; a beige, rotary dial telephone; and a yellow plastic alarm clock (“Time and Memories,” Season 3). This could use a woman's touch, Stephen.
One thing we learned from the very beginning was that McGarrett liked the ladies. He was not above dating a hippie or a witness ("Cocoon," Pilot). Nor was he above dating women he found to be antagonistic ("The Cop on the Cover," Season 10; "Horoscope for Murder," Season 11). He was most taken by women who knew themselves and had lives and careers of their own ("Thanks for the Honeymoon," Season 5; "Man in a Steel Frame," Season 9). Let's take a look at Stephen McGarrett's love life in more detail.
McGarrett's Love Life
(See also: McGarrett's Many Loves, below)
In "Time and Memories" (Season 3), we were allowed to learn about one of several disappointing relationships that McGarrett had with women. He and Cathy, whose maiden name was not given, dated on the USS Arizona memorial, dined in fine restaurants, and sipped demitasse (“One lump or two?”). He truly fell head over heels in love with her only to learn that she was engaged to a man at home, Frank Wallis, the man she was accused of killing. We were shown that McGarrett still had feelings for Cathy; in fact, at one point, when the top cop was unable to force himself to press charges against Cathy, Danno offered to take over the investigation. In real life, protocol would have required McGarrett not to investigate a case to which he had personal ties, but this was television.
In “A Gun for McGarrett” (Season 7), Marni Howard (Carol White) and Steve McGarrett discussed the top cop’s highly personal, little known lifestyle:
Marni: McGarrett, the loner. McGarrett, the man who is made of iron or ice. McGarrett, the man who never eats, sleeps, or lives anywhere.
McGarrett: Sounds like some kind of robot.
Marni: Yes, exactly. A robot who lives and breathes police work, who doesn’t do anything else. Doesn’t relax, doesn’t play, doesn’t… [gives a sly smile]
McGarrett: Doesn’t what? [also gives a sly smile]
In “Man in a Steel Frame” (Season 9), we learned still more about McGarrett’s personal life when Cathi Ryan (Camilla Sparv) was murdered in an effort to frame and discredit him. Although we saw her home, a 1970s contemporary beach house, we did not see his home. We did see parallels to Jack’s life. Cathi, like Marie, was a fashion designer. Cathy, like Jack, had lost her child tragically. And, of course, Cathi’s surname was the same as Jack’s.
In “A Cop on the Cover” (Season 10), Terri O’Brien (Jean Simmons) expressed the same sentiments as Marni Howard about the top cop, although she had done her research and had uncovered a few facts about McGarrett that we, the audience, did not know earlier in the series. Those facts drew distinct parallels to the actor who portrayed him:
The man leaves his office, the car turns into a pumpkin. McGarrett becomes
the invisible man. An enigma, a challenge. Very sexy image to women. You’ll
be pleased to know you’re rated among the first three bachelors on the island.
One lady, who sampled your gourmet cooking, heard you play guitar, and
admired your Sunday paintings, dubbed you a true renaissance man.
In “My Friend the Enemy” (Season 10), McGarrett made a reference to his being a good cook when he told Liana Labella (Luciana Paluzzi), “I still make the best lasagna and cacciatore in Hawai‘i.” He went on to invite Liana to dinner at “my place.” Unfortunately, we were not privileged to see them dining in Steve’s home. For that matter, we don’t know whether he cooked for her; Danno had asked her out first.
McGarrett's Linguistic Abilities
In "My Friend the Enemy," McGarrett revealed his ability to speak and understand Italian. After replying in Italian to her “Grazie” for saving the princess’ life, he explained in Italian with English subtitles, “I grew up with Italians,” as did Jack. Similarly, in “FOB Honolulu” (Season 3), we heard McGarrett give Mischa Toptegan (Roger C. Carmel) a farewell greeting of “Do svidaniya” (until we meet again). In “Presenting…in the Center Ring…Murder” (Season 7), we saw McGarrett listening as Soong Chien (James Hong) spoke to Ling (Norman F. C. Tang) in Chinese. And, so, we learned that McGarrett spoke at least four languages, including English.
In several episodes, we saw that McGarrett owned a sailboat and spent much of his free time working on it. McGarrett took Cathi Ryan sailing in “Man in a Steel Frame” (Season 9); he wrapped and covered a sail in "Oldest Profession : Latest Price;" he mended a torn sail in “You Don’t See Many Pirates These Days” (Season 10); and he applied varnish to the wooden handrails in “The Case Against Philip Christie” (Season 11). But, hey ho! The star of the show was a deck officer in the Merchant Marine and an honorary commodore in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We could see that in the way he climbed between ships and boats in "Follow the White Brick Road" (Season 4) and "Charter for Death" (Season 6) and took the steps aboard ships “Murder – Eyes Only” (Season 8), among others.
In "Oldest Profession: Latest Price" (Season 9), in one of few instances where fiction alluded to reality, McGarrett explained to Cory that he had purchased his sailboat with "hard-earned, after-tax" money. Perhaps, similar allusions would have explained how a government employee could afford to own a condo that cost as much as a house and to rent a beach house for weekend enjoyment, especially considering Hawai'i's notorious land leases and general excise taxes.
