An anthropological dig is occurring on a rocky beach. A female student yells for her professor (Herb Jeffries) as she runs out of a cave. She leads him and few others to an "aumakua," which usually stands guard over something. They find some loose rocks and a passageway leading to a huge group of bones.
Later, the professor calls in McGarrett to the university telling him the bones were in a burial crypt of a Polynesian village settled prior to the 16th century. The professor says radio dating of the bones put at about 400 years old except for two: a man and a woman. The last two skeletons are nine to ten years old and their injuries were "bone splintering by a small foreign object". The department calls them "death by induced traumatic insult" but McGarrett calls it "murder".
As McGarrett drives, he replays the conversations in his head that he had with Che Fong (Harry Endo) and Danno. Che confirms both people were shot to death and while Danno couldn't find any missing woman, he hit pay dirt on the man: Anton Parker, the "top man for a big industrialist, name of Mondrago" (Herbert Lom). McGarrett arrives at Mondrago's pausing in front of a Mercedes convertible and a Rolls Royce before knocking on the door. His servant (Wilfred Keale) answers the door and allows entry after McGarrett shows his badge and introduces himself. Inside the front door is a life-size portrait of an exotic looking woman. McGarrett is dumbstruck causing him to jump when a young woman (France Nuyen) asks him if he likes her picture. She tells him it was done over 20 years ago and wonders if she changed much as gives a sly smile. McGarrett can't believe the picture came to life right before his eyes as she retreats to an upstairs room. The servant comes back and directs McGarrett into another room. Mondrago tells him he's lucky because he rarely grants interviews with McGarrett retorting he usually has people subpoenaed before a grand jury. Mondrago likes McGarrett right away because he stands his ground with McGarrett wondering if Parker did the same. Mondrago says Parker was like a son to him but someone not afraid to speak his mind. Mondrago takes a business call, after hanging up he says Parker would have taken care of it and he's still astonished someone could disappear so completely. McGarrett tells him Parker may have been found, "if our identification is correct" and he shares the bad news Parker is dead. McGarrett also says they are working on a positive identification through the VA due to Parker being a pilot in World War II. Mondrago asks about the woman and McGarrett admits they're hopeful he can help. Mondrago offers a $25,000 reward to find Parker's killer and before McGarrett can answer, Mondrago's daughter walks in. Mondrago introduces Sirone and McGarrett but they've already met, she was the one on the stairs! Sirone explains the picture is hers, her mother left it to her when she died: about 10 years ago. Mondrago brings up the reward again as McGarrett is about to leave but McGarrett refuses: "no rewards, no favors".
Danno walks into McGarrett's office after returning from the newspaper morgue. Danno explains Parker was a man about town invited to many events. However, a pattern emerged in the photo indexes: anytime Parker was photographed, he was with Mrs. Mondrago. Stranger still, when all three were pictured together she was always looking at Parker, "not at her husband". Danno wonders if Mondrago didn't go off "the deep end" in order to keep his wife and end the love triangle. As McGarrett ponders the case, he notes what Danno said, "a woman like that" and wants to know he meant. Danno explains she was really something and "what a face". McGarrett agrees, seeing her: or rather, the daughter a spitting image. Chin walks in with Mrs. Mondrago's Death Certificate: cause of death being aneurysm and signed by Dr. Herbert C. Ventnor (William Edwards).
McGarrett and Chin visit Dr. Ventnor at 'Queen Emma Clinics' who sees no need to investigate further. McGarrett asks what an aneurysm is and Dr. Ventnor explains it as a defective artery resulting in massive bleeding when it gives out. McGarrett wants to see her medical file and Dr. Ventnor starts stalling and dancing but is given no choice when McGarrett says they'll wait. The phone rings and after Dr. Ventnor hangs up he leaves the office area to go to some file cabinets. Digging through several files, he finds the one he wants and high tails it out of the building. Meanwhile, McGarrett and Chin patiently wait in the doctor's office until they hear the squealing tire! McGarrett runs out telling Chin to contact Central Dispatch to search room to room for Dr. Ventnor. The nurse starts giving McGarrett a hard time but he turns it to his advantage getting a description of Dr. Ventnor's car. McGarrett puts out a Red Alert with instructions to "intercept and notify". HPD responds with several squad cars.
McGarrett and Chin leave to help with the Red Alert. HPD also runs the computer in order to find the car's license number of "Nine Charlie Three Three Two Two". The information is conveyed to Central Dispatch who puts it out on the radio. Several other squad cars join in especially the one that reports Dr. Ventnor's latest movements. Dr. Ventnor keeps outrunning HPD until he comes up on a two-vehicle roadblock at the end of Diamond Head Tunnel. Dr. Ventnor wants past the roadblock but tries to stop but he has no brakes! His car tumbles off the side of the cliff in a ball of fire!
