A disturbance occurs at Oahu State Prison when someone tries a "power play". One prisoner (Monte Markham) working in the infirmary watches out the window until two guards bring injured prisoner Ritchie (Morgan Sha'an) in. The first guard (Al Harrington) tells the second guard (Frank Kamaunu) to try to find the doctor (Sorrell Booke). Bates, the first guard reports in to the warden (R.G. Armstrong) they have Ritchie in the hospital. Meanwhile, the first prisoner, Harry Kellem, tries to stabilize Ritchie until the doctor arrives. Ritchie confesses to killing Kellem's partner Tom Chaney but there are a couple of problems: Kellem is serving for Chaney's murder and Ritchie dies before anyone else hears the confession. The doctor comes in, verifying Ritchie is dead as Bates tries to get Kellem to calm down. The doctor and guard get on with business as usual and Kellem realizes they don't believe him. Things escalate quickly out of control when Kellem takes Bates' gun pointing it at both of them. Shoving the gun to the doctor's throat, Kellem takes him into the office, slamming the door.
McGarrett arrives at the prison immediately speaking to the warden and Bates. They discuss Ritchie who was a hit man, Kellem and what happened in the hospital ward. The warden pulled Kellem's file because he has always claimed his innocence. Tom Chaney was killed three years before and the warden says Kellem is guilty, no question. "Is he psycho?" The warden didn't think so but he's "holding a riot gun to Doc Berman's head". Kellem is clear: he wants McGarrett. The warden and McGarrett go to a place where they can talk to Kellem with the bullhorn. Kellem isn't budging but McGarrett will go in, handing his gun to the warden. McGarrett walks across the yard entering the hospital ward. When McGarrett opens the office door, he sees how serious things are as the gun is taped around Dr. Berman's throat and Kellem's hand. Kellem is a desperate man waiting for three years for something to break his way and it finally has. Kellem has worked double shifts the last two days and he's plain exhausted. The deadline McGarrett has is how long Kellem can stay awake. McGarrett can't talk the gun out of Kellem's hands but McGarrett agrees to take another look at the case.
Outside the prison, a reporter (Bob Sevey) broadcasts what is taking place. McGarrett returns to Iolani Palace telling Jenny (Peggy Ryan) to stall the press. As they run into McGarrett's office, Danno has information on Kellem and Chaney: "land developers. Promoters, actually. They started with a couple of acres up by Kailua Bay, parlayed it into business with not much behind them. Enough for a down payment, then sell for profit before the next payment's due". Between Danno and Chin, McGarrett discovers Chaney was a gambler and this is where the partners disagreed because Chaney was using company money to pay off his bad debts. There's motive against Kellem. Danno reports the details of the murder: "took place out by Makaha. Right at the edge of the golf course. Kellem met Chaney out there to look over land, but only Kellem came back. H.P.D. found three slugs in the body, .38 caliber. And Ballistic made a matchup with the gun Kellem and Chaney kept in their office". Chin says the gun was recovered in Ala Wai Canal thanks to an anonymous tip. There weren't any witnesses except "after the fact" who was Ted Cowan (Richard Roat), finding the body and giving a general description of a car leaving the scene that matched Kellem's car. Kono comes in with Ritchie's file and McGarrett remembers Ritchie had a partner, Banyan (Mills Watson). He sends Kono to find Banyan then tells Danno to track down who gained all the assets from Kellem and Chaney's business and finally ordering Chin to find out more about Chaney's gambling habits. McGarrett leaves to "see a lawyer".
McGarrett goes to talk to Craig Wilkie (William Schallert) who was Kellem's lawyer and the attorney for the business. McGarrett is especially stressed and pushes Wilkie for a starting point twice. Wilkie eventually tells McGarrett about Cowan and it turned out his testimony was useless at the trial because he didn't see anything until it was all over. McGarrett is concerned Kellem could turn into a killer out of pure desperation. When McGarrett leaves, Wilkie calls someone warning of trouble but they can handle it.
