I certainly don’t think of Hawaii Five-0 as a spy show, so I was surprised to discover that the 1968 pilot movie which spawned the series owes much more to the Sixties spy genre than the age-old cop formula.* I guess it should seem natural. CBS had, after all, a location far more exotic than the average police drama (most of which were set in Los Angeles) and a star best known for playing 007's American counterpart, Felix Leiter, in the debut James Bond movie. (It really is a shame the producers opted not to bring Jack Lord back for Goldfinger... He was a much better Felix than Cec Linder!) So why not tell a spy story?
Cocoon follows the exploits of Steve McGarrett (Lord), the maverick leader of Hawaii’s elite State Police unit, Five-0. Although his team is mostly in place (the glaring exception being James MacArthur as Danno), this TV movie rests squarely on the shoulders of Lord. Luckily, he’s a natural leading man, fully capable of carrying such a movie–or series. If by-the-book Joe Friday was still the model policeman on TV at the time, then McGarret seems to owe more to James Bond, Harry Palmer and the other, more loose cannon, lone wolf spy heroes of the era. The first bad guy we see him encounter, he shoots dead rather than arresting, and he refuses to allow himself to be outranked by the American Intelligence station chief (a still-dark-haired Leslie Nielsen).
*Actually, my surprise had somewhat abated by the time I sat down and watched the DVD, as Brian Flagg had already given the heads-up on the Avengers forum.