- - Sunday, November 9, 2014

It’s true! Carol Burnett will marry ‘60s crooner Frankie Valli on Nov. 21.

OK, not really. But their “Hawaii Five-0” guest characters — Aunt Deb and her new fiancee, Leonard Campbell — will tie the knot in Oahu before Aunt Deb’s Navy SEAL-turned-supercop nephew Steve McGarrett [Alex O’Loughlin], his band of crime fighters and their pals.

After last Friday’s superintense episode — the 100th for the five-year-old series — the comic-yet-poignant turn with ditzy Aunt Deb will give more glimpses into the backstory of Cmdr. McGarrett.

“Going back to the original show, the thing that bugged me is that [star] Jack Lord gave directives to everybody. He had nobody to confide in or bounce things off,” said executive producer Peter Lenkov.

In the updated series, Mr. Lenkov said he wanted McGarrett’s main cohort, Detective Danny “Danno” Williams (played by Scott Caan), “to be more of a partner. I really wanted to have two guys that see law enforcement from two different perspectives. Both guys do the same job but do it very differently.”

“Hawaii Five-0” fans of a certain age feel a surge of nostalgia when they hear the show’s opening theme song — the same as that used in the original series, which aired from 1968 to 1980. The opening video montage also features many clips used in the original show’s opener, including a hula dancer’s undulating hips.

Yet for all its emblematic nods to the past, the newfangled “Hawaii Five-0” is no imitator. Anyone who caught the 100th episode, which at long last spelled out the relationship between Steve McGarrett and his longtime nemesis, Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), knows that. There are plenty more mysteries that will be solved this season, Mr. Lenkov said.

Even when the team is engaged in life-and-death struggles, the plots take amusing twists that often lead to wise guy, good-natured humor. Some liken the verbal sallies between Cmdr. McGarrett and “Danno” (another nod to the original series) as reminiscent of the banter on sitcoms like “Will and Grace” and “The Odd Couple.”

Ms. Burnett, a fan of the original show, said such interactions boost her love of this show, now in its fifth season and a ratings stalwart for CBS.

“I think it is a really well-written show. I fell in love with Alex and Scott right away. They are two straight guys, but they bicker like an old married couple,” she said. “I just love that.”

Speaking from her Los Angeles home just after returning from Oahu, where she filmed the episode with the Four Seasons’ Mr. Valli, Ms. Burnett said the cast and crew mirror the familial closeness of their characters even when filming gets somewhat uncomfortable.

“When you see the episode, it looks beautiful,” Ms. Burnett said of the wedding scene. “There was no trade wind, though, and it was over 100 degrees. We were outside in the sun for over six hours, and all the men were in black tuxedos. But everyone was great. They are such a tight-knit group and make you feel at home. There are no rotten apples in that group.”

There are plenty of bad apple criminals though — from organized crime lords to spies to street thugs — that keep the Five-0 team busy. Although Mr. Lenkov has said this season is about “closure,” he promised that McGarrett and his team will soon face more bad guys.

“The one thing I tell [the writers] is that I want to hear a story I’ve never heard before,” he said. “That’s hard, especially with so many procedurals out there.”

What drives Mr. Lenkov’s passion is his youthful memory of “Magnum, P.I.,” another CBS series filmed in Oahu from 1980 to 1988.

“When I was a kid, what got me really inspired to write was an episode of ‘Magnum, P.I.’ called ‘Did You See the Sun Rise?’” he said, referring to an episode in which Magnum, played by Tom Selleck, confronts the Russian colonel who mercilessly tortured him in a North Vietnamese POW camp.

“The [colonel] said, ‘You’re not going to kill me, Magnum. You are a good guy.’ Magnum asked him if he’d ever seen the sunrise, and when he turns to look, Magnum fires. That scene was so powerful, it stuck with me. I hope that someone somewhere will be as moved by one of our scenes.”


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