Of course, McGarrett's position was a political appointment, not a civil service one, which almost certainly paid a higher salary than a civil servant would have earned. I'm starting to see a few shades of gray emanating from our top cop. More rational is the premise adopted by some fan fiction writers, who say McGarrett lived on his sailboat. But, even then, there are shades of gray, for his boat usually was seen at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, where the fees are higher than a cat's back and the waiting list is ten years long (Yes!). Again, reality prevailed in "Oldest Profession: Latest Price," in which the top cop's boat was moored at the Hawaii Kai Boat Club, where membership fees are reasonable.
In “Sing a Song of Suspense” (Season 8), we were allowed to step into McGarrett’s weekend retreat, a vintage beach house on the Kalaniana‘ole Highway. The camera angles were too high to let us see much about the way the rooms were decorated. What was visible indicated furnishings from the late 1960s and early 1970s, tweed and velour upholstery in rust and avocado green, ivory pleated drapes, and rattan porch furniture. Accessories were in bright island colors. They were far from what we might have expected in the home of Hawai‘i’s top cop. Perhaps, more sophisticated décor reflecting his world travels with the Navy would have been found in his Waikiki condominium. But we never saw that.
In "A Gun for McGarrett," the top cop jokingly told Marnie that his middle name was “Aloysius.” That name comes from the Catholic Church’s St. Aloysius Gonzaga. “Aloysius” means “warrior” or “fighter.” In calling his character by that name, Jack poked fun at the idea that a single detective possibly could conquer all crime, everywhere, but McGarrett was determined to conquer as much of it as he could in his lifetime.
That's why I've got the big office, Danno.
"Pray Love Remember..." (Season 1)
McGarrett took this a step further in "Number One With a Bullet" (Season 11), when he explained his dedication to law enforcement to Los Angeles mobster Allie Francis (Nehemiah Persoff). He explained that, when he was thirteen years old, he stood beside his mother in the rain while his father's body was laid to rest. A gunman had shot and killed the elder McGarrett while making a getaway from a supermarket holdup. Steve said that each time he arrested someone like that gunman, he felt he was doing something for his father.
McGarrett was a perfectionist, but mainly on the surface. He wore perfectly tailored suits, kept his hair perfectly trimmed and combed, and kept his office well ordered and clean. That did not mean he was above getting his hands -- and his impeccable wardrobe -- dirty. In "Pray Love Remember..." (Season 1), he landed in a ditch while wrestling with Benny Apa (Ron Feinberg). In "Run, Johnny, Run" (Season 2), he rolled halfway down Diamond Head while wrestling with John Mala (Nephi Hannemann). In "Woe to Wo Fat" (Season 12), he wrestled with Wo Fat in the rain forest.
The top cop was even known to want to cut corners when more indications than evidence pointed to a suspect's guilt. More than once, he stormed out of John Manicote's office in protest of either the district attorney's or the judge's insistence that more evidence was needed. Even so, he went back to the drawing board and found the evidence needed to obtain a solid conviction.
It can, therefore, be said that McGarrett was impatient. McGarrett nearly drove off with Danno halfway out of the car on at least two occasions. In "How to Steal a Masterpiece" (Season 7), McGarrett was peeved to miss out on a Sunday sail when he was called back to the Ogden residence and began backing out before Danno was fully in the car. In "Oldest Profession: Latest Price," he was so anxious to go after Keith Caldwell (Ned Beatty), who had abducted Corey, that he started off before Danno was even in the car.
Perhaps, the most challenging of McGarrett’s traits – at least, to the governor and his detectives – was his stubbornness. In the early seasons, the governor seemed not to be particularly perturbed, although, in “Cocoon” (Pilot), Miller (Andrew Duggan) did tell Brent (Leslie Nielsen) that McGarrett “only answers to the governor and God, and even they have trouble with him.” In "The Guarnerius Caper" (Season 3), the governor ordered McGarrett not to interfere with Rostov's (Ed Flanders) efforts to recover his violin, stating that, if the State Department came after him, he, the governor, wouldn't be able to do anything to help him.
In Seasons 10 through 12, we saw the governor grow very impatient with McGarrett and heard him call McGarrett a stubborn Irishman, both to his face and behind his back. These instances were heard on at least three occasions, in “The Cop on the Cover” (Season 10), “Frozen Assets” (Season 10), and “Good Help is Hard to Find” (Season 12). In real life, the governor probably would have replaced McGarrett with someone less irritating, but this was television, and the star must survive both attempts by adversaries to discredit him and the governor’s displeasure with him. As for the detectives, they had to tolerate the boss’ ways, even though they were known to roll their eyes on occasion as they did in “3,000 Crooked Miles to Honolulu” (Season 4), when McGarrett insisted that they continue to search for the missing Luana Mawalai (Lani Kim), even though it was Sunday.
McGarrett's Religious Faith
We also know McGarrett was a religious man. In the very first episode, "Full Fathom Five," McGarrett tells HPD Officer Joyce Webber (Patricia Smith) to "go with God" as she is about to embark on her reconnaissance sail. He offered similar "prayers" in several first-season episodes.
In "Once Upon a Time" (Season 1), when his sister's baby dies, he is seen sitting in his desk chair and facing the window. Tears are streaming down his face, and his hands are clenched together with his fingers interlocked. Almost certainly, he has been praying.
In "A Lion in the Streets" (Season 12), when a kahuna has placed a kapu on McGarrett, making it taboo for Hawaiians to speak to him or do anything for him, he visits his priest and asks him to meet with the kahuna and make him aware of the devastating effects the kapu could have in the existing climate of distrust between Hawaiians and mainlanders.
