For those “Hawaii Five-O” faithful who live to see Scott Caan as Detective Williams at his quirky and questioning best (and not looking too shabby wearing spectacles), this week’s November 20 ninth episode for Season 6, “Hana keaka” (Charade) is well worth a second look. The team is not chasing any erstwhile nemesis, but this playful episode has plenty of charm, especially between Julie Benz as Inspector Abby Dunn, and Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) definite chemistry is starting to combust, along with some tender mentoring of a troubled young man by Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) who knows so well what it is to lose a father. Jerry (Jorge Garcia) gets a dirty assignment, nephew Eric (Andrew Lawrence) gets to have all the fun, and Captain Lou Grover (Chi McBride) gets the best lines!
Before the action starts for this week’s offering, there is a lengthy look back at the “tough stuff” handled by “5-O” through this season, culminating with Adam turning himself in, and the arrival of Abby. A scene then opens with a dapper-dressed Danny arriving as Professor Ben Jeffries, teaching economics, and getting quite the eye from a particular student. A farm hand doing morning feeding finds the pigs already filling up on human body parts, thus, the team is summoned. The message also comes that Hank Weber, who is the best lead to Gabriel Waincroft, has been murdered– no surprise as to who was running that hit. Kamekona (Taylor Wily) breaks up a dispute involving Nehele (Kekoa Kekumano), who fears he will be ordered back to live with his criminal father. Kono (Grace Park) comes on the scene, spelling out how Adam already agreed to a 24 month deal on his conviction, “not even fighting it.” Back at the pig farm, Dr. Max (Masi Oka) has made progress in piecing together a male victim, with a whole liver, but nothing identifying, like a finger, until finally a thumb surfaces, and gives them the name, Elliott Thomas. Professor Thomas’ belongings are strewn all over the parking lot, where there is no surveillance, and he has plenty of troubling reviews provided by students spread all over the Internet.
Screen reveals that Danny has a well-earned background for teaching economics from Sutton, so he makes the perfect “substitute professor” for Thomas. Danny needs someone mingling with students to help spy the perpetrator, so he enlists his nephew, Eric, for that part, and needless to say, he adopts and adapts to that demeanor without a moment’s hesitation, right down to donning the perfect wardrobe, and printing his own student ID. Danny teases that he sees several possibilities for “epic fail” for his nephew in the ladies department, but Eric sallies forth with confidence. The students immediately start fishing for information about their departed instructor, and Danny pulls a pop quiz in his defense, laying down the law that he means business. Steve comes to counsel Nehele about his prospects with his father, questioning whether he believes in forgiveness and second chances. The son still has trepidation, and Steve senses that he knows something that he’s not saying. Danny already has a teacher’s pet, and a genuine apple polisher, too, but he doesn’t give in a centimeter to her coed overtures, uncomfortable as can be. Referring to Eric as “Jump Street,” Danny assigns him to go to the keg party to gather information– and Eric is more than willing, Max discovers that the pics have already consumed the heart, along with the lead slugs, so the only way to get the forensic evidence is to wait until the digestive process is complete, and the poop reveals the evidence. Jerry gets the watch over this nasty assignment. Abby is so touched by Chin’s gesture of opening the door for her, and she tells him that he reminds her that chivalry is still alive. The team gets a quick break on a football player named Brandon Aquino (Micah J.K. Ramos) who definitely had a beef with the instructor. Thomas got him cut from the team, but he points to the coach as the guilty party. Aquino confesses that he was a brick thrower through Thomas’ window, but not the killer. The coach brought Thomas’ failings before the entire school board, when his career was already at an end.
An unusual bit of evidence turns up when ownership of a nail salon is traced to Thomas, and business is booming on the books, with a $3500 per week salary, despite there being no traffic at all. Steve tracks down Nehele’s dad (James Duval), but doesn’t get any warm and fuzzy vibe from him beyond all the right words. He declares that he wants to build trust with his son. Jerry has storytime with the pigs, getting just relaxed enough to do their necessary business, so the precious poop comes, bullets intact. The slugs so happen to trace to a “student employee” at the nail salon, Alfie Tucker (Samuel Larsen), a known pot dealer on campus. One look at Alphie’s digs, “where ramen noodles and personal hygiene go to die” in Lou Grover’s words, confirms that he not only deals weed, but grows it, too, in a place with plenty of AC/DC power– the salon. Eric gets a little too lively and the keg party, and blows his cover just a bit, but nothing irreparable. He ID’s Alfie right away as “one buck Tuck,” but it takes a little time to bring him in. He admits to working with the professor, but not to taking him down, until he is shown on camera with the same weapon that matches the bullets. The camera doesn’t lie, and he confesses. He got a taste of bigger profits with a dead professor. This photo was on the wall of the shooting range where he “checked out” weapons like books.
In a heartwarming exchange, Chin offers his office to Abby, who graciously accepts, and the two part with a touching good night. Steve and Nehele have another heart-to-heart, and the boy tells Steve a pushed away memory of his father shooting someone in a remote forest, while he was told to read his comic book. Steve promises “I will protect you,” and the final scene has Steve calling the team to the site where a skull has been found, and so ends this studious “Hawaii Five-O.”
Expect holiday programming to take up next week, and the team will likely ring in December full throttle!