“Hawaii Five-O” has heaped on some heavy hitters in the acting world to make Season 5 even more memorable, and tonight, another lovely, familiar face of television, and particularly television crime-fighting, appeared in the February 20 16th episode, “Nanahu” (Embers). Melina Kanakaredes, star of “Providence” and “CSI: New York,” and earlier stints on “NYPD Blue,” comes to the island as Special Agent Kathy Millwood. Unlike her former character, Stella Bonasera, who fought criminals through the streets of the Big Apple, she now plays a character sifting through the ashes to settle a very personal score with an arsonist, played by UFC champion, Randy Couture, to evil perfection.
When a young couple is burned beyond all recognition, bolted into their room by the most sinister use of board and locks ever, the team is called into the case to assist, since this crime goes far beyond the typical fire fetish. Danny (Scott Caan) finally catches up with Amber (Lili Simmons) for lunch, and let her know that he has scheduled a weekend getaway with “clothing optional” for a much-needed rekindling of their relationship. Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) and the boss, Captain Grover (Chi McBride) are brushing up on the course for the HPD charity golf classic coming up, and Lou laps up the fun, teasing McGarrett for how he plays “military golf,” meaning “left, right, left.” Suddenly, women’s PGA Champion, Michelle Wie, just happens to be passing by on her cart, and stops to offer a few tips, leaving Lou lost to remember his own name! The petite and powerful swinger coaches the Lt. Commander on his technique, and proclaims he is “a natural” following a successful drive.
The jokes about little white balls are left aside once the team arrives on scene, where Agent Millwood is already hard at work, putting together the profile of a serial arsonist she has been tailing for years, all the way from California. She doesn’t mess around getting to her point, already describing how he designs his crime scenes to allow him to watch his victims’ burn to death, just for kicks. The setting switches to Kamekona (Taylor Wily) during lunch rush, as he wants to serve a lurking guest who’s not ordering anything. When the loitering lunch man shows the shrimp king a photo, bells ring, and Kamekono makes a call to have his license plate run through the system. The photo was Danny’s love, Amber. Five days and three fires mark the familiar pattern of using liquid petroleum, and a pattern of pouring that allows him access, his personal “signature” as a torch. Millwood doesn’t have a name, but she knows the M.O. of her subject, being able to function normally, personal enough to win over trust, enter homes, and plot his burns. She is obsessed, remarking that “being right didn’t save those people,” and Steve knows there is more to her story. Even amidst the beautiful locale and affection of his loved one, Danny can’t sleep, having nightmares of Marco Reyes and the murder of his brother, Matt. Information comes back that the lunchtime stranger is Frank Simpson (David Hoflin), who happens to be husband of Melissa Simpson, who happens to be Amber Vitale, Danny’s girlfriend. Whatever the circumstance, the team know she is in danger, but no one can reach the couple while on their romantic retreat. Out looking for the fire-starter, the team sees who they think is their perpetrator, but he is only a paid stand-in, dressed in the subjects hat and coat, and carrying a package, intended only for Millwood, with photos of her own home after a blaze.
She tells McGarrett how she became obsessed with finding the arsonist, so much so that it came between her and her husband, Kevin. When her own home was targeted, her husband died, leaving her guilt ridden. Steve insists that she doesn’t have rights to be on this case, considering her perspective, but she pleads to stay on the case, saying it is all that “gives me purpose.” Simpson serves up a knockout to Danny for breakfast, and then holds Amber by the throat and by knife, with perverted demands for her to proclaim love to him. The team identifies the arsonist as Jason Duclair, posing as an exterminator. His abode is “the arson museum,” as the Captain aptly describes, and Steve finds the lead on his computer to his next conquest, the Lava Gardens Hotel. Kathy Millwood sees the torch dressed as a firefighter, and he takes her captive. The team finds her blood, but it takes time to pinpoint the room. She is attempting psychology before she goes up in smoke, all while Jason says that he’s “right where I want to be” so they can “finish what we started.” Danny battles Simpson over Amber, this time knocking the ex-husband out, but not before suffering a knife wound.
The scene is utterly terrifying, as Duclair douses Millwood with liquid petroleum, then lights his lighter. McGarrett kicks through the glass for capture, literally a flicker before she loses her life. Kathy reminds the arsonist that he will get what he wants, “to burn in hell.” Steve gets a call from Amber about Danny and his condition. Steve comforts her as news comes that Danny will make it, but with a long recovery. Amber tells him the whole story of young marriage, running for her life, and creating a new identity. He assures her that old baggage will never be a deal-breaker, and she makes new introduction to him as Melissa Armstrong, and they seal their new beginning with a kiss. When Duclair is escorted to his cell, he sarcastically asks for a smoke from the guard. When the guard later tries to light up, he realizes his matches are missing, and who has them.
Michelle Wie caddies for Steve at the golf event, as Lou teases that he has a handicap in more ways than one. Playing phone golf, Captain Grover putts through, so to speak. With his caddy’s coaching on visualization, McGarrett makes his clutch putt for the championship. ‘
Look out for a fun one next week, when Jon Lovitz and Cloris Leachman turn up very much alive on the island.