BEFORE he gained a loyal fan base as Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the 1968 TV series, Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin sparked curiosity as Jennifer Lopez’s love interest in the rom-com, The Back-Up Plan.
I’m not sure if it was his smouldering good looks, that chiselled six-pack or the enchanting smile that endeared him, or if it was simply his acting ability. Either way, viewers haven’t been able to get enough of the lanky Adonis.
Four seasons later, he remains a tour de force in the modern re-imagining of Hawaii Five-O.
Tonight’s episode is a minefield of explosive drama – a lot of it centred on his mother, Doris.
O’Loughlin says: “When you look at the reality of the situation, I mean, anybody in the real world whose mother faked her own death and disappeared for 20 years, reappeared, and then did it again… like disappeared again and sort of cut all contact… it would ruin someone. It would absolutely, emotionally ruin someone. And the aftermath of that would be something very tangible and something we – I certainly hope – explore for my character. I think it could lead into some interesting PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).”
After chasing Wo Fat for ages, new information comes to light that has Steve reeling in shock.
The actor says: “I think the death of his father started a great fury in him. I think those successions of deaths that happened with his best friend in North Korea and then his dad as he was coming back, you know, it started something in him he can’t sort of put out. And there has always been one thing after another that fuelled his passion since the very beginning in the pilot.”
O’Loughlin hints that his character’s past demons do surface every so often, especially with him being thrust into a volatile climate daily.
One of the curve balls Steve didn’t expect was Kono choosing Adam over her job last season.
As for his character’s thoughts on their relationship, he says: “For Steve, it’s been a real concern, but it’s also been a hindrance. He is such a pragmatist. It’s like Kono is married to the mob. He doesn’t like Adam Noshimuri. If Adam got shot tomorrow, he would be like: ‘Okay, good riddance to bad rubbish.’”
One of the welcome additions to the cast was Michelle Borth as Lieutenant Catherine Rollins.
Sexy, intelligent and no push-over, she was the perfect match for Steve. And viewers revelled in their blossoming screen romance.
On working with Borth, he praises: “Michelle is a great girl and a great actor. She’s very switched on and does all her homework. We are both very prepared, which is great and crucial in TV because it means you can actually get into the work.
“You have such a tiny bracket of time to play with a scene before you actually shoot it. She is always prepared, so we get to take the scene further and give it more shades of colour.”
Interestingly enough, the dynamics in their relationship change with Catherine working with the team now. The tension is definitely going to give rise to a few heated stand-offs between the two.
Peter Lenkov, the show’s executive producer, says: “We always make an effort in the beginning of the season to really come out of the gate, beat our chests and sort of announce that we are back to do something with a lot of stakes and a lot of energy and action. Then we slow ourselves down and start telling more personal stories, more character stories.
“Probably one of the biggest things we dealt with in the season three finale was Kono leaving. That’s going to really affect the beginning of season four.
A big drawcard as far as guests go this season is Carol Burnett: “We are really excited about Carol Burnett. She plays Aunt Deb, the aunt Mary went to live with when their mother supposedly died. And she has a great role. She sings and does everything you expect from Carol Burnett. But the thing she does that’s so good is the dramatic stuff.”
Staying true to its high-octane roots, the fourth instalment of Hawaii Five-0 is laden with character-driven storytelling interwoven with traditional whodunit crime-solving.
The crimes are varied, mindboggling and engaging – feeding into the team spirit of the specialist unit.
Hawaii Five-0 airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) tonight at 8.30pm.