My favorite episodes of Hawaii Five-O (Seasons 1-9)

by alpha128 | created - 07 Aug 2011 | updated - 04 Mar 2012 | Public

I purchased Seasons 1-9 of this classic series on DVD. The general consensus is the show "jumped the shark" (went downhill) starting in Season 10. Here are my favorite episodes from the first nine seasons in chronological order. My descriptions are pretty much spoiler-free.

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1. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The investigations of Hawaii Five-0, an elite branch of the Hawaii State Police answerable only to the governor and headed by stalwart Steve McGarrett.

Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Herman Wedemeyer

Votes: 5,196

The first entry is for the Hawaii Five-O series, so this list will appear on the main details page for the show. What follows are my favorite episodes.

2. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Once Upon a Time: Part 1 (1969)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

McGarrett's sister, whose infant son is dying of cancer, has fallen under the sway of a medical quack. Her husband is afraid to confront her. Instead, he summons McGarrett to their home in ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Caffey | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 122

Season 1. A standout episode, even if much of it doesn't take place in Hawaii.

3. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Once Upon a Time: Part 2 (1969)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

McGarrett, desperate to convict medical quack C.L. Fremont, seeks evidence where she can be prosecuted for a more serious charge. Facing extremely long odds, he convinces the family of a ... See full summary »

Directors: Abner Biberman, Michael Caffey | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 115

Season 1. A standout episode, even if much of it doesn't take place in Hawaii.

4. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Over Fifty? Steal (1970)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Lewis Avery Filer had been an insurance investigator forced to retire when his company was taken over by a conglomerate. The wily Filer is now pulling daring robberies at businesses either ... See full summary »

Director: Bob Sweeney | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 151

Season 3. Hume Cronyn was so good in this one you were almost sorry when he got caught.

5. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Beautiful Screamer (1970)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Two women are strangled and portions of a poem are written, in lipstick, on their legs. The second is the girlfriend of Dan Williams. He is on edge, wanting to work on the case "or else ... See full summary »

Director: Anton Leader | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 77

Season 3. James MacArthur gives an outstanding performance in this one.

6. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Rest in Peace, Somebody (1971)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

McGarrett gets a telephone call upon arriving at work. The caller says he intends to kill someone. The caller has also sent the lawman a key that will tell McGarrett the identity of the ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Stanley | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 76

Season 4. My nickname for this episode is 'He Wore a Vest'. This one is so memorable I recalled the plot in detail two decades after I last saw it in syndication.

7. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Skinhead (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A young woman is savagely beaten and raped outside a bar. The prime suspect is a bald headed soldier, with whom she was seen arguing inside the bar. The jury eventually convicts him based ... See full summary »

Director: Allen Reisner | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong

Votes: 80

Season 4. A truly disturbing episode, even now. I can't imagine what the reaction was back in 1972. The slimy lawyer Tosaki (Kwan Hi Lim) returns in the 'Vashon' trilogy.

8. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: The Jinn Who Clears the Way (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Operatives working for Wo Fat steal a device from a U.S. military base in Hawaii. Wo Fat is also manipulating a young Maoist into helping him smuggle the device to China. McGarrett and ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Falk | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 71

Season 5. This one has it all. Tight plotting, great performances all around, and what may be the finest finale in the entire series.

9. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: 'V' for Vashon: The Son (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Chris Vashon is male heir to the Vashon crime family, which now has considerable legitimate business holdings. The young Vashon, a rebellious sort, has been conducting robberies with ... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 105

Season 5. Part I of an undisputed classic. The confrontation between Honore and McGarrett at the end is fantastic.

10. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: 'V' for Vashon: The Father (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The Vashons are planning to go after Steve for killing Chris Vashon. His grandfather wants to send Steve a message that he's going to die. But his son Honore, Chris' father objects to it ... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 99

Season 5. Part II of an undisputed classic.

11. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: 'V' for Vashon: The Patriarch (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Dominick Vashon, the patriarch of the crime family, seeks revenge on McGarrett for killing his grandson and sending his son to prison. With help from his incarcerated son, he finds a man ... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 91

Season 5. Part III of an undisputed classic.

12. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: I'm a Family Crook - Don't Shoot! (1972)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The Lovejoys, a family of grifters, make a bigger score than they ever imagined. The problem is they've ripped off a mobster who wants his money back -- and will gladly kill to do so.

Director: Bob Sweeney | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 84

Season 5. A highly entertaining episode about a con artist family that gets in over their heads when they inadvertently steal from the mob.

13. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Engaged to Be Buried (1973)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Five-O seeks to bust a family-run protection racket. But the investigation turns personal for Five-O stalwart Chin Ho Kelly because his daughter is in love with the son of the racket's ... See full summary »

Director: Michael O'Herlihy | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 71

Season 5. Kam Fong's performance in this one is excellent throughout. The part where he loses it in McGarrett's office is particularly memorable.

14. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Hookman (1973)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An off-duty police officer is shot and killed by a sniper while he is moonlighting as a funeral escort. The next day another officer is shot and killed during a police standoff, but the ... See full summary »

Director: Allen Reisner | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 116

Season 6. A gripping tale of revenge enhanced by an Emmy award winning musical score.

15. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Draw Me a Killer (1973)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A psychotic young man is obsessed with the comic strip character "Judy Moon" and as a result of that obsession he murders three men who are dead ringers for villains that threaten "Judy" in... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 93

Season 6. My nickname for this episode is 'Judy Moon'. That's the name of the fictional damsel in distress who has a real life protector. This is quite possibly my favorite Five-O episode of all time.

16. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: One Big Happy Family (1973)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A somewhat odd family comes to Hawaii and embarks on a criminal rampage. McGarrett can find no pattern to their activities until information from the mainland shows they rob and kill random targets without a second thought.

Director: Alf Kjellin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 115

Season 6. My nickname for this episode is 'Redneck Rampage'. This one is almost a counterpoint to 'Family Crook', only this time the family is pure evil. Very disturbing.

17. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Secret Witness (1974)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Five-O races to find the witness to a hit on a bagman of a local mob. The witness, who narrowly escaped being killed himself, had dropped a library book with his library card inside, ... See full summary »

Director: Michael O'Herlihy | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 61

Season 6. Great detective work by the team, and one of the most evil villains in Five-O history - he puts a gun to a baby's head! Furthermore, Mr. Spock's TV dad (Mark Lenard) is great as a gangster.

18. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Death with Father (1974)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

McGarrett joins a group of operatives trying to take down a major drug lab in the hills. The raid succeeds, but a young man smashes through a cordon in a truck and escapes. Word of the raid... See full summary »

Director: Jack Lord | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 66

Season 6. A great directorial debut by Jack Lord, with a stunning finale.

19. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: I'll Kill 'Em Again (1974)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A nerdy bookstore clerk with an obsession for McGarrett turns deadly as he re-creates some of Five-O's most famous cases that were covered in a series of magazine articles. He is so brazen ... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong

Votes: 70

Season 7. Almost a counterpoint to 'Draw Me a Killer', with the guy who works the menial job deliberately assuming the role of murderer instead of being a misguided protector.

20. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: How to Steal a Masterpiece (1974)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Thugs break into the heavily-guarded art room of a multimillionaire and steal a Gauguin painting worth a fortune. When Five-O comes to investigate, the millionaire, his secretary and his ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Lord | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Luther Adler

Votes: 60

Season 7. A well constructed episode with red herrings that keep you guessing.

21. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: The Case Against McGarrett (1975)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

After being denied parole from prison, crime lord Honore Vashon comes up with a twisted scheme to exact revenge on McGarrett for the deaths of his son Chris and his father Dominick by ... See full summary »

Director: Charles S. Dubin | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Harold Gould

Votes: 49

Season 8. IMHO, the first outstanding episode of the eighth season. But with the writer and director of the original 'Vashon' trilogy both back for this sequel, I didn't expect anything less and I was not disappointed!

22. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Retire in Sunny Hawaii... Forever (1975)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Dan Williams welcomes his Aunt Clara to Hawaii for a visit. On the flight over, she got to know Edgar Miller, an elderly man on the same flight. Once he checks into his hotel room, Miller ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Bilson | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Helen Hayes

Votes: 58

Season 8. A delightful light-hearted episode that is as good as 'Over Fifty? Steal!'. Nice little twist at the end.

23. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Honor Is an Unmarked Grave (1975)

Not Rated | 51 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Egotistical author Travis Marshall discovers the unmarked grave of heir Brian Henderson. Marshall is promoting his find to the media, much to the annoyance of McGarrett & Co., who have ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Lord | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Eileen Heckart

Votes: 38

Season 8. I was thoroughly impressed by this episode. Features the beautiful Elissa Dulce in one of her largest roles and most effective performances.

24. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Legacy of Terror (1976)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Alex Kelsey, a lawyer involved with mobster Din Lee, kills a dying Japanese man. The dead man had been a Japanese operative at the time of Pearl Harbor. Kelsey believes the dead man had a ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Bilson | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Lew Ayres

Votes: 42

Season 8. This is a terrific episode, full of surprises.

25. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: Nine Dragons (1976)

Not Rated | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Wo Fat, disguised as an academic from Hong Kong, organizes the theft of deadly toxins on loan to the University of Hawaii for medical experiments. McGarrett travels to Hong Kong in pursuit of Wo Fat but is captured.

Director: Michael O'Herlihy | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Herman Wedemeyer

Votes: 52

Season 9. The creators apparently went all out to do something special for the ninth season opener and the result is one of the best episodes of the series. Five-O has never looked so cinematic or seemed so epic.

26. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Episode: The Last of the Great Paperhangers (1976)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Someone breaks into Five-O's temporary offices at the Territorial Building and, for the most part, manages to avoid the burglar alarms. When the alarm is triggered, the guard who responds ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Leacock | Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Herman Wedemeyer

Votes: 37

Season 9. Another delightful light-hearted episode. Hunter R. Hickey (H.R.H.) was Five-O's best 'gentleman crook' since Lewis Avery Filer from 'Over Fifty? Steal!'.



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