M STATION HAWAII
As the show opens, a Russian submarine sinks off Oahu because of a “catastrophic accident of undetermined origin.” The US Navy investigates with helicopters and ships. They find 6 dead sailors, along with some debris.
In Washington, D.C., Admiral Henderson (Jack Lord) talks to the Oahu-based Admiral Lincoln (Lyle Bettger). Henderson figures the sub sank because a nuclear reactor malfunctioned. He wants to recover the sub (in actuality, to get anything computer-related), but efforts to get the Russians involved with this plan have so far been met with silence.
In Hawaii, Andrew McClelland, 63, is the boss of M Station Hawaii (the “M” stands for “Makai”). A professor of oceanography, and a submarine captain in World War II, he was later a consultant to the Navy on deep water submarine submergence and survival. He is also an expert skin diver.
McClelland is visited by Margaret (“Maggie”) Michaels (Dana Wynter), an old acquaintance from his Washington days. She wants M Station’s team to search for the sunken submarine, for which they will be paid universal salvage rights (1% of the value of the submarine, which has an estimated worth of $100 million).
Russians living on Oahu are already aware that Maggie is involved with the recovery of the submarine and are following her. Late one night, two Russian agents break into the M Station building and snoop around. They are caught in the act by M Station’s director Dana Ryan (Jared Martin) and employee Truck Kealoha (Moe Keale), but the two Russians manage to escape.
Ryan, 36, has a doctorate in ocean engineering and was in the US Army in Vietnam. An expert diver, he has a reputation as a “ladies’ man.” One of these ladies is Luana Sorel (Elissa Dulce), 22, a graduate student who was in Ryan’s class at university. She is an expert surfer and helps out McClelland with the dispatch center at the station.
Truck Kealoha, 30, is the only character from Hawaii Five-O in this show. He served four years with HPD, and then returned to university where he earned a Masters in Business Administration as well as a degree in engineering. Also on the team is Karen Lee Holt (Jo Ann Harris), 27, whose husband Scott, a Navy lieutenant, was listed as missing in Vietnam in 1972.
Some of McClelland’s team find the proposal to salvage the submarine highly objectionable, figuring that they are just doing work for the CIA and this will be more trouble than it’s worth. They vote against the plan, but later change their minds after the break-in by the Russian agents.
Once they are committed to helping search for the sub, Navy Captain Ben Galloway (Andrew Prine) takes charge of the team, running them through a series of simulation exercises.
Vasily Litvak (Ted Hamilton), head of the local Russian agents, meets with his superior Restov (Frankie Stevens). They are worried about information on the submarine falling into the Americans’ hands. The submarine is located very close to international waters, and the plan is that another Russian submarine will attempt to get close to it and destroy it. But in order to do this, the submarine has to be located first.
After several attempts, the team from M Station finally manages to find the sub, but to get into it, they have to bypass a hatch which has a coded lock. To crack the code, Maggie enlists the help of a civilian cipher expert living on Oahu, Billy Jim Whitney (Tom McFadden), a "good ol' boy" type.
Litvak purposefully runs into Holt at a disco and later sends her flowers. He suggests to her that he knows some information about her missing husband, but in exchange for this information, he wants her help in locating the submarine.
Whiting manages to crack the code, but on his way to M Station, he is kidnapped by Litvak’s agents. The agents murder someone else and send a car over a cliff containing this person’s body to make the people at M Station think that Whiting is dead. However, McClelland, with the help of Truck, sneaks into the coroner’s office and determines that Whiting is still alive, based on a comparison of dental records.
Holt is torn between wanting information about her husband and co-operating with the Russians, She finally tells Ryan about the offer the Russians made to her, but before action can be taken, the Russians force her to come with them on their yacht which is going to observe M Station’s salvage ship.
Once they are in the area where the submarine is located, Ryan and Truck swim from the M Station ship to the yacht and overpower Litvak’s guards. They tie up Livtak, free Holt and also Whiting, who is a captive on the yacht as well. Now freed to do their work, Truck, Ryan, Holt and Whiting swim down to the Russian sub, open the hatch, and get the top-secret information. Litvak is expected to be tried for espionage and murder, among other things.
M Station is not bad up to a point. However, things go downhill rapidly in the last half hour. An extra half hour to expand on some plot points might have helped a lot.
For example, McClelland and members of his team get into the coroner’s office with the help of Truck, whose cousin works there. McClelland compares Whitney’s dental records with that of the burned corpse. Does he have the forensic knowledge to be able to do this? Or does this mean that he actually takes X-rays himself of the corpse’s dental work in the morgue?
When Truck and Ryan swim from the M Station ship to the Russian yacht, do they do this entirely underwater? Considering there are at least two guards on the yacht, isn’t it reasonable to assume that these two guys swimming would be seen? But they aren’t!
I totally don’t understand the sequence where the M Station team is finally inside the submarine near the end of the show. The sub is full of water, but somehow the water gets pumped out (isn’t the sub totally dysfunctional?). After this is done, no one can communicate by actually talking to each other. You would expect that they would just remove their skin diving mouthpieces and start talking. Or are they observing “radio silence” because of the possibility of attracting the other Russian sub in the area?
Everything gets wrapped up far too quickly at the end.
The acting is generally good, though I find Prine’s whiny manner of speaking annoying. You would expect that a character in a position like he has would be much more forceful. The fact that Truck (from the last season of Five-O) is brought forward as a character is an interesting touch. For much of the show, I kept expecting McGarrett to suddenly appear out of nowhere and help solve the case.
The footage of Whitney’s car flying over a cliff and bursting into flames is taken from Five-O episode #200, Double Exposure.
M STATION DAILIES
Click here to see some dailies and outtakes from the production of this show.
Some pictures from the show featuring Elissa Dulce can be seen here.