In the Age of Obama the government calls the Fort Hood massacre “work place violence” and blames a YouTube video for the death of four Americans in Benghazi by terrorists. Hollywood too often takes its cues from the government, avoiding stories that revolve around Islamic terrorist cells plotting to attack targets in the United States.
Monday night’s episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” entitled “I Ka Wa Mamua” (“In a Time Past”), proved a rare exception. In addition, it also had a subplot tied to the 9/11 attacks on New York City.
(Story spoilers ahead)
The episode began with the Five-O investigation of an explosion at a secluded residence that killed one person. Due to his SEAL Team experience, Commander Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) quickly realizes that a high velocity peroxide-based explosive called Triacetone Triperoxide or TATP, an easily made and highly unstable explosive used in the making of IEDs, caused the explosion.
Max the medical examiner (Masi Oka) gets a hit on the DNA from the dead bomb maker and identifies him as Qaseem Ramzi, a student expelled from Saudi Arabia for his radical activities. After getting information that leads the team to another home, McGarrett and Detective Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan) encounter and kill the second member of the terrorist cell, Ayham Al Safi. They also discover plans to attack an airport, a power plant and a school, as well as a stash of C-4 and flexible rubberized explosives.
Further intelligence reveals the name of the cell’s leader, Hassam Farouk, a Pakistani electrical engineer who is still at large and likely the bomb designer. They also discover that Al Safi rented a Town Car which they track using its anti-theft GPS to Fort Shafter- the U.S. Army’s Pacific Headquarters – and specifically to the officer’s quarters at Palm Circle, where a retirement ceremony is underway for a 3-star general, that is being attended by the Secretary of Defense.
The Five-O team is able to warn the dignitaries and prevent the attack on Fort Shafter by locating the Town Car packed with explosives before it can be detonated, but Farouk is still on the loose.
By accessing the Town Car’s GPS log they discover where Farouk drove from and head there to find him. While staking out the location and waiting for Farouk, Danny begins telling McGarrett about an incident that happened back in New Jersey when he was a cop there in 2001. Farouk arrives, interrupting Danny’s story, and a foot chase ensues. Farouk fires on Danny and is subsequently shot dead. When Danny approaches the dead terrorist he activates a motion sensor on a bomb vest Farouk is wearing, requiring him to stay absolutely still while the bomb squad tries to disarm it. McGarrett asks Danny to finish telling his story to take his mind off the bomb.
We learn that Danny and his partner Grace pursued a lead that led them to a meat packing plant in New York City where they found themselves taken prisoner by brutal drug dealers. Danny is severely pistol whipped and beaten, while Grace is shot (which is why Danny’s daughter is named after her). Eventually Danny gets free, shoots the drug dealers and tries to flag down NYPD and FDNY units that are racing past the location but don’t stop. Danny looks up to see a tremendous plume of smoke from downtown Manhattan.
We return to the present, as McGarrett says, “That was 9-11, wasn’t it?” It’s at this point that the bomb disposal unit succeeds in disarming the bomb vest and Danny is able to move.
This episode was “ripped from the headlines” and the writers and producers of the show actually had the guts to recognize and accurately portray that radical Islamists are our enemies and that they are still here trying to plot to kill us where we live and work, just as they did on Sept. 11th, 2001.
The threat has not receded. There are brave men and women in the law enforcement and intelligence communities working everyday to thwart these attacks and try to keep us safe. As Detective Williams says in the episode, as he’s lamenting that his young daughter will “never know a time when she’s not groped by a TSA agent” so she can get on an airplane: “Because of one day” his daughter and all children will always live under the threat of another attack.
Once has to wonder why more programs do not have the courage to portray the truth, that radical Muslim terrorists want to kill us, instead of being more concerned about offending the sensibilities of peaceful Muslims?