In the lab, McGarrett and Danno talk to Che who shows them what's left of the medical file in Dr. Ventnor's car, which isn't much and there's even less left of the doctor. Che shows them what's left of the hydraulic reservoir that is bone-dry meaning the car had no brakes left. Either someone tampered with the car or it was badly neglected. Che has been able to confirm the bones found are those of Parker through VA dental records but the woman they have no clue: her teeth are perfect.
McGarrett returns to Mondrago's house with Sirone watching from an upper balcony. McGarrett confronts Mondrago about Dr. Ventnor's death because of the phone call he received just before the accident and it made the doctor visibly nervous. Mondrago doesn't like the implication and even suggests Dr. Ventnor was murdered but McGarrett doesn't have any evidence for that conclusion. Mondrago tells McGarrett the skeleton is not his wife because she is buried on the grounds. McGarrett knows there's a possibility of a switch but Mondrago won't budge, even threatening McGarrett to go after other cases. McGarrett walks out pausing at the portrait before stepping outside. Sirone calls him over before he leaves in the outside garden. Sirone asks if he's in love with her mother because men look at the portrait and something inside them changes. Sirone guesses, correctly, McGarrett is a Capricorn and tells him he has met his match in the Leo of her father. She goes on about what her father has done for Hawaii including flying over people from Molokai when a tsunami hit at his own expense so they could receive medical treatment. Sirone pleads with McGarrett to allow her mother to rest in peace. McGarrett leaves but Sirone isn't the only one watching. Mondrago calls in Akea, his servant giving him orders in Hawaiian about "Duncan" (Jeff Corey).
A painter rushes around his beach house trying to determine what to pack. McGarrett drives up to the house, knocking and calling out to Duncan. Duncan warns him to enter at his own risk and McGarrett finds him in the backyard painting the surf. McGarrett is there to talk about his "realistic, clear" painting of the "fully clothed Mrs. Mondrago". When Duncan realizes McGarrett has fallen under the spell too he tells McGarrett it's not his work but the woman herself. McGarrett asks about her and Parker, which causes Duncan to clam up because he won't drag her through the mud. Duncan says she was "something different" and Parker didn't deserve her. McGarrett connects the dots, telling Duncan next time he'll be sharing the story under oath and walks out. Duncan yells after him but McGarrett continues what he's doing. Akea shows up with a bag in his hand approaching Duncan after McGarrett is gone.
On the road, McGarrett radios into Danno to secure an exhumation order for Mrs. Mondrago's body. Danno is wondering what legal grounds they have but McGarrett tells Danno to convey to the D.A. he has a witness who can testify to Parker and Mrs. Mondrago were having an affair. McGarrett suspects Mondrago killed his wife and Parker because of this. McGarrett passes to Danno the information on Duncan and after he's done, there is a loud explosion and Duncan's beach house is up in flames!
In a courtroom, a hearing is held on the exhumation order. The D.A. (Don G. Doolittle) questions McGarrett about what happened and infers about more missing witnesses and evidence. Mondrago's attorney (William Quinn) starts objecting to the D.A. leading the witness but the D.A. counters they wouldn't be there if everyone and everything hadn't disappeared. The judge (Herman Wedemeyer) sustains the motion anyway. Mondrago's attorney asks where McGarrett dug up the "fact" of the affair but McGarrett corrects him saying it was "an evaluation". The attorney argues the petition be denied due to lack of evidence and the efforts are nothing more than "spiteful gossip and smear". While the judge has "complete sympathy" for Mr. Mondrago, he also knows there are a lot of unanswered questions and a possible crime involved. The judge orders the exhumation to go forward. Mondrago leaves taking a jab at McGarrett, "you have won a round ... I leave you to your empty triumph".
The exhumation takes place that night. Che briefs McGarrett the next morning in McGarrett's office. They now have two skeletons and no way to tell which one is Mrs. Mondrago. However, one had a broken arm and while it healed nicely, the fracture line can still be seen. McGarrett becomes lost in the slides of the skeletons imagining Mrs. Mondrago in Parker's arms but being interrupted by a gun pointed at them and fired. Danno walks in pulling McGarrett back. McGarrett says they have one woman too many and wants every person available in HPD to help with the case. At some point, a woman disappeared and he needs to know who she is.
