Hawaii Five-O, a Lasting Favorite

Jack Lord as Detective Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O

While the origin of the police procedural can be traced back more than a century, only a few have remained steadfast in their popularity. Hawaii Five-O, with its iconic theme song, beautiful setting, and Detective Steve McGarrett’s signature line, “Book ‘em, Danno!” (not to mention, his perfectly coiffed hair) aired for 12 seasons (1968-1980).
The show’s main character, Detective Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord), led a fictional group of state police officers who reported directly to the governor, thwarting spies and breaking up crime syndicates around the islands. Before his prominent role in the show as Detective Chin Ho Kelly, actor Kam Fong Chun had been an officer with the Honolulu (HI) Police Department for 16 years. According to the HPD, “During his 10 years on the show, Mr. Chun always strove to promote a positive image of Hawaii law enforcement and was a role model for many local youths.”
Reruns of the original Hawaii Five-O still pop up from time to time, and a modern reboot has been on air since 2010 (called Hawaii Five-0, the letter O was changed to the number 0). With one of Jack Lord’s jackets and a press kit from the original show in the National Law Enforcement Museum’s collection, the legacy of this show will remain persevered for history.

Jacket worn by Jack Lord in Hawaii Five-O. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, 2008.72.2