S03E05 - “The Guarnerius Caper” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)


A violinist (Ed Flanders) gives a concert accompanied by a piano to a small audience in a hotel suite. In the background, a man (Albert Paulsen) surveys the scene looking for trouble. Meanwhile, in downtown Honolulu two punks cause trouble in numerous ways. They pass a poster advertising a concert by Rostov, the violinist. The punks zero in on a lady, stealing her purse and shoving her into her car. As the punks run, the performance finishes with a standing ovation. Rostov explains to the patrons the violin "yes, it is a Guarnerius. It was made around 1730 by Giuseppe Guarneri. He signed his name with a cross and the letters IHS". One patron (Jim Demarest) asks how much it could be sold for which leave Rostov searching for an answer and help. As the patron rattles off numbers, the punks empty the purse looking for anything valuable eventually finding a little cash. Rostov looks to another patron (Larry Ronson) who only shakes his head. The man in the background takes the violin as Rostov speaks to various patrons who are far classier than the bidder. The punks continue their trouble making including climbing onto the hood of a moving car! They decide to hotwire a car from the hotel where they nearly run over. The second patron, Mr. Gifford, says Rostov would like to say a few words and as he speaks, the man in the background puts the violin in the trunk of a Lincoln Continental as the two punks run from car to car looking for any unlocked to make a quick steal. The Continental is unlocked and one (Kenneth O'Brien) jumps into the driver's seat as his buddy (Anthony James) wires the engine. After starting the engine, they take off.

Act One

McGarrett and Danno take off from Five-O "to head off World War III". They arrive at the hotel where Rostov just gave his performance. Gifford introduces himself, then tells them Josef Sarpa who was the man in background is Rostov's secretary. Sarpa is on the phone to "the Soviet embassy in Washington". Gifford gets to the point saying the car was his but at Rostov's "disposal". McGarrett is honest, cars stolen on Oahu are taken for one reason: to be stripped. They'll try to recover his car, but it doesn't look good. Meanwhile, the two punks drive the car to an area with other stripped cars. McGarrett and Danno speak to Rostov who is beside himself because the violin is so rare. Gifford suggests making a public appeal and offering an award but McGarrett shoots down the idea. Sarpa wants to know why because he made the same suggestion to their embassy. McGarrett says the thieves may not know what they have and chances are they'll leave it. However, a public appeal and reward may do exactly what no one wants: the thieves destroy the violin. Rostov is only concerned about recovering the violin and asks McGarrett to "bring it back".

The two punks go about stripping the Continental. Their buddy (Ah Vah) shows up in a beat up van wondering who they stole the car from. Impressed with the engine, they start taking it apart.

At their hotel room, Rostov and Sarpa go at it with their differing opinions on how to handle the disappearance of the violin. Sarpa wants to squeeze the American government and turn it into a political advantage for the Soviet Union up to and including cancelling the concert. Rostov wants no part of it, refusing to cancel. Sarpa threatens Rostov with repercussions upon returning home.

McGarrett briefs the governor that the violin wasn't the target but the car was. The governor says there is no distinction on the political front as Moscow "who obviously see an excuse to embarrass this country in the eyes of the world". McGarrett assures the governor everything is being done including helicopters and checkpoints. McGarrett is worried about one fact: an ignition jumper was used to heist the car, which means the thieves knew what they were doing and the violin could be anywhere.

Prying open the trunk, the punk who drove the car finds the violin case, opening it. Happy with what he found, he tosses it to the punk who jumped the engine. They decide to play baseball with it using beer bottles as the balls.

Act Two

As the punks continue their 'baseball' game, a helicopter flies overhead. Recognizing it as "fuzz," they take off in the van. Chin continues to scan the area while Kono takes a call in McGarrett's office, which becomes very busy in a short time: "H.P.D. wants to know how long you wanna maintain the checkpoint on Nuuanu" and Danno walks in. McGarrett tells Kono to pass along "we'll let them know" then takes on the Associated Press issue. "An anonymous Soviet Embassy source" is stirring up trouble saying the theft was an act of "American fascists". McGarrett isn't impressed or surprised telling Danno to stall the wire services as he leaves the office.

