Turning Back Time with HAWAII FIVE-0’s Cast of Characters, Part 1

Cheryl’s newest multi-part story looks at how characters from H50 compare to their previous-run counterparts, starting with Grace Park’s Kono –

Way back in 1968, with the first season of the original Hawaii Five-0 on the air, the four lead characters of the series were easy to spot.  They were, of course, Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett), James MacArthur (Danny Williams), Kam Fong (Chin Ho Kelly), and Zulu (Kono Kalakaua).  Not so today.  When the reboot series airs on CBS on Friday nights, there’s a myriad of regular cast members, none of whose roles appeared as lead in the original series save for the original four, now played by Alex O’Loughlin (McGarrett), Scott Caan (Williams), Daniel Dae Kim (Kelly), and Grace Park (Kalakaua).  To top things off, as we all know, the role of Kalakaua is now a woman.  Sign o’ the times – or an effort to stir up the ratings war – whichever you prefer.

At any rate, these days the part of Kono Kalakaua is being played by Battlestar Galactica’s Grace Park, and she does a fine job.  Unlike her streetwise predecessor, today’s Kalakaua gets a great deal of screen time in her role.  She even has quite a few storylines of her own, what with her hubby’s past as Yakuza royalty (Adam Noshimuri, played by Ian Anthony Dale). 

Things were different in the original series, where the Kalakaua character had no past or personal storylines.  That’s the way series creator Leonard Freeman wanted it.  Notwithstanding this, Zulu’s character did, in fact, have opportunities to shine in a handful of episodes.  In Season Two, Episode 8, “King Kamehameha Blues,” the King’s cloak is stolen by college students.  Kalakaua, as a local Hawaiian, tries to form a bond with one of the students, who is also Hawaiian, in an effort to get the message across to him that stealing is not the answer.  In Season Three, Episode 6, “The Ransom,” Kalakaua finds himself replaced as the victim of a kidnapping.  Though he manages to heroically free the kidnapped young man, he, himself, is then kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom.  In Season Four, Episode 10, “Rest in Peace, Somebody,” Kalakaua gets a clue at his home (though we learn nothing from this about his personal life) from an apparent murder suspect who taunts McGarrett that someone as-yet-unnamed will be killed.  The Kalakaua role disappears from the original series after Season Four, so no more storylines were in the cards for him. 

The Kalakaua character has come a long way from streetwise cop to ex-surfer graduate of the Police Academy.

Watch Hawaii Five-0 on Fridays at 9 P.M. on CBS.