S05E14 - “The Child Stealers” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)

Act One

A young woman (Meg Foster) arrives at a shopping center looking over an Asian baby before moving on. Behind her, a man (Richard Hatch) cruises the parking lot. She comes across a baby in a shopping cart and closes in after looking into the store. She lifts the baby and the seat he's strapped in to go into the car. The couple takes off. Driving down the road, the baby cries with the man agitated about the whole scenario wanting to stay on schedule. Meanwhile, the baby's mother (Brooks Almy Brooks) walks out to find her child gone!

The man and woman arrive at the airport as she gets out with the baby. He drives the car to a spot wiping it down and throwing the keys several feet away. When he's done, he runs to a cabstand to return to the airport. They have tickets on Flight 23 for Los Angeles and go to the gate to board.

Five-O and HPD are on scene as McGarrett shows up. An FBI Agent named Tom (Ken J. Mitchell) greets McGarrett once the Park Lane stops. McGarrett is at a loss after Danno briefs no one in the drug store saw anything but Chin and Ben are still canvassing for witnesses around the block. The APB is difficult: no one knows how to describe the baby but the clothes are described.

McGarrett and Danno walk inside the drug store where the mother is beside herself with the husband (Jack Hogan) understandably upset. He comforts his wife because who knew this would happen? They speak to the couple, the Empsons, to find out a motive: the child isn't adopted, there is no custody dispute and the Empsons have no idea why they were chosen. McGarrett tries to tell them gently he doesn't expect a ransom call but they will set up for one in case there is. He theorizes they're dealing with "someone who's sick" such as a grieving mother who has lost her own child. The Empsons are nervous about police involvement but Danno assures them the kidnappers won't even know. Mrs. Empson falls into despair: her son is only eight weeks old!

Che Fong (Harry Endo) arrives at the Empson house for an innocuous delivery but once inside, taps the phone line. Chin sits outside in a van ready to listen in on any calls as he reports to McGarrett everything is set up. In McGarrett's office, Ben reports the only fingerprints on the shopping cart belonged to Mrs. Empson and the clerk. Danno briefs Empson is doing okay but isn't rich as a junior architect in a big firm but they work on housing tracts, nothing for the government or sensitive. McGarrett is still grasping at straws.

The couple and baby land in Los Angeles in the middle of the night. They check into a "dump" hotel where Nina and Gar start arguing. He tells her she's killing "the kick" but she remembers their child they gave up, Michael. They also disagree about his name because Gar wanted him named after him but she points out he didn't want the child but rather the money they received from selling him! Gar says they'll have another baby when they're ready and have everything they want. She calls is "the same old song". Gar moves forward with his plan naming the baby "Jason" and filling out the birth certificate. Gar holds the pen for Nina to sign but notices the baby is barefoot: he was wearing booties earlier. Nina says one got lost and Gar is immediately paranoid. A knock at the door quiets them but it's only the crib.

Back in Honolulu, HPD finds the abandoned car and one lost bootie. While "Jason" goes through an examination in California by a pediatrician (Sue McCollum Gereben), a fancy car pulls up to the High View Children's Home. A man (Richard Anderson) gets out of the car greeting kids who had been playing in the yard. He walks inside greeting Gar and Nina who he has met previously then speaks to the pediatrician. He leads them into his office where he checks over the paperwork and pays Gar $5000 for "a friend" of theirs. Goodman tries to figure out what's going on since this is the second referral from them of an unwed mother but third child they've sent him: the first being Michael. Goodman is an adoption attorney and believes he earns his fees by going over the paperwork with a fine-tooth comb.

In Honolulu, McGarrett calls to Chin to see how things are going: no contact and the Empsons are barely hanging on. Danno walks into McGarrett's office reporting no prints on the bootie and the car was wiped clean as if that part was planned but taking the Empson child was by pure chance.

Gar and Nina buy one-way tickets to Honolulu first-class with the cash they were just paid.

Act Two

At the Empsons, Che dismantles the phone tap as Danno reassures the couple they're not giving but changing strategies. Their phone will still routed through HPD but after four days of no ransom call, the baby obviously wasnÕt taken for that. Danno has arranged for them to appear on television to make an appeal: if the kidnapper is emotionally disturbed, "an appeal to emotions may help. It's worth a try". Mrs. Empson steels herself as her son is worth anything.

Gar and Nina goof off near the marina "to look at boats". Gar has big aspirations to buy a sailboat and taste "freedom". He doesn't want to steal one because he doesn't want the Coast Guard invading their "own little Eden". Nina isn't so sure.

During the evening newscast, the Empsons make their appeal for the return of their son Andy. The newscaster (George Groves) introduces the couple as cameras roll around them. As Mr. Empson begins, the Five-O team watches in tense silence and they're not the only ones watching. Gar and Nina watch the painful appeal and Nina loses it especially when Mrs. Empson talks about the kidnapper having a child of their own. Gar tells her they're unhappy but there's a couple in Los Angeles who couldn't have kids who are now jumping up and down with joy. Nina doesn't buy it and the pair argues with Gar yelling about the world being "a rip-off" and why shouldn't they be a part of it. He also reminds her he didn't pull it off alone; Nina helped and enjoyed taking the two kids! Their argument turns somewhat violent but they soon make up with Gar promising they'll have a child someday and they'll raise him on the boat. In the meantime, they get down to business with each other.