The punks drive into town with the buddy dropping of the pair. One wants to pawn it but the second mentions Gino Mazzini (Wright Esser) "the old coot around the corner". They decide to see him to sell him the "fiddle".

McGarrett who isn't happy by the turn of events with the leak in Washington goes to see Sarpa and Rostov. McGarrett lays it out: is Sarpa truly interested in recovering the violin or in gaining political points out of "the incident". McGarrett also points out Sarpa is the one who left the violin "unguarded in an unlocked car" and can think of lots of embarrassing questions Sarpa will have to answer. McGarrett receives a phone call while talking to them; it's Chin reporting the car has been found stripped but no violin. When McGarrett gives the bad news, Rostov is beside himself while Sarpa smirks.

At Mazzini's apartment, Mazzini tries the violin and asks the punks where they got it. They don't give him answer but just want to sell it for $20. He has $15 and they accept. As they leave Mazzini's apartment, a neighbor (Susan Stewart) returns home and runs right into the punks. They try to corner her but she wastes no time getting into her apartment. They leave being obnoxious the whole way. Meanwhile, Mazzini feels over the violin playing it again realizing he has something special.

Danno walks into McGarrett's office with the lab report on the car. Lots of fingerprints but none match "known car thieves". McGarrett tries a different angle: the van Chin spotted. One problem: there are many like it on Oahu.

At the beach, the punks hang out listening to music and drinking beer. One of them runs back from meeting with Tojo, their buddy driving the van, who has someone willing to pay "$550 for the engine and the parts". As the radio plays, a special bulletin hits the airwaves heard by them and Mazzini. Mazzini walks across the hall to the neighbor, Luanna, to have her read the inscription inside. She verifies the violin is the missing Guarnerius. Mazzini walks back to his apartment securing the violin. But when he tries to call the police, the punks return to steal the violin back and kill Mazzini.

Act Three

At Mazzini's apartment, Danno is on scene trying to comfort Luanna as she gives her statement. Mazzini is carted out as Chin arrives. Luanna says she saw the door open and Mazzini laying on the floor less than five minutes after he showed her the violin. While she didn't see anyone then, she did see the punks earlier.

Tojo drives to the shack where the punks are hanging out. Tojo tells them they don't need a fence; according to the radio the Russians are willing to pay $10,000 for the violin's return. They devise a plan to up the price to $30,000 leaving to find a phone.

McGarrett visits Rostov and Sarpa again updating them on where the violin was last known to be: with Mazzini. McGarrett explains he taught violin lessons and he was blind but knew what he had. McGarrett believes Mazzini was trying to return the violin when he was killed. He also wants to know when anyone contacts them about the violin. McGarrett also cautions they've killed once and probably will again. Sarpa stands his ground: their reward for the violin stands and he's going to make sure McGarrett doesn't interfere. Rostov is silent.

Luanna goes through the mug books with Chin stopping momentarily on one but keeps going. At the same time, the punks find a phone. Meanwhile, the governor orders McGarrett to keep his distance from Sarpa and Rostov, "as far away as you can get". The matter is above all their heads as Washington has made it clear nothing is to interfere with the violin's recovery. The punks aren't making things better making the call demanding $30,000 and Sarpa tries to stall them saying he needs two hours but they give him one. They threaten to destroy the violin if they don't get the money. Luanna continues her search in the mug books until the end. As she is about to leave, Chin asks her to look at the one she stopped at again.

