We open with a flashback to November 21, 1963, and I’m not proud to say that I immediately knew where we were going: in the two days preceding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, there was a top secret meeting of high ranking Administration officials in Hawaii. This meeting is something of a deep cut for those of us who like our JFK conspiracy theories: it wasn’t the Cubans, it wasn’t the CIA, it wasn’t the Mafia, it wasn’t (to quote the Rolling Stones) you and me; it was Kennedy’s own staff who were behind his murder, and arranged to be well away from the scene of the crime when it happened. (I should say that, although I’m prepared to read just about anything on the JFK assassination, and alleged conspiracies pertaining thereto, it was – spoiler alert – Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone who actually did it.)
So I was clapping my hands with excitement at this point, while simultaneously hoping that the writers wouldn’t screw it up, and they didn’t. Jerry has arranged to meet Susie, a fellow conspiracy theorist, who is on Oahu to investigate the November meeting. Just as she’s telling Jerry that she’s very close to a breakthrough, she herself is shot and killed. Much as Steve would like to ignore the reason that Susie was there, it’s the most obvious clue: who would want to silence her, and why? This is compounded when some fairly uncompromising FBI agents turn up, seize everything connected to the case, and warn the Five-0 off.
That, of course, is just the sort of thing to get Steve interested, which essentially means that they have to follow Susie’s leads and re-investigate, for themselves, the Hawaii meeting, with the few surviving witnesses. I didn’t get the impression that the budget was unlimited, exactly, but there were some nice period touches – the mini tape-recorder, the hula girl – and the story was well-told. Hawaii Five-0 has a solid record of exploring the history of the state, and this is another episode which did its subject justice. I thought it was really good.
The episode was broadcast in America shortly before the anniversary of Kennedy’s death, and concluded with footage of a speech he gave at Honolulu Airport earlier in 1963 about civil rights: “This island represents all that we are, and all that we hope to be”. Shown in the UK after the presidential election, it inevitably provokes nostalgia for a time – 1963, last year, take your pick – when the President of the United States of America looked and sounded presidential, was expected to be one of the smartest people in the room, and didn’t get hysterical praise simply for reading a speech from an autocue with a minimal degree of competence.