S05E02 - “Death Wish On Tantalus Mountain” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)


Act One

A Seatrain conex is off-loaded at the docks with a man (Ricardo Montalban) directing them to drop it "gently" onto the semi trailer. It later backs into position to unload amidst lots of fanfare: a yellow Pantera. Dmitri climbs in to drive the car off as the man, Alex, greets Gordon (John Stalker) from the Sports Car Club of Hawaii. Alex introduces his fiancˇ Anglea Sordi (Diana Muldaur) and his son Niki (Michael Margotta) to Gordon. Alex is there to conquer Tantalus sitting across the bay from them, as there is nothing in Europe to compare to it. As Alex talks, Angela spots a man (Steve Merrick) in the crowd tensing immediately. Niki takes notice as well as his father says he has everything to live for and does not have a "death wish" as the Pantera comes to life. A little Hawaiian girl brings Alex a lei and throws one on the car as everyone applauds. The car is fully unloaded.

That night, in the garage where the car is kept, someone creeps around with a flashlight. About to enter the Pantera, Dmitri interrupts them appearing at the doorway demanding to know who is there. He switches on the overhead light and appears to be drunk stumbling around the garage. He then sees the person but it's too late, the person strikes him in the head.

The next morning, McGarrett arrives on the scene as Dmitri is taken away. Danno briefs him when he enters the garage: Dmitri Burgholtz, 40, master mechanic who has been working off and on for Alex the last 12 years and had a room in the back. Chin adds he probably heard a noise and came in to investigate. Doc Bergman (Al Eben) adds that Dmitri died as a result of a blow to the cranium, left temporal region. The time of death is estimated to be between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. McGarrett tells Danno to check about prowler reports even though there are no signs of a struggle. He then directs Chin to check his personal life and if Dmitri had any Hawaiian contacts outside the house. McGarrett then talks to Che Fong (Harry Endo) about the murder weapon and Che says things need to be checked out under the microscope. Danno informs McGarrett Alex found Dmitri calling HPD about 7:00 a.m. McGarrett shares with him and Chin Washington was next because the State Department has already blasted McGarrett. Danno breaks the bad news they don't have Alex's statement yet because he took off in direct opposition to HPD orders but "his lady friend" let them in. McGarrett leaves in a huff holding up a hand to tell Danno to stop.

McGarrett walks to another part of the house finding Angela by the pool. She tells him Alex is on the mountain with Niki because he doesn't mourn like other men. McGarrett isn't happy and asks her where she was: in their room overhearing "nothing important". McGarrett wants to know anyway and Angela says she saw two men exit a taxi with one being Dmitri with the other one being younger but she didn't see his face. She recalls they were noisy and she went to the window to peer out. Realizing he won't get anymore, McGarrett turns her radio back on and leaves.

Alex and Niki drive a blue sports car to Tantalus checking on the route. It has "nine "S" curves, 12 hairpins, and an unrailed flat-out with a 2000 foot drop on both sides": "not bad". McGarrett drives up the mountain with another man (Wendell Martin) as Alex notices the car in the distance. The pair walks to Alex and Niki introducing themselves: the man is Saunders from the State Department. McGarrett wonders why he didn't stay put after reporting a homicide. Alex claims after 12 years there was not a cross word between them and they both felt the same about cars and racing. Alex says they were good friends and he doesn't know why anyone who wanted to harm Dmitri or get to him. Alex is well aware of that calling in a mechanic from California to ensure the car has not been tampered with. This is also where McGarrett and Alex stating butting heads with McGarrett insisting on a bodyguard for the rest of his stay in Hawaii but Alex flatly refuses pointing to his diplomatic status, something McGarrett has head "since 8:00 this morning". When Niki interjects they're trying to help, Alex goes off stomping back to the blue sports car. As he leaves, McGarrett offers Niki a ride.

At the Park Lane, Niki tells McGarrett about Angela leaving the house last night walking to the Kahala Hotel. Once there, she spoke to a man near the pool for five to six minutes at 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. Niki followed her and ran back to the house before she realized she had been followed. Niki recognized the man as he saw him on the docks the day before and knows Angela and the man had met before. As the drive down the mountain, McGarrett asks if Dmitri was already dead but Niki isn't sure because he didn't know about Dmitri until that morning. As to why would he follow Angela: Niki tells McGarrett she does things behind Alex's back such as seeing people he doesn't know about it.

McGarrett drops of Niki assuring him the information they receive is checked and re-checked before they move on it. He also takes the opportunity to ask Niki if he was the young man seen with Dmitri getting out of a taxi at the house. Niki denies it before McGarrett drives off.