McGarrett paces in his office as Danno suggests another talk with the governor. Chin calls in with a possibility of Norman Dekoven, a.k.a. Deke, who is the punk who drove the car when they stole it. Chin gives his address as "6552 Kalanianaole Highway. A beach shack. Has a record of assault, battery, burglary". McGarrett wants to know how certain she is on the identification and Chin says a "smart defense attorney would wipe us out". Bummed, McGarrett tells Chin to take her home. As he gets ready to leave, McGarrett orders Danno and Kono to "nose around" the beach shack. Kono asks where he's going and McGarrett answers, "I'll let you know after I've been there. No use all of us getting scalped".

Deke, Tojo and their punk friend hang out at a pizza place and make their second call to Sarpa. He was able to get the money and they tell him to go across the street to wait for a phone call to the booth. Satisfied, they order a pizza.

Sarpa leaves the hotel grabbing a taxi outside leaving just as McGarrett arrives. He goes upstairs to speak to Rostov who tells him they're leaving Honolulu and the concert is cancelled. McGarrett guesses someone has contacted them about the violin and stresses again they will kill again. Rostov volunteers that Sarpa "is a highly trained intelligence agent". McGarrett informs Rostov they have a tentative identification on one of the thieves. However, the only way to convict him is by linking him with the violin. Rostov comes clean with McGarrett, he detests "men like Sarpa" but he has to deal with them if he wants to continue playing his music, which is the only thing of importance to him. Rostov was assured there would be no interference and McGarrett submits he shouldn't be there talking to Rostov. McGarrett wants justice for Mazzini and is "willing to put my neck on the chopping block". Rostov tells him Sarpa is picking up the money but isn't willing to tell anything else. McGarrett assures him no one will know where the information was gained and if there's any heat, he'll bear it. "I give you my word".

Sarpa picks up the money at the Bank of Honolulu with McGarrett keeping an eye out from the parking lot. When Sarpa enter the cab, McGarrett follows.

Act Four

Danno and Kono arrive at the beach shack with Danno getting out to have a closer look. At the pizza place, Deke, Tojo and their friend hang out waiting to see if the "Russki" shows up. They watch the taxi park next to the phone booth as McGarrett keeps driving a few hundred feet away. They call the phone booth when Sarpa stands near it giving him instructions of where to go next including a map. As well, they warn him he's being watched. The three run out to the van, pulling out a gun planning to waste Sarpa, "we ain't gonna leave the Russki to fink on us later". As the three leave out back, Sarpa returns to the cab asking the driver (David "Lippy" Espinda) to call his dispatch. The cab leaves with McGarrett on their tail.

Sarpa arrives at Sherwood Forest where Deke watches him through binoculars. McGarrett drives by where Sarpa is waiting and keeps driving not even slowing down, Sarpa is unmoved. McGarrett parks on a back road, able to sneak in from behind. Anther cab arrives carrying Rostov. The punks twitch slightly until Tojo recognizes Rostov from the newspaper. Rostov knows the real deal: he'll take the money to reclaim the violin and if he's killed it can be used as propaganda by the Soviet Union much more so than if Sarpa was killed. Sarpa gives him the money and backs off.

Rostov starts for the punks as McGarrett runs in closer behind them. Deke keeps an eye on Rostov as his buddy reminds him they have the pistol. Rostov meets them asking to see inside the case before he hands over the money. The buddy starts breaking strings as Deke forcefully takes the money. Rostov wants the violin but they're not willing to give it up even after taking the money. The buddy breaks yet another string and pulls out the gun about to shoot Rostov when McGarrett makes his move. He hits Tojo with the van door and shoots Deke. Sarpa tells the cab to "get out of here" and they take off. The buddy runs with the violin still not willing to part with it. He threatens to smash it and tells Rostov if he wants it back, he needs to tell McGarrett to back off. When Rostov refuses, the buddy throws the violin and tries to run for it before McGarrett shoots him in the knee. McGarrett tells him, "you'll live" before running to Rostov who has recovered the violin. Apart from some broken strings, it's "unharmed". Rostov decides to play the concert tomorrow evening and dedicate it to Mazzini.

This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker 2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.

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