In "Voice of Terror" (Season 12), McGarrett is seen praying in the police communications van while Truck (Moe Keale) and the HPD officer are trying to rescue Officer Sally Dean (Mary Angela Shea).
There were probably other examples of McGarrett's religious faith. Keep your eyes open, and if you see them, please let me know where we can find them. In any case, there is every reason to believe that the Irish cop was as much the Irish Catholic as the actor who portrayed him.
McGarrett's Many Loves
So caught up in crimefighting was McGarrett that it was easy to feel that he never had a date in his life. The following list shows that to be far from the truth. It is true that he met many of the women he dated through his work, but he was not beyond taking them out. See what you think.
Rosemary Quong in "Cocoon" (Pilot)
“Miss Quong,” as she was called, was the hippie activist who was the last person to see intelligence agent Hennessey alive, except for the people who killed him. After all, she had spent all afternoon at his apartment, preparing for him the best TV dinner that money could buy. After McGarrett interrogated her, he asked her to have dinner with him at Sam’s. She accepted, and the two lay on the beach and listened to music from the nearby Barefoot Bar. The Barefoot Bar was a real establishment, and Sonny Mossman and the Gang actually played there. Sonny is the brother of Doug Mossman, who went on to portray Det. Frank Kamana (among other detectives).
At any rate, Rosemary Quong tried to “psych out” (she said) McGarrett, although a gentle grilling under the lights (spelled m-o-o-n) would come closer to describing their exchange (No, he had never been married). They debated whether it was preferable to be inside, where they could see the floor show (his preference), or outside, where the music was free (her preference). They returned and saw the floor show a few nights later but were back out on the beach at the end of the show, when they clinked champagne glasses as the word “Pau” flashed across the screen (“Pau” means “the end” in Hawaiian).
Rosemary Quong was portrayed by Nancy Kwan, who was born in Hong Kong on May 19, 1939. The daughter of a Chinese architect and a Scottish model, she spent World War II in western China, where her father worked for British Intelligence. After the war, the family returned to Hong Kong. Kwan studied ballet at the Royal Ballet School in England and performed at Covent Garden. Producer Ray Stark discovered her and ushered her into an acting career. At the age of 18, she starred with William Holden in the film production of The World of Suzie Wong. That was quickly followed by the Flower Drum Song, which made her one of Hollywood’s most successful Eurasian actresses. Her career has remained active ever since. She received the 1961 Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female (shared with Ina Balin and Hayley Mills).
Friends of Memories of "Hawaii Five-0" member Jeffman wrote, “Besides the fact that Nancy Kwan in 1968 was drop dead gorgeous, Steve McGarrett would have been out of his mind not to engage in a long term relationship with this lady.” We are inclined to agree.
Dr. Alexandra Kemp in "Face of the Dragon" (Season 1)
If beautiful women aren’t supposed to be smart, then someone needs to ask both Dr. Alexandra Kemp, a public health physician, and the actress who portrayed her, Nancy Kovack, to explain themselves. This winner of eight beauty contests caught McGarrett’s eye as soon as he walked into the quarantine unit at Queen’s Hospital. They flirtatiously managed to conduct business, but it didn’t end there. In the governor’s meeting with the FBI, HPD, and military intelligence, the top cop and the lady doc were still exchanging very interested glances, so much so that the governor noticed and gave them a worried glance. Sadly, we were not allowed to see what happened after that, at least not romantically.
Nancy Kovack was born in Flint, Michigan, on March 11, 1935, the daughter of a General Motors Corporation executive. She enrolled in the University of Michigan at the age of 15 and graduated at the age of 19. Upon going to New York to attend a wedding, she soon found herself with a role as one of Jackie Gleason’s “Glea Girls.” That led to spots on two morning television news programs, The Dave Garroway Show and The Today Show. While in New York, Miss Kovack appeared in the Broadway production of The Disenchanted.”
Upon moving to California, Miss Kovack turned to television and films. She appeared on several television theaters, including The United States Steel Hour and Kraft Suspense Theatre; situation comedies, including Batman and Bewitched; and episodic series, including Burke’s Law and The FBI. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for one of her three appearances on Mannix. Miss Kovack also appeared in several films, including Jason and the Argonauts, Strangers When We Meet, Diary of a Madman, and Marooned.
In 1968, Nancy Kovack married world renown symphonic conductor Zubin Mehta by whom she has two children. She gave up her acting career to care for her family. Currently, she manages upscale rental properties.
Court Clerk in "Once Upon a Time" (part 2, Season 1)
We don't know her character's name, but we do know that she was quite a flirt as she offered to help McGarrett look through six months of death records for victims of Dr. C. L. Fremont. She let it be known that she was attracted to him when she said, "We don't get many live ones around here, just prune-faced old geezers with hair growing out of their ears." As if on cue, one of those prune-faced old geezers walked by just then and greeted her as "Chickie Baby."
The flirtatious court clerk was portrayed by Victoria Hale. We know little about her, except that she was born in the mid-1940s and received a degree in liberal arts from Hunter College. In addition to her appearance on Hawaii Five-0, she appeared in Mission Impossible and sixteen other productions, recently as the pageant director in Math Warriors.
