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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hawaii Five-0 is an often-violent cop show -- and a more intense remake of the classic TV series -- that focuses on an elite unit of crime fighters who are tasked with bringing down the worst elements of Hawaii’s underground, with very little in the way of rules or regulations (or regards to civil rights) to get in their way. There's a lot of shooting first and asking questions later -- though not everyone survives the shooting part. Expect lots of gunfights, often using automatic weapons, and some deaths. As the series has progressed, it's grown more violent, and more likely to focus on murder than other crimes. Viewers will see car accidents, scantily clad women in jeopardy, serial killers, dead bodies, violence that causes blood to splatter everywhere, and so on. There are also autopsies with bloody, gory dead bodies on a table, and graphic photos of their injuries displayed above. Beach scenes are often an excuse for the camera to leer at women in bikinis. Other than the name, the location, and -- of course -- the theme music, there's little connection between this series (which, like most contemporary crime shows, also includes some drinking, language, and skimpy outfits) and the original.
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What's the story?
Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), a former Navy SEAL, returns home to Hawaii to bring down the terrorist who killed his father in HAWAII FIVE-0. When he arrives, the governor (Jean Smart) offered him a job: heading up an elite new crime-fighting unit designed to bring down the worst offenders in the islands. "Your rules," she promised him, "my backing, no red tape." In other words, McGarrett had free rein to hunt down the bad guys with no regard for standard cop procedure. He could shoot first and ask questions later. But McGarrett's carte blanche was cut short when the governor was murdered, and the new governor had much less patience with his freewheeling ways. Now McGarrett acts more like a traditional cop, chasing down clues in each week's case with the help of his team: Danny "Danno" Williams (Scott Caan), a New Jersey expatriate who's no fan of the beach; Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), who was caught up in a corruption scandal and forced out of the Honolulu Police Department; and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), Chin Ho's cousin, the least experienced team member who's eager to make a name for herself. Other recurring characters include Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka), the chief medical examiner who performs autopsies under the direction of the Five-0 team, Lieutenant Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth), Steve McGarrett's sometimes-girlfriend and Navy intelligence officer, and Kamekona (Taylor Wily), a shave ice truck owner and informant who's chummy with McGarrett.
Is it any good?
Don't look for realism here, as this show is all about the action, and there's plenty of it. Hawaii sure seems dangerous these days. The bad guys are all packing automatic weapons, and spooky serial killers are on the loose. Good thing the Hawaii Five-0 unit is there to stop this unprecedented crime wave. There isn't really much connection to the original series, either. The names are the same, and the location, and -- of course -- the music. But otherwise, this is just another cop show, albeit one with particularly choice casting, particularly for guest stars and recurring minor characters.
In this cop show (a remake of the classic TV series with one of the best-known theme songs ever), McGarrett treats law enforcement like a military engagement: Shoot first, and shoot to kill (and thanks to his deal with the governor, there are no pesky reports to fill out afterward). As the show has progressed, it's gotten more violent than ever, more like CSI than a shoot-em-up cop show, with violent, gory, and bizarre murders committed on comely young female victims.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Hawaii Five-0's cops go about their business. What do you think about the idea of "good guys" who aren't obligated to follow standard procedure? Is this a good way to eliminate the worst criminals, or a slippery slope where rights are involved?
How does this series compare to the original? What's similar and what's different? Why do you think producers opted for a remake?
What's the impact of the show's violence? How does it compare to that in other crime/cop shows you've seen?
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.