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Thread: A Death in the Family

  1. #1
    Hi, I'm new here and I did try the search function to look this up (as well as outside of the forum).... I have been watching the show on Paramount this year. I had watched the show a little at various times, but hadn't regularly watched it until this year.

    Anyway, is there a story to why Chin Ho was killed off? Was it just that he didn't want to do the show anymore? I really couldn't find any info on this and it was surprising to me...

  2. #2
    Hi rickms and welcome!

    The only I can tell you is to check out this page:

    This is Mr. Mike's Hawaii Five-O Homepage and was one of the first pages I found when MeTV began airing Five-O in 2017. It has a LOT of information and the reviews are to die for! They're funny! Mr. Mike did a great job and while you may not agree with everything in his reviews (there's points I disagree, but that's me) - they're still worth checking out.

    He also has each episode on its own page including galleries (the galleries are my favorite!).

    A Death In The Family can be viewed here:

    His Comprehensive Index is a newer feature. It's here:

    Hope this helps and welcome to the Forum!!

  3. #3
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.

    When asked about his demise at the end of the tenth season in #238, A Death in the Family, Kam [Fong] said that he originally wanted Chin Ho to "retire gracefully," and fought the idea of having his character murdered. There was even talk of the production company suing Kam for breaking his contract! Then someone told him that it was an honour if you were a regular in a TV show and you were knocked off ... this meant that no one else could play your character. Later Kam said it was a Hollywood superstition that "if one of the regulars leaves, the show falls down." Someone in the audience said, "Oh, this must mean that everything after the fourth season [when Zoulou left] was no good!"

  4. #4
    Interesting stuff!

    Thank you both.

    I have browsed the forum a little. Since I have seen episodes just once (for the ones that I have seen), I don't have association to jump into a lot yet, since it's hard to remember it all, but I am enjoying the show.

  5. #5
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Your question has been answered in a most recent posting:

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    Your question has been answered in a most recent posting:
    Yeah, I just saw that (It's been a minute since I have had a chance to visit here).

    BTW, recently started the final season and once again, another departure, but with no fanfare (or tragedy). I know tv shows were a little different at the time, but wow.

    As for the season, I wish the additional team member had a little more character. I mean, even for a show with dry, serious characters, they are rather generic.

  7. #7
    Just did another rewatch of “A Death in the Family “. Every time I view it, I like it more and more, despite a few silly plot shenanigans in the latter half.

    For me, it marks a brief return-to-form for the series, like a season 1 episode, with a fiery, angry, emotional and energetic performance from both Jack Lord as well as the 2 guest stars, Manu Topou and Rene Santoni, who play the villains. The scenes between McGarrett & Pahoa, McGarrett & Rego, and Pahoa & Rego all crackle with intensity. It had been a while since Lord gave such a strong, passionate performance, at least not in Season 10.

    The episode is somewhat revolutionary because it was one of the first shows to ever kill off a beloved long-running character (so did MASH a few years prior), plus it introduced the Kumu storyline which continued in various season 11 and 12 episodes (ongoing storylines had not happened in cop shows prior nor again until Hill St Blues and Wiseguy in the 80s). It also featured a revolutionary sequence (for TV shows of the era) presented in a widescreen letterbox aspect ratio near the episode’s beginning, in which we see a police raid montage.

    Another revolutionary aspect was the shocking season-ending cliffhanger itself, which certainly hadn’t been done before in a cop show. It’s also a rare later-season show where McGarrett and the bad guys go at each other in multiple scenes where they are in explosive confrontations.

    Additionally, it’s one of 3 episodes in which we see McGarrett cry, the others being Season 1’s “Once Upon a Time” and Season 9’s “Man in a Steel Frame”.

    Speaking of “Steel Frame”, “A Death in the Family’s” climactic showdown evokes a callback to “Frame’s” equally-thrilling climax in which McGarrett surprises a loved one’s killer at a beach house, chases him thru a forest on a beach and beats the crap out of him.

    Another call-out here is the episode’s strong music score by Walter Scharf, which features a number of scenes with music sequences that enhance the intensity of key emotional moments, including the preview at the beginning, the opening arrest montage, Chin’s tension-filled interrogation, the shocking discovery of his body on the Palace footsteps, McGarrett’s subsequent emotional breakdown, his meet-up with Chin’s daughter after her arrival as they console one another and the scene’s transition to the grim details of his death from the coroner, and the beatdown at the end. Definitely a musical high-point of the season for me.

    The episode also connects to a couple of earlier-season shows where we see Chin Ho’s kids, namely his oldest daughter (though she had a different name in Season 5’s “Engaged to be Buried”, if the character was even intended to be the same daughter as before).

    Finally, McGarrett’s startling realization that he got Chin killed by letting him go undercover when he was too well-known is a fairly rare acknowledgment by Steve of a serious error in judgment. Even though Danno and Duke try to ease McGarrett’s emotional torment, it seems pretty clear that his guilt is well justified.

    There’s so much for me to unpack from that episode that was relatively fresh new ground in an otherwise disappointing season. It remains a mystery to me as to why CBS doesn’t include it in their current remastered 209-episode TV syndication package, yet an handful of other lesser episodes are included from these last three seasons. For viewers discovering it for the first time on Me-TV+ and H&I, there’s no explanation as to why Chin Ho suddenly disappears from the show by season 11.
    Last edited by JeffH; 05-20-2024 at 09:58 PM.