Margi Carstairs in "Six Kilos" (Season 1)
It might not be quite accurate to call Margi Carstairs one of McGarrett's Many Loves. After all, he was undercover as sleazy (and I do mean sleazy) Harry K. Brown when he gave Ms. Carstairs the rush. But give it, he did, and she responded. Thus, we will include her. It all took place in "Six Kilos" (Season 1). Brown sidled up to Ms. Carstairs and took her drink and sipped from it in an attempt to weaken her defenses and persuade her to drop hints that would help McGarrett solve the case. She divulged little beyond the fact that she was in it for the money and that she would do anything to make sure she got it. In the end, she shot her co-conspirators, Frenchie and Swanson, when they learned that she had no intention of sharing the money with them. The fact that she did not shoot - or even attempt to shoot - Brown lends credence to the idea that she had feelings for him. Perhaps, she imagined their running off to the French Riviera together? We will never know, for McGarrett took over, and his Brown persona disappeared forever.
Margi Carstairs was portrayed by Antoinette Bower, an English actress, who was born on September 30, 1932, in Baden-Baden, Germany. She appeared in numerous television programs, including Have Gun Will Travel, Hogans Heroes, and 42 episodes of Neon Rider. In addition, she appeared in such films as Mutiny on the Bounty, The Mephisto Waltz, and Club Paradise. Her performance in "Six Kilos" was her only appearance on Five-0. She also appeared with Jack Lord in Stoney Burke (episode "Point of Entry").
The Palm Reader in "All the King's Horses" (Season 2)
We never learned the name of The Palm Reader; her name does not appear in the credits. We know only that Steve was flirting hot and heavy with her poolside at Senator Colt's party.
She claimed to have come from a long line of gypsies and began to read Steve's palm. When she said he had a long lifeline and would live another thirty years, he declared that was good news for any cop to hear. He began reading her palm and foresaw dinner at the Jade Dragon followed by dancing at the Kahala. What more could a girl want? Unfortunately, duty called, and that's as far as that relationship progressed (at least, that we were allowed to share).
Nurse Edith Lavallo in "Blind Tiger" (Season 2)
While theirs was not a romance in the traditional sense, a certain affection developed between McGarrett and his nurse, Edith Lavallo (Marion Ross). He had been blinded by the bomb planted in his car by Masterson. She was a rehabilitation nurse, who was teaching him how to cope without sight. Of course, reliance entered into the equation. So did the fact that she was just as tough in her field as he was in his. That he relied on the same processes of memory and perception in his detective work as she taught in low-vision / no vision training certainly contributed to their attraction to one another.
If there is an advantage to blindness, it is that we are free to imagine how things must look. And, so, when McGarrett regained his vision to see the lovely Nurse Janet Feinberg (Suzan Carney) standing in his doorway, he had hopes that she was Nurse Lavallo. When he walked past Nurse Lavallo at the nurses’ station and gave her no more than a courteous nod, her heart was broken, much as his surely had been moments earlier. As Nurse Lavallo said, “These hospital romances don’t seem so important when we get home.” Indeed, there is love for a reason and a season.
Nurse Lavallo was portrayed by Marion Ross, who is probably best known for her role as Richie Cunningham’s mother on Happy Days. Born in Watertown, Minnesota, on October 25, 1928, she knew early that she wanted to act and even studied acting at the MacPhail Center for the Arts in Minneapolis, while attending high school. Her family moved to San Diego, California, where she finished high school and graduated from San Diego State University. She became active in summer theater in La Jolla.
A director suggested that she go to Los Angeles and act in films. She did and soon was appearing in such works as The Glenn Miller Story, Sabrina, Operation Petticoat, and Airport. She came to prefer acting on television and appeared in such programs as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Outer Limits, Love Boat, Mrs. G Goes to College, Brooklyn Bridge, and Touched By an Angel. She was still actively acting in 2010.
Married twice, Miss Ross has two children, who both have worked in the entertainment industry.
Nicole Wylie in "The Singapore File" (Season 2)
Sparks flew between Nicole Wylie and Steve McGarrett in "The Singapore File" (Season 2). It started out as distrust; after all, she had fled from Hawai`i, rather than risk having to testify against mobster Lee Ravasco. Steve was not happy when, six months later, she called him from Singapore and asked him to rescue her from Ravasco's hired gun, Victor.
By the time they woke up aboard the freighter, Jeremy Bay, they were looking rather domestic. He made a run to the ship's stores to buy toothpaste and Foamy. She mended a torn pocket in his coat. He shaved. By the time the episode ended, they were sounding strangely like an old married couple.
But what really made McGarrett and Miss Wylie pop was the way they interacted on the bunk aboard the Jeremy Bay. He took the lower berth, which normally would be an insult to a lady; indeed, it did insult her until he explained that a gunman would first aim at the body in the lower berth. He looked up her skirt as she climbed to the upper birth; she retaliated by dropping her shoe on his head (He had it coming; believe me!). She could give him a look to kill, yet in the next moment, weep openly and crawl into his arms for comfort. So, why didn't Nicole return to Hawai`i on vacation and strike up a relationship with the Top Cop?
Sparks also flew between Andrea Claire Dupraix and Steve McGarrett at the very end of Season One's "Twenty-Four Carat Kill." Both Nicole Wylie and Andrea Claire Dupraix were portrayed by veteran actress Marj Dusay.