In McGarrett's office, he clicks off the TV with another case running through his head: Oranger kidnapping on the Big Island six months prior. While the Empsons can pay some ransom, there was no way Oranger could because he was a dockworker with six kids. They discuss the case and the similarities with it and the current case. The baby was about the same age at nine weeks: Andy is eight weeks, Caucasian, in good health and swiped in the same manner. Danno mentions a problem that "threw us off" with another baby missing at the same time but that child turned up in a hospital: a birth defect of a withered arm. McGarrett proposes to think of the children as strictly merchandise and the baby with the bad arm was returned because it wouldn't bring as much money. McGarrett believes they're looking at a "snatch and sell" scheme. Danno points out even if this is what is going on, paperwork would have to be done and channels gone through because the adoptive parents would never feel secure. McGarrett is counting on that and wants every adoption agency in the country contacted looking for Hawaiian babies born in the last six months adopted out and they'll need to use the Washington computer bank to begin their search.

Che shows them footprints from Los Angeles and the footprints of Andy Empson from Honolulu with a birth date of 1/13/72. The fingerprints match too. They now have an agency where Andy was taken but they have nothing on the Oranger baby but that child went through the same adoption agency. The state of California doesn't have the authority to take the prints and the parents have refused. Being six months ago, the adoption is final but McGarrett and Ben will go anyway to dig deeper into what's going on.

McGarrett and Ben arrive in Los Angeles with McGarrett taking a cab to High View Children's Home. Going inside, McGarrett immediately runs into Goodman ensuring he has the right person, pulls his badge out. Goodman leads him into his office where McGarrett starts in immediately asking about the arranged adoption for Mr. and Mrs. James Halloran and the final adoption for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mills (Norman DuPont; Jane Adrian). Goodman says they have assisted in the adoption of over 200 infants in the last year, a matter of public record. Goodman claims to be legitimate as the children his clients want are "harder to obtain" yet they get them. Goodman goes on to say they do reimburse the mother for her medical expenses but to buy a child is illegal. McGarrett keeps pressing stating the child in the Halloran adoption was kidnapped in Hawaii ten day ago and they have the footprints and fingerprints to prove it. Goodman is taken aback not realizing what he was dealing with. As he looks up the records, Goodman tells McGarrett he didn't deal with the mother but rather young couple acting on her behalf. McGarrett wonders if the same couple didn't go to him six months prior and wants Goodman to look up those records too. Goodman suddenly refuses without a court order but McGarrett is already armed pulling it out for Goodman. Goodman is in a world of hurt and they both know it as he pulls the records for the Mills baby as well.

Act Three

Ben is at the Mills house taking the prints. The parents are frantic and the baby is completely upset. Once the prints are taken, Ben begins comparing the sets and they match. A sad result for everyone involved because it will be up to the courts to decide.

Gar and Nina sail outside Honolulu finally coming in to talk to the owner (Walter Yong) who's looking to sell. He's firm on his price of $15,000 but Gar tries to talk him down and the guy won't budge.

McGarrett and Ben return with Andy Empson in tow! McGarrett drives up to the house where the couple enthusiastically takes him from the nurse.

In the lab, Che is working on the printing of the forged documents discovering a match in the typeface. He immediately calls Danno who goes to the place, Speedoprint, with Chin. They go inside to talk to the printer (Moe Keale) who is not enthused to see them. Keale has been straight or four years but Danno threatens him with a charge of kidnapping if he doesn't cooperate "and fast". Keale goes on to describe a guy who came in paying "heavy bread" for the documents as a "freaky guy, jungle type" but he was always alone. Noting the dates on the documents was two weeks ago; Danno asks if he's seen the guy since. Keale tells them he ordered another birth certificate a couple of days ago and he picked it up this morning! Danno knows they'll have a third kidnapping on their hands running out to call it in. In the meantime, Keale is taken to HPD to give a full description and the sketch is distributed throughout HPD patrol units.

Gar sits in a car as Nina canvases the neighborhood. Nina rings the doorbell of a house where a lady (Jana Lindan) answers and Nina gives a total bull song about a phony fundraiser. As the woman leaves, Nina sees a baby in a swing on the back lanai. The woman gives a donation and Nina walks to Gar to report where the baby is. They split up as Gar sneaks around back to swipe the kid and Nina returns to the front door on the false pretense to give a receipt of the donation so the woman doesn't realize her daughter has been kidnapped until it's all over!

Act Four

A couple walks through the airport with a baby gaining Danno's attention and McGarrett's order to Ben to intercept. However, the intercept is fruitless because it's not Gar and Nina. Chin laughs at Ben's moment of embarrassment from the upper level. McGarrett believes they'll try again and may not be aware Goodman is under indictment for child buying.

Gar yells into a pay phone wanting to talk to Goodman but Goodman refuses. Meanwhile, Carrie is screaming no matter what Nina tries. Nina is worried the police know what they're doing and while Gar is almost in a panic, he finds his confidence telling her they'll "fake them out".

Nina arrives at the airport without the baby asking for a single ticket to Los Angeles in coach. She goes to the upper level to wait for Gar who walks in shortly after her. His hair is tucked up in a straw hat and he's wearing sunglasses trying to not look like himself but McGarrett isn't necessarily fooled as he nods to Danno and they slowly move in. Nina screams as Gar before Chin arrests her but it's too late, Gar takes off running. He throws his duffel bag toward Danno who jumps from the escalator to the stairs to keep up the chase. McGarrett is bringing up the rear as they run to the upper level with Nina tight in Chin's hold. Gar scoots the basket he's been carrying toward Danno who stops to find Carrie inside. McGarrett keeps up the chase finally cornering Gar outside the terminal as Ben and two HPD officers help to apprehend Gar. Once inside the terminal, they admit to giving her a sedative so Danno leaves to have the baby checked by a doctor. McGarrett tells the others, "book 'em," meaning Gar and Nina face a future in 6x8 prison cells. So much for freedom!

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

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