Friday, September 17, 2010

Is McGarrett really the good guy?

by carol

Does Steve McGarrett have a moral compass? Sure he does, but I think it’s going to do some spinning based on what I’ve seen in the Hawaii Five-0 pilot episode.

Alex O’Loughlin:  "Steve McGarrett’s…a military guy. There are a lot of things that, to him, are black and white, that he's very clear about.
“I found a lot of layers to this guy. The more flaws you bring to a character, the more balance you give your character's flaws, the closer that character moves to Everyman. And if that character is Everyman, then we relate to them in a way we can't relate to a superhero.''
McGarrett’s the guy in the white hat, the upholder of all that is good and just.  And the bad guys are easily identified by their black hats and black hearts.

Or maybe not…
There is a scene in the pilot where McGarrett is negotiating to get information from a captured criminal scumbag, Sang Min. First Sang gets slapped around by the good guys. Sang is evil so it’s understandable and forgivable.

But what happens next is troubling.  McGarrett takes off his white hat and uses Sang’s family to coerce him into providing information.  McGarrett is willing to let an innocent woman and child be delivered into a perilous life-and-death situation.  He did not directly threaten the wife and child.  However, he clearly stated he would allow them to be put in harm’s way if Sang did not cooperate. 

Moral query: because he fights evil, is McGarrett absolved from doing good?  Can a righteous man choose NOT to do what is good?  Is it possible to justify inaction, or is it a sin of omission to not do the right thing?  Is being an anti-hero as good as being a hero?

Alex and the writers are creating Steve McGarrett as an Everyman.  And I think that is the story that will make Hawaii Five-0 interesting, and perhaps great.


  1. I agree. I think the character development for Steve is great and I love that he's not perfect. He's human and easier to relate to than a 'Mr. Perfect' kind of cop. :0)

  2. I believe that some behaviors by the lead characters during the season were definitely in the gray area between right and wrong.

    Chin's uncle, a cop, stole money to use for a black market purchase. Chin knew and hid it, then lied about it. When Kono found out, she also kept quiet and then helped steal more money. Danny blackmails a crooked politician and lets his criminal brother escape.

    All done to accomplish a good deed. But, "do the ends justify the means?"

  3. I think the question is, are they deliberately harming somebody for their own good or are they just threatening to do it to extract info. They themselves have most of the times acknowledged their 'wrong' action and have also been punished for some of them. (A totally bad character will not see his/her actions as wrong and will deliberately do them for their own gain!)