Ms. Dusay was born and grew up in Russell, Kansas, where she was a talented equestrian. She attended the University of Kansas, where she began acting and was named Homecoming Queen. She married John Dusay and moved to Kansas City, where he attended medical school. She began modeling and studying acting in New York, where he took his internship. She went on to become a top fashion model and began making television commercials when his residency took them to San Francisco. She also studied improvisational comedy and radio speech. In time, Marj made her way to Los Angeles, where she performed with Rob Reiner's improvisational comedy troupe, The Session, which appeared on television. She went on to appear with fellow Sessions member Richard Dreyfuss in a television pilot.
Marj Dusay appeared in Bret Maverick; Murder, She Wrote; In the Heat of the Night; Quincy; Star Trek; and Facts of Life, among other television series. Her semi-regular appearances on Facts of Life brought her two Emmy nominations. In addition, she has appeared on several soap operas, including Capitol, Santa Barbara, and The Guiding Light. She is known for her impressions of Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Julia Child, among others.
Ms. Dusay serves on the Kansas University Advisory Board for the Theatre Arts and has served as Kansas Film Commission Chairwoman. She supports Project Angel Food and child abuse prevention causes.
Cathy the Flirt in "Time and Memories" (Season 3)
Steve had terrible luck where women were concerned. Cathy is a good example. In a flashback, we learned that Steve met her at Pearl, while he was still in the Navy. She had stopped her sports car and asked for directions to the USS Arizona Memorial. The flirting began even as he escorted her there and learned that her brother had been killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It continued throughout her stay in Hawai`i, only to come to an abrupt end when she told him that she had to leave and return to San Francisco. It seems that she had a fiance waiting for her there.
Years later, Cathy has returned to Hawai`i, this time with her husband, Frank, a real jerk. Following a bad row between them, she calls Steve - at 3:00 in the morning. Who could know that, three hours earlier, Frank had been killed? Now, Cathy is the prime suspect, and Steve must investigate the case. His emotions are working overtime, causing him to give Cathy far more leeway than he would give most suspects. When Danno suggests that it is time to book her, Steve becomes angry. When Danno suggests that Steve recuse himself from the case, Steve becomes angry, as well. He is not capable of being objective, so badly does he want Cathy to be proved innocent. It is up to him to prove that she is - and he does.
Cathy was portrayed by Diana Muldaur. Muldaur was born in New York city on August 19, 1938, and grew up in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. She graduated from Sweet Briar College in Virginia before moving to New York, where she studied acting under Stella Adler and made her Broadway debut. She is best known for her roles as Rosalind Shays in L. A. Law and Dr. Katherine Pulaski in Star Trek: The Next Generation, although her acting career has spanned films and the small screen. In addition, she has served as a board member of the Screen Actors Guild and was the first woman president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Twice married, she is now retired from acting and raises Airedale Terriers in Martha's Vineyard.
Mrs. Mondrago's Portrait in "Highest Castle, Deepest Grave" (Season 4)
We never actually met Mrs. Mondrago; after all, she had died ten years earlier - or so, the story went until two skeletons, complete with bullet holes, turned up. The burial plot was a cave, where archaeology students were conducting an exploration. Round and about, McGarrett discovered that one of those skeletons belonged to the late Mrs. Mondrago... but not before he was swept off his feet by her. More accurately, he was swept off his feet by the life-sized portrait of Mrs. Mondrago that hung in the foyer of her former home. Something about the painting caught the eye and caused one to stop and study it. As McGarrett said, she was the woman one always dreamed of having but never could.
The image of Mrs. Mondrago, as well as the character of her daughter, Sirone, were portrayed by France Nuyen. Ms. Nuyen was born in Marseille, France on July 31, 1939, the daughter of a French mother and a Vietnamese father. She was reared by a cousin, whom she describes as being the only person who ever cared about her. She was working as a seamstress when a photographer from Life magazine discovered her. From there, she became a stage actress. She appeared in the theatrical production of The World of Suzie Wong. She went on to appear in such film productions as South Pacific, Diamond Head, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes and in such television series as Columbo and St. Elsewhere. She appeared in three episodes of Five-0.
France Nuyen was married twice, including a brief marriage to actor Robert Culp with whom she had appeared on I Spy. She earned a masters degree in clinical psychology in 1986, and began a second career as a counselor for abused women and children and women in prison. She was named Woman of the Year in 1989 for her work with women.
Here’s a link to a blog about a similar storyline. It’s entitled Laura Five-0
Margo Cooper in "Thanks for the Honeymoon" (Season 5)
In an episode in which McGarrett goes against character, he makes a deal with the witness to a murder (Toni portrayed by Patty Duke) in order to nab an elusive mobster. The witness is going to prison but wants to get married, first, because she is pregnant. No simple wedding in the prison chapel is good enough. She wants a church wedding complete with white bridal gown and a noted photographer to take pictures.
That photographer is Margo, whom it seems McGarrett dated at one time. The relationship fell apart when she chose her photojournalism career over marriage. Even so, McGarrett leaves his post - knowing full well that the mobster is looking for Toni and her new husband - in order to spend some quality time with Margo. During his absence, the mobster's hitman manages to smuggle cyanide into the honeymoon suite, killing the groom and making Toni quite ill. And that right after Margo tells Steve that she cannot be content taking pictures of Hawaiian sunsets; she has to have her career. Some romance! Whatever were you thinking about McGarrett? Why didn't the governor fire you for dereliction of duty?
