Stu Longworth (Henry Darrow) and his wife Em (Jo Pruden) are at home waiting for their children to return before leaving for a party. Longworth receives a phone call from a man claiming to have his kids Jason (Michael Snedecker) and Hilary (Elaine Ballace). Following the man's instructions, Longworth boards a bus driven by Joe Moala (Moe Keale) with a package he leaves under a seat and gets off at the next stop. A woman named Kia Chieu (Josie Over) moves to Longworth's vacated seat, takes the package and gets off at the next stop after that. She then calls the Longworth house to acknowledge receipt of the money. An HPD unit arrives at the place where the family van containing the two kids was left. Opening the back, they find Jason and Hilary.
McGarrett briefs the governor on the latest news concerning the Longworth case. The governor drops a bombshell on McGarrett telling him about the reporter Terri O'Brien (Jean Simmons). McGarrett had a request from her for a cover story on him but he refused. However, the governor overrode him due to the publisher appealing to the governor personally. The governor sees it as "free national publicity for the islands and Five-O ... there's a lot more to be gained here than lost." McGarrett isn't pleased at the request because this is not his forte and makes it known. The governor pulls rank anyway and McGarrett reluctantly agrees.
Kia goes to a cabin where she meets her cohort Jackson (James Benton). They discuss making the headlines and she says, "they haven't said anything about Moala yet" but Jackson isn't concerned.
McGarrett returns to Five-O, telling Lani (Connie Kissinger) he's expecting a reporter and wrongly assuming O'Brien is a man. Terri has been chatting with Danno while waiting for McGarrett. McGarrett is still not thrilled with her presence but decides to make the best of it. "Miss O'Brien is here at the invitation of the governor. She wants to see how Five-0 functions." She corrects McGarrett in that she's specifically there to interview him. McGarrett lays down the law: Terri cannot share anything concerning Five-O's cases. Danno and Duke brief on the latest bit about the kidnapping: ransom of $50,000 was paid, kids were found unhurt and the father considers the case done. The ransom amount is fishy to McGarrett since Longworth makes "big money." HPD calls, telling Danno Moala the bus driver where the ransom was left is an ex-con and they're working on a search warrant. McGarrett orders Duke to follow up with the lab and Danno to be with HPD to execute the search warrant. He leaves to go talk to the Longworths with Terri scrambling to keep up.
On the way to the Longworths, Terri begins asking questions. She quotes Ben Franklin with McGarrett telling her, "I don't think [he] had either of us in mind when he wrote that." She calls McGarrett an interesting mix of "of tough cop and a compassionate concerned citizen" based on her research thus far. She also informs McGarrett he has backing should he decide to make a run for governor. She brings up some private matters to which McGarrett raises his hackles telling her his private life is "off-limits." Terri tells him she will dig up whatever she needs to in order to complete her story.
At Moala's place, Danno helps in the search while Moala protests the entire time. Moving into the bedroom, Danno finds a key in a dresser. Moala doesn't know where it came from, calling his wife Lila (Emma Veary Lewis) in, hoping she knows. Lila has "never seen it before." Danno and HPD track down the locker and upon opening it, they find a paper sack with the ransom money in it.
McGarrett talks to the Longworths, wanting to pick up anything new or relevant. McGarrett and Longworth argue as Longworth claims to not remember anything else. He is concerned with protecting his family and tells McGarrett he plans on moving them elsewhere. McGarrett is concerned with the bigger picture: other families will fall victim to people like the kidnappers because they've gotten away with their crimes. Outside, Terri jumps McGarrett considering his treatment of Longworth almost dishonorable. It was "anything but gentle" as she considers them, rightly so, victims of a crime. McGarrett points out he "was evasive" and some answers require digging.
While "immovable object meets irresistible force" is making both Terri and McGarrett crazy; at least Danno finds it entertaining. They enter McGarrett's office and he is talking to the Moalas plus the fact the ransom money was found in a locker at the bus depot. Asking where he was Sunday night, there's conflicting answers at first but is soon straightened out. McGarrett still isn't buying Moala's story because the key was found in his apartment and the ransom left on his bus. Moala maintains his innocence, sometimes yelling. Once HPD takes Moala away, McGarrett and Danno bounce ideas off each other after Terri proposes Moala has been framed. This idea makes no sense to them unless there was something larger at stake. Danno puts forth the idea to have the Longworths listen to the Moalas' voices. McGarrett wants Chin and Duke to handle that while he sends Danno to ESSTR Corporation to discover what exactly Longworth does to earn the money he does.
Longworth dictates a letter of resignation for Mr. Burroughs (Albert M. Harris) to his secretary (Leann Hunley). In Longworth's outer office is Chieu, the woman from the bus! Meanwhile, Danno arrives to talk to Burroughs though the information is limited, which is fine because Danno only wants to know about Longworth. Apparently Longworth designs breeder reactors that have an overseas market. Burroughs can't answer about that because "competition in this business is appalling" and tells Danno their security is "foolproof." Danno's heard it before.
