After some reruns, Hawaii Five-0 finally brings us a new episode. This one involves a law enforcement officer who meets a bloody end in an airplane bathroom. Not the way I'd want to go out.
Upon arriving at the crime scene, Danny realizes that he knew the victim, U.S. Marshal Dave Collins. Chin reports that there are two missing passengers - the felon Dave was transporting, Sal Painter (that's Sons of Anarchy's Theo Rossi) and another man posing as Rick McGuire. Five-0 immediately moves to talk to the key witness against Sal, Holly Malone (White Collar's Gloria Votsis), who tips them off as to where Sal is holed up. A chase ends with the felon taking an unexpected swim in the hotel pool, and swearing he's never seen his alleged accomplice before.
Startling news comes when Kono discovers that the last call Collins never got to make was to Danny, who is at that moment tracking down the not-Rick McGuire. Steve and Chin find the guy's house empty, but plenty of photos of Danny and his family on the dude's computer. Say it with me, everyone: stalker. A stalker who is, at that moment, posing as a cop to abduct Grace, who asks more questions than her tennis instructor does. This understandably makes Danny flip out, especially after the stalker - his former partner Rick Peterson - calls him from his daughter's cell phone. It's Scott Caan channeling Liam Neeson in Taken.
What does Peterson want? He's holding a giant grudge after Danny put him in prison for swiping evidence from crime scenes. It's up to Five-0 to come to their teammate's rescue, even as they all find out about Danny's affair with Rachel thanks to one replayed voicemail message. Danny starts arguing with Peterson even as the guy has a gun aimed at him, which is typical Danny, but then they find angsty common ground over failed marriages and rocky relationships with their kids. Peterson decides an even better way to put the screws to Danny is to force him to murder Stan, therefore sending him to prison.
Danny goes off book and administers one non-fatal wound instead, saving his real shots for Peterson, who quickly gives up Grace's location after taking one to the knee. Grace is quickly reunited with her parents, and all's well that ends well, except presumably for Stan having a bullet removed from his shoulder.
Yes, this is a plot you've seen before. What makes it better than rote is the fact that it gives Scott Caan a lot to play with, and he does so very well, reminding us that Danny Williams is a lot more than just someone to banter with Steve McGarrett. Not to take anything away from Alex O'Loughlin, whom I enjoy, but Caan earned that Golden Globe nomination for a variety of reasons, many of which we get to see in this episode. The story's not novel, but Caan makes the most of it. And he does the heavy lifting, because the writing starts to lose its credibility in the fourth act. Yet I'll overlook that this time, because I was seriously impressed by the acting.
(One quick quibble: did it sound like O'Loughlin called Lori "Lauren" at least once, possibly twice during this episode? The names do sound alike, but I could swear I heard the actress's name, not the character's.)
This is an unremarkable episode of Hawaii Five-0, but it's a reminder that this show has a great ensemble that separates it from your garden-variety procedural. I'd watch Scott Caan act his way out of a paper bag. Maybe there's a second Golden Globe nomination in his future.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.