Margo was portrayed by Carol Lawrence. Born in Melrose Park, Illinois, on September 5, 1932, Ms. Lawrence was married to Robert Goulet with whom she had two children. She appeared in the Broadway production of West Side Story and was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Maria. Besides her other theatrical performances, Ms. Lawrence appeared in numerous television programs, including Wagon Train; The Fugitive; Murder, She Wrote; and Sex and the City.
"Margo and Toni" by Steve's Girl
An article comparing the two strong women in "Thanks for the Honeymoon"
In this episode, naturally, the interest centers on the relationship between Steve and Margo, but how about Toni? Is it the little girl in Toni that goes out of her way to see her dream of a luxurious wedding come true? Or is she a hard boiled criminal who remembers every detail of Manola's crime, the man she promises to testify against? Or is she a calculating woman whose desire for her unborn baby to have a legitimate father and a nest-egg prompts her to make a well-known photojournalist her maid of honour?
At first, we are as stunned as Steve and Manicote are when, on visiting her in prison, Toni announces, "I want out." But when Steve and Manicote are about to leave, Toni drops the name "Manola," and the two men rise to the bait. She promises to testify against Manola in return for an opulent wedding. Only much later do we learn that she never intended to keep her part of the bargain.
An opulent wedding is what she gets, although learning that the 24-hour honeymoon won't take place at the Kahala makes her very angry, because she had so much set her mind on that. Even so, after having arrived at the hotel, the little girl shows: Toni asks Marty to carry her over the threshold. She is enthusiastic about the suite and overjoyed that, as of now, she will be rightfully addressed as "Mrs." Everything is obviously what she has ever dreamed of. Marty would have been content with a wedding in the chapel at the prison.
During the conversation between Steve and Toni, as Marty fights for his life, Steve must realize that he has been had by a stubborn girl. He confronts her with her intention never to testify and reminds her, "That gas was meant for you, kiddo." Toni replies that she'll send word to Manola, explaining that she never intended to testify and insists that she is convinced that Manola will believe her.
Although she doesn't say so, when Toni learns that Marty is dead, she decides to make Manola pay. She will testify, because she seeks revenge, not because that was what she offered in return for the wedding. At the very end Steve seems to feel compassion on her.
How to answer the preliminary questions? Toni is probably a lot of little girl with a thin crust of the two other possibilities (hard boiled criminal and calculating woman) combined. As I worked on Toni, it suddenly occurred to me that there is a lot of stubborn little girl in Margo, as well. She obviously had come to Hawai`i to get Steve back: "I did have a chance to walk the Great Wall, interview Mao. I blew it for McGarrett."
After the cyanide attack, when Steve looks really exhausted, she asks him about the vacation "on the remote exotic island." Who asks, the child who wants to get her way or the calculating woman who suspects Steve, exhausted as he is, would be an easy prey? Or the two combined?
In my opinion, Steve is lucky that she refuses to marry him. With a woman like her, he would have to be on his toes every waking moment.
Marni Howard in “A Gun for McGarrett” (Season 7)
"Oh, Marni! You don’t know how much I wanted to be wrong!"
Such were the words of Steve McGarrett when he learned that the attractive, flirtatious Marni Howard (Carol White) was involved in the crime. In fact, she proved to be the force, if not the brains, behind the scheme.
It all began when S. N. Savage (Ivor Barry) attempted to take over organized crime in the islands. Beginning with O`ahu, he called in the existing kingpins and offered to make them wealthier by enlarging their territories. We won’t go into the obvious problems with Savage’s colorful map; e.g., there being little beside mountain ranges in the areas he said were ripe for picking. The Hawaiians were not impressed with Savage’s salesmanship. We can only assume that greed prompted to go back for more after each of Savage’s failed attempts. The failed attempts, of course, were his efforts to kill McGarrett.
How better to catch McGarrett off guard than to ply him with a beautiful woman? The top cop definitely was interested, but he could not overlook certain facts, the greatest of which was that she asked more questions than an inquisitor. As he remarked afterwards, “What is so interesting about what days I jog or have my hair cut?”
Working against Marni was the fact that Savage’s efforts began with a fatal bombing in McGarrett’s office. An HPD officer was killed, and Steve was injured. With his defenses aroused, it was next to impossible for anyone, even a blue-eyed blonde, who could bat her eyelashes just so, to gain the necessary inroads. And, so, when she called him to her house and fired a full round at him, he did not go down. After all, he had called the gun shop and asked the clerk to fill the gun with blanks.
Yet again, Steve McGarrett proved to be most unlucky at love. It’s a shame, too, for they made a delightful couple, if only for a little while.
Marni Howard was portrayed by English actress Carol White. Born in London on April 1, 1943, she began acting at the age of six in Kind Hearts and Coronets. She continued to play minor roles for a decade; however, in the early 1960s, she gained recognition as one of the most promising actresses in British cinema. Unfortunately, her career was railroaded by alcohol, controlled substances, and bad relationships. Despite several attempts to jump-start her career, she could not. She died in Miami, Florida, on September 16, 1991, of disputed causes. She was 48 years old.
