"How To Steal A Submarine"


by epaddon Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:41 pm

Watched this the other night and to me its very weak in that in order to give us nifty usage of the Coast Guard and underwater footage they give us a plotline that is weak. The submarine stealing part only comes in the final portion of the episode, and its done in a way where you know the villains aren't going to succeed (if the bulk of the episode had been about stealing it to recover the drugs that would have been better. Instead it takes forever to get to the ostensible subject of the episode title).

And also, if you're going to get the best of the "Columbo" killers in Jack Cassidy, you can not waste him in the episode by not giving him a scene with McGarrett sneering at him about how he'll never figure it out and underestimating his ability. Cassidy's "Columbo" episodes are memorable, but his "Five-O" comes off as a yawner in which the script was being driven by showing off the Coast Guard cooperation and some underwater scenes.


by ringfire211 Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:49 pm

I agree that the episode title is misleading. The plot is about recovering drugs, not stealing a sub. Looks like they just borrowed the season 7 title "How to Steal a Masterpiece", except there it actually made sense because the plot was about the theft of a masterpiece. Not so here.

But I don't think that's the main problem with the episode. Overall it's just fairly average and nothing too special. Even the sub action at the end and the Coast Guard involvement doesn't really do much for me. I suppose it was somewhat interesting that the main antagonist was a high school principal (or was it counselor/teacher?) but that's about it. I'm not sure what you mean when you say we know the bad guys won't succeed. That's not really a criticism of this episode because in every episode we know the bad guys won't succeed. That's a given.

I know when you think of Jack Cassidy you typically think of his COLUMBO villains. But FIVE-O is a different type of show, so the type of sparring of the wits between Cassidy and McGarrett that you may have expected wouldn't necessarily work. COLUMBO was structured to basically be a 2-person play of sorts - the hero vs villain. Everyone else was pretty much extraneous. You watched Columbo as he followed and badgered the killer for the duration of the episode until the latter was trapped. The end. With FIVE-O it's different. There's leg work, lab work, other suspects, some chases, some gunfire, some false leads, etc. The verbal sparring between McGarrett and the baddie is minimal (with perhaps a few exceptions). It's a more ensemble type of show unlike COLUMBO where it's just about 2 people.

I do agree with you that Cassidy made for a great COLUMBO baddie. Of his 3 episodes my favorite by far is his last, "Now You See Him..." where he plays a killer magician. In fact I'd place it in my top 3 of the series best, alongside "How to Dial a Murder" (with those killer Dobermans!!) and "A Friend in Deed" (with Richard Kiley as the killer police commissioner).


by epaddon Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:02 pm

I think what I meant about the bad guys not succeeding is that I was expecting some elaborate way of grabbing the sub and all we get is knock out the guy guarding it and stealing it but not even kill him which means he's there to ID them. It was just unimaginative. It would have been more believable if there'd been a legit way to hire the sub.

I agree Five-O is a different type of show but sometimes we do get that kind of similar cat-and-mouse between McGarrett and the villain that we also saw in Columbo. I think the best example of a Five-O where Cassidy's Columbo villainy could have transferred over would have been "Last Of The Great Paperhangers". Cassidy I think would have been better than Kevin McCarthy in that part (that episode was made before Cassidy's death in December 76).


by ringfire211 Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:27 pm

Yes I agree that the sub theft wasn't very imaginative but then again this wasn't a heist episode (despite the misleading title). It wasn't about the theft of the sub, it was about retrieving the drugs. The baddies were kinda desperate in that regard.

I think the best example of a Five-O where Cassidy's Columbo villainy could have transferred over would have been "Last Of The Great Paperhangers". Cassidy I think would have been better than Kevin McCarthy in that part

Yes I agree that Cassidy could have fit that part very well. Though I'm not as quick to suggest that he would have been better than McCarthy, who was pretty darn outstanding!