McGarrett paces in his office but stops when Kono drags Banyan in. McGarrett sizes up Banyan telling him about Ritchie's "deathbed confession" and asking about their partnership from several years ago. Banyan isn't emotional about Ritchie's death, "now he made another mistake: He got killed". Banyan accuses McGarrett of "fishing" but McGarrett lays it out: if Ritchie hit Chaney, Banyan was in on it. Banyan knows he can't prove it and tells McGarrett to back off. McGarrett warns Banyan as he leaves, "now your turn is up. I'm gonna get you". As Banyan walks out, Danno walks in with a convoluted mess of finding who gained from Kellem and Chaney's business including companies in Maryland and Delaware. McGarrett doesn't care who is inconvenienced; he wants the name of who gained.
In Wilkie's office, Wilkie tells a man (Peter Whitney) to keep Banyan on "a very short leash". The man assures him that will happen because Banyan does what he tells him. The man is nervous about McGarrett investigating but Wilkie says McGarrett won't find anything different than the police did three years before. Wilkie makes it clear to Bedford, the man in his office, to leave Cowan alone after Bedford says something about loose ends. Besides, if Cowan changes his story now, it's perjury.
Danno meets an HPD officer (Terry Plunkett) who handled the Kellem case. Chaney was his first homicide and he took Cowan's statements and he explains the more Cowan talked, it seemed the less he remembered. By the end, he hadn't seen anything. As Danno is about to leave, he asks if the lawyer called him to testify but no one called, which makes Danno's hackles go up.
McGarrett goes to see the gift horse in the mouth by talking to Cowan direct. He stands by his story that he didn't see anything. Cowan is very excited talking to McGarrett to the point McGarrett has to tell him to calm down. McGarrett tries to get to what Cowan really saw based on Officer Spivack has told Five-O. Cowan makes the excuse one doesn't find a dead body everyday but McGarrett doesn't buy it and pushes Cowan who denies knowing anything. McGarrett continues pushing telling how desperate the situation is and if he can help, Cowan should speak up now. Cowan still doesnŐt budge and McGarrett leaves. When he does, a woman (Joan Van Ark) steps out of another room. When McGarrett drives away from Cowan's house, Banyan watches from his car parked on the street.
The live broadcast continues with KGMB-TV. Beldock (Bob Jones), a second reporter, talks to the warden directly but the situation hasn't changed. However, the warden does say the guards have orders to shoot to kill if Kellem makes a break for it using Dr. Berman as a shield. Upstairs in Dr. Berman's office, Kellem struggles to stay awake. Dr. Berman talks to Kellem, understanding Kellem's motivations in attempting to right a wrong in a flawed criminal justice system. Dr. Berman tells Kellem neither are going anywhere until McGarrett gets back.
McGarrett meets Chin at an establishment owned by a man (Arthur Hee) with ties to illegal gambling. Chin speaks to him in Chinese and Chin tells McGarrett he wants money. McGarrett retorts, "tell him that the penalty for illegal gambling is one to three years". The man suddenly speaks fluent English! McGarrett is interested in Chaney's gambling habits and trying to verify his losses. However, the man refutes these claims essentially telling McGarrett and Chin that Chaney was a big winner. "The world is filled with illusions, Mr. McGarrett. Created for many reasons".
Nearly five hours into the ordeal and Kellem is near passing out. Dr. Berman keeps him awake and encouraged, "he'll [McGarrett] be back". Dr. Berman asks Kellem to tell him about what happened three years ago. Kellem explains he and Chaney were friends and "a good balance" in personalities. Kellem is so exhausted, he finally sits down and Dr. Berman is able to talk him into taking off the tape. Kellem cuts the tape from around Dr. Berman's tape but the situation remains: Dr. Berman is still a hostage. Dr. Berman keeps Kellem talking telling him McGarrett believes his story and the answers will be found. Kellem is desperate, seeing this as his last chance to get out of prison because he doesn't believe he ever will.