Chelsea Merriman in "Sing a Song of Suspense" (Season 8)
A case of professional jealousy coupled with drunkenness results in aspiring singer Julene Balli (Karen Ericson) being thrown from a penthouse balcony in Waikiki by a music manager with underworld connections, Koko Apaleka (Tommy Atkins). Established musician Chelsea Merriman (Lois Nettleton) just happens to witness the murder, and it doesn’t take long for Koko to realize that fact. McGarrett takes her under his wing and out to his beach house for safekeeping until Koko can be apprehended.
Chelsea has a flirtatious way about her that leaves McGarrett thrown off-balance. She wakes up ready to “play house” and persuades the Top Cop to let her make breakfast for him. No wheat germ that morning. She wants to make him the breakfast he really wants. Soon, they are dining on mushroom omelets with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and wheat toast with seedless black raspberry jam. They look quite matrimonial as they sit together at a table built for two. As he is leaving for work, she calls to him: “Don’t forget to call if you’ll be late tonight, dear.” The look on McGarrett’s face can only mean that she ad libbed the line. Later, with Koko behind bars, Chelsea offers to make dinner for Steve. When he asks if she wants to do it, she replies, “I have to. You never take me out to dinner.”
Lois Nettleton was born on August 6, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois, to Edward and Virginia Nettleton. She was named Miss Chicago of 1948 and was a semi-finalist in that year’s Miss America Pageant. After studying acting at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and the Actors’ Studio in New York, she made her Broadway debut in The Biggest Thief in Town (1949). In 1955, she served as Barbara Bel Geddes’ understudy in the role of Maggie the Cat in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and, occasionally, played the part opposite Jack Lord’s character, Brick. She acted in another Tennessee Williams play, Period of Adjustment (1962), this time on film. Most of Lois Nettleton’s work was on television, where she appeared in such programs as The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Murder, She Wrote; and In the Heat of the Night. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of a bereaved lesbian in an episode of The Golden Girls. Nettleton was married for seven years to radio and television humorist Jean Shepherd; they had no children. She died on January 18, 2008, at the age of 80, in Woodland Hills, California.
Cathi Ryan in "Man in a Steel Frame" (Season 9)
Steve McGarrett suffered a double blow with the death of Cathi Ryan. First was finding her dead in her home, murdered by a hired gunman. Second was fighting for his own life as he worked to prove his innocence as her suspected killer. As it turned out, an incarcerated mobster had arranged it all in hopes of having McGarrett sent to prison, where, almost surely, some of the men he had incarcerated would kill him.
Cathi Ryan was a French fashion designer, a woman who spoke with a French accent, a woman who was accustomed to the finer things in life and to earning them by her own hard work. She and Steve had been dating for about three months when she was killed. Most of Cathi's appearances take place in the form of flashbacks as McGarrett recalls their meeting and romance. She was a woman who could keep up with this sailor and tennis player, although she had her reservations about keeping company with a police officer. She was a widow, who had lost her husband and daughter while out sailing when a high wind kicked up and swells capsized their boat. She gave every evidence that, had she lived, she might have become Mrs. McGarrett.
Although "Man in a Steel Frame" is a highly emotional story in its own right, it becomes even more emotional when we learn of the autobiographical elements it shares with Jack Lord's life. So striking are these elements that I scrambled to see who had written it (Robert Stambler). First, of course, is the fact that Marie Lord was a fashion designer. Although she was born in the United States, her parents were French, and she studied in France and was noted for preparing French cuisine. Second is the loss of a child in a boating accident. Jack had a son from an early first marriage, who died when he was thirteen years old. Although some sources say his death was due to illness, other sources say he died in a boating accident. Third, of course, is Cathi's surname, Ryan, which is the same as Jack's birth name. One receives the impression that the emotions Jack displayed in this episode were very real.
Cathi Ryan was portrayed by Camilla Sparv, a Swedish actress born on June 3, 1943. Married briefly to American film producer Robert Evans, she began her acting career with appearances in The Trouble With Angels, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, and Murderer's Row. In 1967, she received a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer (female). She went on to appear in television programs, including The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. At present, she is retired from acting and lives with her third husband, Fred Kolber. She has one child by her second husband.
Liana Labella in "My Friend, the Enemy" (Season 10)
It's not easy to tell on which side of the fence journalist Liana Labella is sitting. She is nervous, impatient, and not easily understood. Following a row with McGarrett, she storms out, and we seldom see them together until the very end, when he invites her to his house for dinner. This is the episode where he claims to make the best lasagna and cacciatore in all of Hawai`i. Strange words coming from a man who, all along, has claimed to be a health food nut, a jogger, and vehemently opposed to smoking. Perhaps, a relationship will develop, although I am doubtful. As soon as her fiery Italian temper explodes, his Irish one will, and that will be the end of that! Of course, it is true that opposites attract. Hm...???
Liana Labella was portrayed by Luciana Paluzzi. In her biography, Ms. Paluzzi states that she grew up playing with trains and cars, not dolls, and that she studied at the Scientific Lyceum, because she wanted to design ships. She stumbled into acting by accident when she met the director of Three Coins in the Fountain while having dinner with her parents. That led to a small, uncredited role for her in that movie. During her career, she appeared in The Greek Tycoon, The Venetian Affair, and Return to Peyton Place, among other productions. Most notably, she appeared as Bond girl Fiona Volpe in Thunderball.
Agnes duBois in "Horoscope for Murder" (Season 11)
Agnes duBois is an astrologer who tells McGarrett that the common denominator among people who were killed with long, thin blades is that each one had a violent temper. McGarrett does not believe in astrology and tends not to believe her until his investigation produces evidence to corroborate Ms. duBois' claim.