Duke talks to the Moalas in one room; while Chin sits with the Longworths, minus the father, in another room. The kids say the woman isn't the same and give a description of where they were taken: quiet, birds singing but no ocean noises. Terri is in the room with the Longworths and asks if it's possible to talk to Mr. Longworth. Terri and Mrs. Longworth leave to make a phone call to set up a meeting at his office. Meanwhile, the Moalas are being moved and Joe collapses, appearing to suffer a heart attack.
Danno briefs McGarrett about what's really going on: microfilm is involved and Longworth had access to the company library containing it for the last three years. Terri storms in belittling McGarrett for his treatment of Moala: "a man pushed beyond endurance." She tries to snap a picture of McGarrett but is blocked by Danno and she leaves as quickly as she came in. However, things aren't what they seem. McGarrett gets a call telling him Moala's heart attack was faked and he's escaped. McGarrett orders an APB: "mark him armed and dangerous, but I want him alive."
Terri goes to ESSTR to see Longworth and while in the outer office, she immediately notices the large glasses on Chieu, who says her glasses "saves having two pairs." Before any more conversation, Longworth is ready to talk to her. Terri drives home she's not liking how McGarrett is handling the case but Longworth doesn't want to discuss the kidnapping at all. "How did the kidnappers know where Hilary and Jason were going that Sunday?" Longworth says the kids went to the same beach every Sunday; it wouldn't be hard to track down. Terri is even combative with Longworth because she believes Moala is being framed and no one will consider it.
That night, Moala hides in a boat owned by a friend. Terri and McGarrett have a dinner interview so she can finish her article. The main topic is women, or lack thereof, being on the Five-O team. McGarrett points out women have often been used in dangerous assignments and succeeded. Ultimately though, "bringing someone new in, male or female, untrained in our method of operation could seriously reduce our effectiveness." McGarrett calls an end to the dinner, knowing Terri would rather debate the current case.
The next morning, Moala's friend Sailor (Rod Aiu) arrives at the boat. Finding Moala, Sailor talks him into staying below deck and leaves to get some supplies because they don't have anything before they sail. On his way back, Sailor stops to call HPD but hangs up. Duke's on his tail and stops him before he returns to the boat.
Terri snaps several photographs of McGarrett in his office. Danno rushes in with Duke's report about Sailor and where Moala is hiding out. Knowing he walked into a tense situation, Danno remarks, "you two should issue hourly weather reports." They leave for the South Coast Marina.
A Coast Guard cutter races into the marina as authorities close in on Moala. McGarrett calls out on the bullhorn. Moala runs outside with a gun in his hand, screaming at Sailor for crossing him. Shooting in the air, everyone ducks behind the cars away from the boat. McGarrett tries talking Moala out but Moala sets the stage for "suicide" by confessing to the kidnapping. "I did it, I'm guilty. Me, Joe Moala. My wife had nothing to do with it. I snatched them kids solo." McGarrett approaches Moala unarmed after handing his piece to Danno. Terri sneaks past HPD and runs to Danno's position. He pulls her back while she keeps clicking away with her camera. McGarrett talks Moala out, knowing he's been framed. Terri points out McGarrett merely saved his life in order to send Moala to prison. McGarrett is now irritated at her "second-class" journalism.
Back in McGarrett's office, Moala recognizes Longworth's photo because "haoles in nice suits stand out like a sore thumb on my run." McGarrett takes Moala back to the day he picked up Longworth on his run. Moala remembers different details including a woman who eventually took Longworth's seat on the bus and her "photo-greys" glasses. Duke takes Moala out and Terri departs shortly thereafter coming to the end of her story. McGarrett wants to meet with Longworth next.
Terri calls Longworth's office, discovering the name of the woman: Kia Chieu. According to Leann, the secretary, she's already departed on her vacation. Leann does give up Kia's home address, which Terri writes down.
McGarrett floats his theory to Longworth that the real ransom was the design for the breeder reactor Longworth was working on. Longworth comes clean: the kidnappers have been watching him and his family; there wasn't a move they could make without the kidnappers knowing. McGarrett sets Chin and Duke to check out the apartment building where the kids had been staying, wanting to know everyone who has been in and out for the last week. McGarrett wants Danno to have Moala look at the personnel pictures of ESSTR employees.
Terri shows up at the out of the way house that is Kia's home address. She snoops right into trouble, being taken inside by Jackson once Kia identifies her. Back at Five-O, Moala "picked her [Kia] out right away, no problem." McGarrett and Danno take off for her address in the company records. Arriving at the house, McGarrett parks behind Terri's rental car. Terri is tied up and gagged as Kia and her friend finish packing. They toast "to Hong Kong ... and the highest bidder." McGarrett devises a plan: he'll take the back with Danno on the front. They move in quick as Kia's pal shoots up the front door before Danno kicks it in. HPD officers arrive in time to arrest the pair for "kidnapping and extortion."
McGarrett goes over to Terri and takes advantage of her being gagged: "I'd like to point out something which you should already know. I'm told that one of the basic rules of journalism is to approach every story with an open mind. But on this one, yours has been closed from the beginning ... the crisis that you generated by coming here is absolutely unnecessary and just plain dumb." He leaves and Danno releases her, while reiterating the points he made to her in their first conversation.
Working late in his office, McGarrett is interrupted by Terri one last time. She brings him dinner to make amends. He pours champagne into the two glasses she holds: amends indeed.
This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker ©2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.
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