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October 12, 2010

Chevrolet drives into 'Hawaii Five-O,' along with defunct Mercury

By David Kiley on Tue Oct 12 2010


General Motors' Chevrolet division has a product integration deal with CBS and its new hit series Hawaii Five-O. Before I hit on the absurdity of Monday's episode, and how GM factored into the plot, let me take a minute to express my sadness that Ford did not take the opportunity, as it did back in the 1960s with the original show.
  Not only did Steve McGarrett drive big black Mercury cop cars in the original, but the show was filled with Fords driven by bad guys, politicians and the other cops (Chin Ho, played by Kam Fong, and Kono played by Zulu ... why did they change the actors' names anyway?). McGarrett drove a 1967 Merc Marquis, a Merc Park Lane Brougham and then a 1974 Merc Marquis until the show wrapped in 1980. Yes, they had Steve driving a 6-year-old car. I can recall one bad guy who drove an awesome Ford Bronco open-top SUV.
  It's not like Ford could have re-upped with Mercury for the new series. The automaker announced this year that it is phasing out the brand. Still, in the second episode this year, Mercury got a nod when young Steve was in the garage of his just-killed father. In the garage, there was a car with a cover on it. Steve partially pulls the sheet off the nose of the car to show the Mercury name above the grille. That scene has no other purpose but to pay homage to the cars Jack Lord drove in the original. Indeed, actor Alex O'Loughlin, who plays McGarrett, will be seen restoring the old Merc as a sub-plot.

  Executive producer Peter Lenkhov says the Mercury, despite the counter-programming to Chevy, is meant as plot candy for fans of the original show. Another delicious irony is the casting of Scott Caan, son of actor James Caan, as Danny "Danno" Williams. The younger Caan has had a less-than-illustrious acting career (1997's Bongwater), as did James MacArthur, the original Danno, who was the son of screen legend Helen Hayes.
  Now, for Chevy. Caan's Danny is driving a new Chevy Camaro, and O'Loughlin is driving a Chevy Silverado pickup. In this week's episode, a bad guy who broke out of prison took his girlfriend's Chevy Malibu to dragoon his former partner and drive to a bank. How does the Five-O squad find the bad guy? Naturally, the car has OnStar, and the cops are able to track him to the bank and move in. A heavy-handed plot twist? If a guy is smart enough to bribe a prison guard, shoot two other guards with the first guard's gun, superglue a guard's mouth shut, tape a gun in his hand and send him out into the prison yard wearing an inmate's jump-suit to get shot by the cops while he escapes in another Chevy wearing the guard's uniform ... do we think this guy is not going to not know the Malibu has OnStar?
  At least when Tony Soprano got a new GM SUV, the first thing he said to the dealer was: "Make sure you take all that GPS shit out."


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