At that point, McGarrett decides he needs to learn more about the subject. He borrows books from Ms. duBois and begins to bone up. Soon, he is taking the lady astrologer to dinner in order to discuss the subject with her. Finally, when it turns out that she is next on the murderer’s list, he defends her life.
This is another case in which we would do well to be the fly on the wallpaper in order to see whether this fledgling relationship ever gained momentum. Alas! The episodes just were not long enough to allow these details to develop or for us to learn whether McGarrett had feelings for the lady in question or was simply doing his job.
Agnes duBois was portrayed by Samantha Eggar in her only appearance on Five-0. Born in Hampstead, England, on March 5, 1939, Ms. Eggar began acting with Shakespearean companies. We colonists first met her in Walk Don’t Run, with Cary Grant in his last picture, and The Collector, for which she won an Oscar nomination. She went on to appear in such films as Curtains, Anna and the King, and The Astronaut’s Wife. On television, she appeared in such programs as Columbo, Star Trek, and All My Children. She was married to Tom Stern and has two children.
Minnie Cahoon in "The Case Against Philip Christie" (Season 11)
In a classic locked-door mystery, Philip Christie is accused of shooting his wife in cold blood, while a house full of guests are downstairs. The case goes to trial, and McGarrett is selected for jury duty.
Minnie Cahoon is the jury forewoman and is not happy that the vote among jurors is 11-to-1 against the defendant. She is less happy that our top cop is the vote in favor of acquittal. He can’t help it. He sees too many unanswered questions to allow the defendant to go to prison without at least looking further into the matter. Sure enough, when he asks that the jury be allowed to visit the Christie home to see where the murder took place and then has the crime re-enacted, the pieces fall into place. The actual murderer was hiding behind the door when the defendant and others broke into the room. Then, of course, he simply took his place in the crowd.
Minnie mellows then, and when the trial ends, she asks McGarrett to have lunch with her to which he replies that he never eats lunch. She then asks if he is married. He replies, “No woman would have me” and suggests that, if they had met ten years earlier… But, no. Both agree that each is too stubborn for a relationship to survive.
Minnie Cahoon was portrayed by Janis Paige. Ms. Paige was born on September 16, 1922, in Tacoma, Washington. Upon graduating from high school, she went to Hollywood, where she began singing at the Hollywood Canteen during World War II. It was there that Warner Brothers saw her and signed her to play in musicals. In 1951, Ms. Paige began appearing on Broadway, and in 1954, she achieved stardom with her portrayal of Babe in The Pajama Game, a role Doris Day played on film. She returned to films in Silk Stockings with Fred Astaire and in Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. She appeared on such television programs as Columbo, The Fugitive, and Trapper John, MD, as well as the soap operas Capitol, General Hospital, and Santa Barbara. Janis Paige has been married three times. She has no children.
In summation, we, the audience, learned that McGarrett had a life outside his big office at ‘Iolani Palace. Several conclusions can be drawn: First, Jack wanted McGarrett to have a personal life, even if the “rigid as a sonnet” format of the show did not allow much of it to be shown. Second, when giving McGarrett a personal life, Jack drew heavily from his own life. Third, McGarrett, like Jack, enjoyed activities that represented a balance between the indoors and the outdoors. He read poetry, painted, and cooked just as he sailed, worked on his sailboat, and traveled. We assume that McGarrett’s life in the Navy took him to most of the continents. We know for a fact that Jack’s life, both in the Merchant Marines and personally, took him to most of the continents. He said so.
People Underestimated McGarrett. One might be tempted to ask who would take seriously a police detective on a small island in the middle of the Pacific. Yet, that is what works for McGarrett. People underestimate him. And that makes it all the easier for him to draw the net around his suspects.
Indeed, as one tasked with reeling in foreign agents, international drug smugglers, and other criminal masterminds, McGarrett is an intelligence officer. Although he was trained by the Navy, he left active duty service in favor of providing intelligence for the State of Hawai‘i. Even so, as a reserve officer, he gives one weekend each month and two weeks of duty each year to the Navy. In the series, however, reference is made only to his two-week reserve duty, principally in "Murder - Eyes Only" (Season 8).
In “Termination With Extreme Prejudice,” McGarrett goes to visit Yuan Kee (Kwan Hi Lim), the Chinese intelligence operative in the Islands, only to find him and MI-5 agent Harry Wells (Dan O'Herlihy) having tea as they pretend to discuss silks. Wells is so busy looking down his nose at the island cop that he doesn’t realize the net is closing around him. Yuan Kee, on the other hand, is wiser and promptly puts in a call to his superior, Wan Tai (Harry Chang), to let him know that McGarrett is closing in on their operation. In the end, Lord Danby (Murray Mathieson) is dead, Harry Wells is under arrest, and the Chinese agents have scurried back under their rock at the Far East Trading Company.
At the end of “Termination With Extreme Prejudice” (Season 8), British intelligence officer Harry Wells (Dan O’Herlihy) tells McGarrett that he’s wasting his time as a police detective; he should be working in intelligence. McGarrett replies, “I am!”
Many thanks go to Eva Bahre, Nadja Arndt, Theresa Sedinger, and “Jeffman” for their contributions to "McGarrett's Many Loves." Your additions make all the difference. Mahalo!