The California mechanic checks out the Pantera and it passes with flying colors. The mechanic would like to complete a test run on "the same terrain". Later, the mechanic takes off in the Pantera on Tantalus as Alex, Angela and Niki watch. McGarrett is there too watching through binoculars like Alex. Saunders is with them as well as they move to another vantage point as the Pantera races up the mountain. Alex smugly tells McGarrett they can put the "tampered car theory" to rest but the mechanic suddenly has issues controlling the car and crashes into the side of the mountain in a ball of fire!

Act Two

McGarrett and Chin deliver the bad news to Alex as Angela listens in and Niki looks on. The lab isn't able to call it sabotage for certain as there was little left to the car and even less of the driver. When asked about how many people want them dead, Alex tells McGarrett to get lots of paper because "the list is rather long". He mentions business rivals, disgruntled employees and possibly jealous husbands "here and there" but dismisses Felicia, his ex-wife in Spain. Alex also says she has nothing to gain because she isn't in the will anymore but Angela and Niki are. McGarrett points out two people are now dead with at least one murdered and all lines of investigation will be followed through. He goes on to say Dmitri didn't know anyone in Hawaii and wants to know if they do. They all deny knowing anyone in Hawaii besides racing officials. McGarrett takes a particular interest in Angela based on the information Niki gave him. McGarrett again asks about who was with Dmitri when he came back to the house and when no one offers an answer, he tells them they will have a description soon enough because they're talking to cab drivers. Alex stops McGarrett on the way out saying not to take too long because they're leaving right after the race. McGarrett is surprised as Alex explains a duplicate car is being sent from California. They both agree the car will be thoroughly before being raced.

McGarrett and Chin walk to the car with Niki chasing after them. He confesses he is the one who was with Dmitri in the cab. Niki explains Dmitri drank a lot particularly before a race but this time he was supposed to watch him and Dmitri slipped past him. Niki looked for him starting with the nearest bar, finding him and bringing him back to the house. McGarrett isn't "overjoyed" at the fact Niki lied but says his father doesn't need to know, for now. In the car, McGarrett muses over what just transpired: Niki claims he followed Angela but she says she has no friends in Hawaii, so who's lying? Chin suspects both and has the task of finding the works on "these people" with Ben when they return to the office.

Angela watches them drive away walking back in side telling Alex she's going shopping. He laments she must be bored but she says no, not when she has everything she wants with him.

Chin runs into McGarrett's office followed by Ben: they've "struck gold". Alex was a "swinger" until he met Angela and even hit some people making disparaging remarks about her. They go over the files brought in, Angela jumped into a Paris fountain three years ago and threw a bottle of wine at a photographer. Meanwhile, Niki was kicked out of an English school for cheating and try to burn down a dorm on the way out, calling it "a prank". Danno makes an astute observation, "nice family. I wonder if they pray together". McGarrett wonders about the mystery man Angela met with and if he's key. He sets Chin and Ben to tailing Angela and they leave to do just that.

Angela readies to leave the house but slows down when walking into the garage. She runs into Niki who tells her he knows about her poolside meeting. Niki makes a creepy move on her blocking her from entering the car to leave. She threatens to hit the horn on the car then they can both tell Alex what's going on. When Niki still doesn't back down, she presses the horn until Niki stops her backing off and leaving the garage.

Danno runs into McGarrett's office with a long telex sheet from Inspector Albrecht of Interpol: information in Alex from multiple European capitals. McGarrett is not amused telling Danno to pick up Alex, "he lied to me".

Angela arrives at Kings Village Shopping Center meeting with the man from the docks and passing him an envelope. They leave quickly after the exchange going their separate ways but enough for Chin and Ben to see the meet. Chin immediately calls McGarrett.

In McGarrett's office, Alex is confused about McGarrett's accusation of lying. McGarrett explains for 12 years there wasn't a cross word between him and Dmitri but he put Dmitri in a Paris hospital for a week. Alex tells him Dmitri was drinking heavily just before a Grand Prix race when Dmitri was supposed to be checking the car. Alex hit him enough to have criminal charges filed against him but they were later dropped. Alex is about to say something else when the phone rings. Chin tells McGarrett what happened and after hanging up, McGarrett allows Alex to leave.

A red Pantera is unloaded at Tantalus by Alex who gives the car a good once over with Niki's help. Alex then takes off on a preliminary run.