In McGarrett's office, a CPA (William Bigelow II) has studied the Kellem-Chaney land development company books calling it "a work of art". The books have been falsified to show a massive embezzlement took place but in reality, the company was financially sound. McGarrett thanks the CPA and leads him out. Danno then reports they're making progress and they're "close" to having a name and it all leads back to Hawaii. Whoever is responsible covered their tracks well with multiple fronts.
At Cowan's house, he turns off the television and turns to the woman, his wife Freda. She knows enough that Kellem shouldn't be in prison in the first place. Cowan admits he saw the murder, something she's known as well, but he didn't tell the truth. "And nothing's been the same since these three years". Cowan decides to make things right and calls Wilkie. Wilkie tells him to meet in his office and they'll "go to the authorities together". As soon as Wilkie hangs up, Bedford makes a call to Banyan.
Cowan drives along a street heading to Wilkie's office. When a light turns red, all traffic stops but when it turns green again, Cowan's car doesn't move. A guy gets out to find Cowan has been shot in the head.
McGarrett meets Kono at the scene of Cowan's murder and believes the person behind Chaney's murder is "running scared". As McGarrett gets into his car he knows things are happening fast but maybe not fast enough for Kellem.
In Dr. Berman's office, Kellem has given in to his fatigue and fallen asleep. Dr. Berman cuts the tape from Kellem's hand, eventually taking the gun away. Dr. Berman is about to leave but decides to stick it out with Kellem realizing Kellem doesn't stand a chance if he walks out. Does Dr. Berman believe his story too?
McGarrett visits Freda Cowan to give her the bad news. She tells him Cowan was "just frightened" and he changed on "that terrible day". McGarrett discovers in the conversation Cowan witnessed Chaney's murder. The worst part for her was seeing Kellem sent to prison for life for a murder committed by "two men". She suspects the second man killed her husband and she tells McGarrett it's now over but McGarrett shoots that down because her testimony is "hearsay". McGarrett explains unless she saw it or heard personally, she can't testify to it. Freda does have something of value though, she says Cowan was going to tell everything when Kellem was arrested and even talked to Wilkie about it. "I know it sounds crazy, but Ted said that Mr. Wilkie kept impressing upon him that he had to tell the truth, no matter what might happen to him afterward". Freda is puzzled as another piece falls into place for McGarrett: Wilkie was Kellem's lawyer and Cowan was going to see Wilkie when he was killed. At Five-O, Danno ties up the last loose end: Wilkie is the one who gained from the business when it went belly-up. McGarrett and he leave for Wilkie's office.
Freda is already there and holds a gun to Wilkie who stammers out any explanation to get out of being killed. Banyan and Bedford come up behind her and take the gun. Banyan accuses Wilkie of talking but Wilkie insists she's just guessing. Asking what they plan to do, Banyan says, "knocking off Tom Chaney and her husband, that cost you, so this one's free". Wilkie doesn't want anything at the office. Bedford laughs, telling Wilkie they have a place in mind then leads Banyan and Freda out.
McGarrett and Danno pull up downstairs running into the office building. Bedford goes out to call the elevator and when it's clear, tells Banyan to bring her out. Another elevator opens with McGarrett and Danno. Bedford takes a shot but is hit in the shoulder. Banyan holds a gun to Freda's head as he forces her out to the hallway. Wilkie shoots Banyan through a glass window causing him to fall. McGarrett steps inside the office door where Wilkie gives up the gun he has. McGarrett is done telling Wilkie "no deals!" Explaining he gained everything, McGarrett knows the truth about Wilkie who feigns ignorance. However. Freda will back up the evidence based on what she saw and heard before Banyan was killed! McGarrett throws Wilkie next to Bedford, ordering, "book him, Danno. Murder one". McGarrett leaves to go to Oahu State Prison. He wakes Kellem telling him the nightmare is over. Kellem is beyond grateful as McGarrett takes the gun pulling out both shells.
This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker ©2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.