During a storm, a man shows up at Mondrago's house: it's Duncan! He meets Mondrago in the study and stuffs several stacks of money into his coat. Sirone watches from upstairs and walks to her father asking what's going on and why he paid Duncan a bunch of money. Mondrago tells her it has nothing to do with her, but Sirone isn't satisfied asking if it has to do with her mother's death. Mondrago blows her off until she freaks out and starts screaming about Duncan, Duncan's house and Dr. Ventnor! Mondrago hangs onto her as she starts sobbing.
In McGarrett's office, Danno walks in with a list of people flown to Oahu after the tsunami on Molokai. Six charters flew in 382 people and this as crosschecked with the figures at Dr. Ventnor's clinic: 46 died and 335 were released, that's only 381! The missing patient was a woman who arrived on Oahu thanks to Mondrago and treated in a clinic financed by Mondrago. McGarrett hears enough and orders Danno to "pick him up".
In McGarrett's office, Mondrago listens as McGarrett describes the woman: "Mary Pulani, age 26, brought to the Ventnor Clinic after the tidal wave 10 years ago". McGarrett goes on saying all her records vanished with Danno interjecting, "except for the school records on Molokai that show she once had a broken arm". McGarrett tells Mondrago all they have to do is wait for the x-rays from Molokai to make a match but Mondrago stops him: he's ready to give a statement. Mondrago confesses to killing his wife and Parker by going to his study to retrieve his gun, shooting them both. He then instructed Akea to put them into the cave to be there forever, together. Mondrago explains Dr. Ventnor was indebted to him due to the clinic and he found a young woman who "more or less" looked like his wife and she had died of pneumonia so they used her to replace his wife. Dr. Ventnor took care of the records so there would be no questions. Kono then takes Mondrago to book him for the murders. McGarrett is bothered by something, rewinding the tape to the point Mondrago says he opened the door and went to his study for the gun. McGarrett asks how likely was it that Parker would stay with Mrs. Mondrago rather than run out for his life. Not very and that's the point, he would run "like a mongoose". Chin says they still have a case because Mrs. Mondrago didn't have a broken arm, he saw her medical records. McGarrett is shocked, how is that possible!? The records were destroyed with Dr. Ventnor and his car, the remains are in Che's lab! Chin doesn't know what is in the lab but he knows he saw Mrs. Mondrago's file. Kono pops his head in: Hilo police are on line two due to some activity. McGarrett answers and after hanging up, he briefs Duncan has been found drunk with $50,000 in his pockets on the Big Island!
McGarrett flies over to Hilo and goes straight to the jail. There are several sketches, which Duncan claims are worth more than the money found on him. McGarrett walks into the cell, shaking Duncan awake. Duncan finally wakes enough to answer he was with Mondrago on the day his wife and Parker were killed. He tells McGarrett they received the news together about Mrs. Mondrago and Parker. Duncan admits he got the money from Mondrago. McGarrett runs out.
Later that night, McGarrett hangs out in his darkened office as Danno slowly walks in. It's 4:45 a.m.! McGarrett just got back and wonders the reason Danno is there. "Near the finish" of the Lockman case causing McGarrett to chuckle and says, "go home, Danno". Danno isn't going anywhere knowing something is wrong. He becomes a sounding board for McGarrett who was all set to sew up the case with Mondrago. Now it falls apart because Duncan is his perfect alibi. McGarrett wonders if he pushed Mondrago into confessing and then muses about the portrait: "it changes in front you," the picture of the perfect woman but one he could never have. McGarrett gets it: why someone would fight for her and how things would become insane if one was going to lose her.
Later that morning, McGarrett drives to Mondrago's house. Akea tries to stop McGarrett from entering the house only to be answered by a knock out karate shop. McGarrett enters the house as Sirone silently walks at the top of the stairs armed with a gun. McGarrett stands by the portrait when the gun cocks causing him to jump. He turns toward Sirone who is aiming right for him! He doesn't know it's her until she fires and hits him in the arm. She says she won't let him hurt her father and McGarrett agrees but her father confessed. McGarrett stands up holding his arm telling her the story of how Mondrago arrived home to find them and as he shares details, Sirone corrects the details. Sirone breaks down talking about how Parker kissed her, "put his hands on her." She starts firing wildly recalling the memory from 10 years before: she killed them! McGarrett disarms her.
With his arm in a sling, McGarrett explains to Mondrago Sirone blanked on everything just like she had before 10 years before. The burned up file in the lab, was Sirone's psychiatric records. Mondrago is lost because he tried to protect Sirone all this time from the pain of what she did. Now, they have no choice but to face it head on. McGarrett tells him pending a hearing he is free to go because his only crime is of "concealment". McGarrett makes his way out pausing at the portrait, noting the bullet holes. He turns his back one last time walking completely out of the house.
This plot summary Copyrightę Bobbi Baker 2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.