Act Three

Just after Alex takes off, Angela shows up at Tantalus. Niki isn't happy she's there. Meanwhile, Alex flies up the mountain with Niki beaming, "nothing stops my father". Elsewhere in the city, Chin and Ben follow the man who met Angela to the "Palm Bungalows". McGarrett calls for backup to Chin and Ben before they try to take the suspect in as Alex continues his test run. When the HPD unit arrives, Chin and Ben immediately make their move. The man tries to escape out the back but is stopped by Ben and an HPD officer. When they frisk him, the man has a "European make" 9mm handgun on him as well as the envelope. Ben has Officer Mazuki witness him taking $10,000 off the man and reports it all to McGarrett. He wants them to rip the apartment apart as a warrant is on the way and let HPD bring in the suspect. Alex keeps up his run stopping at a point to wave down to Niki and Angela. Chin and Ben search the apartment and the car finally discovering the murder weapon in the back seat of the man's car.

In the lab, Che confirms the hair samples on the huge wrench match Dmitri's. McGarrett triple checks everything with Che shaking the wrench, "this is the murder weapon". McGarrett and Danno discus Alex, Angela and Niki still calling them "a wild bunch" but this time one could very well be a killer. As they talk, Alex finishes his run greeting Angela in a big hug. Che says, "murder one," while Danno has his doubts. McGarrett looks at the facts: Angela paid Brill, the man she met, $10,000 and the murder weapon in found in the back seat of his car. McGarrett directs Danno to pick up Angela for conspiracy to commit murder with the intended victim being Alex.

in McGarrett's office, Angela remains quiet as McGarrett lays it out: she cashed $10,000 in traveler's checks paying Brill. McGarrett theorizes Angela met with Brill the night Dmitri died in order for Brill to tamper with the car but Dmitri caught him and killed him. The thought being Alex recently changed his will to include Angela who will split everything with Niki if Alex should die but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Jenny soon knocks on the door entering and whispering something to McGarrett. After she leaves, he asks for the file from Chin and goes into the Five-O office area where he meets Alex and Sidney Lefcourt (Leslie Vincent Fullard) who has been retained as counsel for Angela. McGarrett shows him the pictures taken the day before when she paid off Brill. Alex asks what does it prove with McGarrett opening his door daring him to ask Angela himself, which Alex does. With Alex's confrontation, Angela confesses Brill was blackmailing her because they had had an affair in Paris many years before. Brill is an underworld figure and had taken pictures unknown to Angela. He threatened to send them to Alex when the blackmail started. Alex is ticked off because she didn't trust him to deal with Brill together. Alex begins to storm out with Angela begging him not to race up Tantalus. Alex refuses to listen to her "loving concern" and leaves. McGarrett closes the door knowing Alex is still in danger and wants all the truth from Angela.

Act Four

Alex and Niki enter the garage to a waiting McGarrett, Chin and two mechanics: Joe DeMarkie and Kimo Kono (Jimmy Borges). McGarrett wants them to go over the car. Once they're finished, Kimo says, "the car is perfect". McGarrett tells Alex as of now, no more police protection and they leave with Demarkie and Kimo wishing Alex well. On his way out to his car, McGarrett tells HPD to pack it in. Both the Park Lane and the HPD unit drive out.

That night, someone is in the garage again opening the engine compartment of the Pantera. A noise at the doorway interrupts the saboteur as Alex stands in the doorway switching on the lights. Niki is messing with the car! Alex figures out what Niki's plan was: loosen bolts but finger tighten them so they would eventually come loose with the heave vibrations during the race. Alex is at a loss, why? Niki doesn't answer but rather makes a run for it running into blocks by Ben then Danno! He turns to take the wrench in his hand and hit Alex with it but is stopped by both Danno and Ben. Niki has some toxic feelings for his father feeling betrayed he and his mother were kicked to the curb and Alex moved on without them. Niki wants Alex dead, preferably on Tantalus but vows to kill him as he is dragged away. McGarrett is left standing in the garage with Alex conveying what Angela told them: she knew Niki was sick and how deep his hatred was for his father but she couldn't bring herself to tell him.

Later, Alex sits by a fire hearing a car engine outside; he stands near the doorway as Angela enters. She looks at him and turns without saying a word. He follows only to be met by her carrying her suitcase. Alex tells her he forgives her about Brill but she doesn't forgive him! She cuts her losses and leaves.

The next day, Alex emerges from an RV trailer ready to take on Tantalus. There is nothing left as the two most important people in the world are now out of his life. A small crowd applauds at the starting line as Alex climbs into the Pantera. McGarrett and Saunders are among the onlookers. Saunders is still uncertain but McGarrett assures him everything checks, well except one: Alex himself as there is no way to know what is going on in his mind but McGarrett bets Alex will beat the mountain. At the drop of the green flag, Alex begins his race.

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


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