  8. #8
    Jeff H
    Great work Jeff H on "A Death In The Family." I would give it 3 ⭐⭐⭐ stars out of 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Agree on a few nicks or things that I don't like similar to Nine Dragons. Cappy Pahoa and Jimmy Rego are excellent characters. Pahoa has ultra-respect for McGarrett which is interesting. Many of the HFO criminal types think they are smarter than McGarrett or can try to eliminate him. Rego is a confrontational and intense type person. He murders Chin Ho and he and his goons dump Chin Ho's dead body outside HFO steps. Interesting dynamics with Cappy, Rego, and Cappy's daughter Kini and Suzy (Chin Ho's Daughter). Rego must know Suzy's Dad is Chin Ho because Kini and Suzy are best friends. He also attended the Chin Ho service with Kini. Rego also reveals the name Chin Ho when he breaks Chin Ho Kelly's cover when Chin Ho goes and sees the supposed boss. I don't know how Rego could keep it from Kini that he killed Chin Ho especially when she is with Suzy much of the time. It makes sense Suzy would be a good detective. Chin Ho probably shared many stories of his HFO detective years. She would know about fingerprints and preserving evidence. The gun is an interesting question. Suzy brought the gun to McGarrett which is later tested. I know McG didn't find it himself and did not have a search warrant. McG presses Cappy where Rego is hiding. Pahoa gives up Rego for several reasons... 1. Rego admitted he killed Chin Ho to Cappy. He doesn't want all the heat by protecting Rego. 2. It's a convenient way to have Rego out of the way in prison. He doesn't want Rego to marry Kini his daughter. 3. Cappy doesn't have to worry about Rego making a power play later. Rego is ambitious and certainly would want to be the head boss.

    You brought up some good points about McGarrett showing emotion and crying. The only other time I can remember is when McG has a conversation with Allie Francis. Season 11 Number One With A Bullet. We learn McGarrett's father was killed by a fleeing criminal who just robbed a place. The incident was 1 of the main reasons that fueled him to become a member of law enforcement.

    Season 11 could have been an opening season sparkler with Jimmy Rego's trial. It would have been an emotional and intense courtroom atmosphere .I think that would have been a better Season 11 episode opener than The Sleeper.


  9. #9
    Given that the producers continued the Kumu mafia storyline into seasons 11 and 12, it’s rather surprising they didn’t at least bring back Pahoa. Perhaps they thought bringing Ross Martin in as Alika might boost the ratings more, but even so, they could have had an interim episode showing a power struggle between Pahoa and Alika vying for control. However, that starts to tread into territory covered by “Number One With a Bullet”.
    I would’ve loved to see Rego’s trial, too, because it’s more than likely that a good slimy defense attorney could get him sprung by proving that the incriminating handgun was obtained by police without any type of warrant. It was technically stolen by Suzy, potentially tainted, and given to the police, thereby setting up a rematch between McGarrett and Rego once Chin’s killer was back on the streets. If Rego had discovered the theft and reported the gun was stolen, he’d be cleared and thanks to double jeopardy laws, he couldn’t be charged with the same crime again if he was found innocent the first time around.

    Ahhhh, the possibilities! With some better writers, Season 11 could’ve been something quite good, in which case James MacArthur might’ve stuck around for one last season instead of leaving due to tired scripts.

  10. #10
    Another excellent post Jeff H. I think they missed capitalizing on the Rego Trial Season 11 opener. It could have been a two parter I and II. They could have had a "Rigged Juror" paid off by Rego somehow who hangs the jury. Or the "Rigged Juror" could persuade the jury to vote "NOT GUILTY". It would be interesting having Cappy Pahoa served a subpoena to report to court and testify. I would be watching intently to see Pahoa on the stand. He could be the important witness to bury Rego in the Chin Ho murder. Maybe, he would say nothing. The writers would have several ways to proceed through the Two Parter. Scenario #1. Rego is found NOT GUILTY but an angry friend of Chin Ho shoots Rego dead as he leaves the courtroom. Scenario #2. Rego is found NOT GUILTY but he can never see Kini again. Pahoa gives him that plane ticket to England or France. Scenario #3. Rego is found GUILTY due to Cappy's testimony and Rego who was in possession of the murder weapon that killed Chin Ho. Scenario #4. Rego is found GUILTY in the court of law. Impressed with Suzi, McGarrett offers Suzi a position in HFO. She accepts happily. McG saying something like, "Chin would have wanted this...It is an honor to have you here." Scenario #5. A Hung Jury with the case brought back later in Season 11. I enjoyed the idea of a possible power struggle between Alika and Pahoa. They could have had 3-6 episodes devoted to this fighting on the streets. Season 11 the writers focused on things that were happening like Astrology, Psychic Phenomena, Religious Cults, etc. I'm a big fan of Season 11 because I liked the streamlined HFO with Danno, Duke, and McGarrett. A few strong episodes like A Distant Thunder, Number One With A Bullet and Stringer. I really enjoyed Death Mask with Syd Charisse. She did create an exquisite mask. I've liked The Skyline Killer with more watches. Some disappointing episodes like A Very Personal Matter and Will Linda Please Die? bring Season 11 down. Deadly Courier probably was ahead of its time. I thought it was creative. JC

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