S07E13 - “Hara-Kiri: Murder” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)


Act One

Two men leave the Byodo-In Temple in a hurry with one running toward a started car. The monk (Shinsho Jo) walks into the temple only to make a gruesome discovery: a man has committed hara-kiri. When Doc (Al Eben) is on scene later, he confirms it appears to be hara-kiri and explains to Ben the different parts: the ceremonial robe, the dagger and the sambo, which is a grooved 'tray' to carry the dagger and sake. Doc goes on saying it's a mark of "additional courage" to not drink sake prior to committing ritual suicide. When Chin shows up, he wonders why Five-O has been called with Ben saying the victim is Mitsuru Matsukata who was the head of the Honolulu branch of Nippon International Bank of Tokyo. Chin is still confused but Doc lays it out: when a big banker knocks himself off, a lot of people should be worrying especially bank examiners.

McGarrett and Danno go to speak to the Japanese Consulate Mr. Hata (Andrew J. Sato) with Professor Ramon Borelle (Ossie Davis) also present. Consul Hata tells them Matsukata held a unique position in international trade, had few close friends of which Professor Borelle was one and he was a widower with his only surviving relatives in Japan. McGarrett asks the professor if he knew Matsukata well with Professor Borelle explaining they both majored in International Trade at the London School of Economics. He says Matsukata went onto a "practical" career in banking while the professor dealt with the "theoretical aspects". He also confirms Nippon International Bank of Tokyo is one of largest in the world dealing with foreign trade with large cash transfers via coded cables. McGarrett tells them there are some men at the bank waiting on bank examiner's audit, which gains Professor Borelle's attention instantly. Consul Hata tells McGarrett Matsukata was a direct descendant of the samurai and that puts him above suspicion in the eyes of most Japanese. The consul also says Matsukata's suicide will have wide repercussions and the true motive must be found. Professor Borelle offers his help to get to the bottom of "this tragedy" taking his leave telling McGarrett he'll be at the Regent Hotel. Professor Borelle steps outside to a waiting limousine driven by the same guy who drove away from the temple earlier!

At Nippon International Bank, Danno and Chin meet with a man (John Fujioka) who took over Matsukata's office where he found several papers in the desk including the appointment calendar and address book. The man calls in Miss Whitmore (Lynne Ellen Hollinger) who was Matsukata's secretary and has agreed to stay on. He asks her if Five-O can take the paperwork with her telling Shibata that Five-O can have them because she has duplicate records of all appointments. Shibata hands over the paperwork with Danno telling Chin to give him a receipt and to take the books to McGarrett to find out who Matsukata saw and spoke to recently. As well, he has Miss Whitmore stay back for a minute asking her if she has any idea as to the why behind his suicide, which she has no idea. Danno then asks about Matsukata's personal life: he didn't have any as the only people he was around were the people at this temple. Ben walks in saying the bank examiners have so far found nothing amiss. Shibata explains he's been assistant manager under Matsukata for five years and at no time did he recall Matsukata doing anything "questionable". Danno then asks Shibata's take on suicide with the answer being Shibata is of a younger generation than Matsukata and the older generation do not look at suicide as a crime.

As Danno and Ben are on their way to the temple, Danno talks to McGarrett through a radio phone patch. McGarrett wants them to check the monk's story one more time as Danno asks if Chin showed up with Matsukata's books yet. Chin walks into McGarrett's office just then with McGarrett telling him to run a check on Professor Borelle as he peruses Matsukata's books.

At the Hawaiian Regent, Professor Borelle meets with a man (Nelson D. Fair) saying the test of $250,000 worked and now it's time to go for $2 million with the man asking if it can really be done. The professor answers he's been planning this for five years: it'll work. Another problem: won't the cable codes be changed now that Matsukata is dead? Professor Borelle makes a phone call to George (James S. Ishida) for a cable: code 985, $30,000 to transfer to Afro-American Trading, signed Tokin, dated Wednesday May 19th at 9:30 a.m. George makes out the cable causing a telex in the bank to start typing. Miss Whitmore tears off the request handing it over to Shibata who notices the request is using an old code. He tells Whitmore to call Professor Borelle, which she does but she gives the professor a heads up the old code is out. Shibata, oblivious to the underhanded garbage he's surrounded by, tell the professor the new codes should be arriving from Tokyo via courier "soon" and apologizes for the inconvenience. Back at the Hawaiian Regent, Professor Borelle confidently tells his friend Shibata will give him the new codes.

Danno and Ben talk to the monk at the Byodo-In Temple and he tells them he didn't have any idea Matsukata was considering hara kiri. This stops them both: the monk saw him? The monk goes on saying he saw Matsukata every Thursday where Matsukata would arrive before dawn, change into his kimono and make his way into an isolated room for prayer and meditation. He also tells them the same closet that held his clothes, also held the instruments for "seppuku" and not considered unusual because Matsukata was a direct descendant of the samurai. The monk is confused about one thing: Matsukata didn't use his tatami, the ceremonial mats. The monk explains it's customary to spread the mats first to prevent blood from spilling onto the temple floor, defiling it. Danno suspects he may have forgotten the mats because of "a high emotional state" but the monk dismisses the notion.

Professor Borelle visits Shibata at the bank asking when the new codes are expected. When Shibata says the codes should arrive tomorrow some time, the professor drops a bombshell request: he wants a copy of the codes. Professor Borelle tells him when Matsukata was alive; he was allowed a copy of the codes. Things go from bad to worse when the professor informs Shibata the bank is short $250,000 because the money was paid out due to forged cables and the professor's people has kidnapped Shibata's wife (Marika Yamato)! As well, Miss Whitmore is exposed to Shibata as working with Professor Borelle, so he has absolutely no recourse! They call where Shibata's wife is being held and she's scared telling him to do what they want or they'll kill her. The professor's plan is simple: Shibata will cooperate fully when the irregularity is found. All he wants is the codes and they will handle the rest. If the head cashier (Michael H. Oshiro) becomes suspicious, Afro-American Trading is expanding and calling in all available cash. Professor Borelle tells Shibata his wife will be fine as long as he cooperates!

Act Two

At the morgue, Doc briefs Danno and Ben how Matsukata died: in hara-kiri, the man puts the knife into the abdomen on the left side moving right and up with a single slice through the gut. In this case, the knife went across and back, doing it the hard and very painful way! Ben says Matsukata knew the traditional way as Doc says it doesn't matter, as the physical pain would be unbearable with the knife going back and forth and wouldn't necessarily be self-inflicted. The bottom line: Doc believes it's "highly improbable" Matsukata could stand the pain to make the cuts he found. The phone rings: McGarrett calls Danno about an upcoming meeting with Shibata to have Danno join them.

In McGarrett's office, Shibata explains how the cables and their codes work. He also tells them about $250,000 being cabled under fraudulent circumstances. McGarrett tries to understand how that was possible and Shibata explains the codes have to be "foolproof" because time is of the essence with the cables being honored "at once". Shibata gives them an example cable code showing how the numbers work even throughout the cable request. Certain numbers are assigned to things, such as the month and day and hour and minute. All these numbers must add up to "the master number" and therefore, the transfer is legitimate. They test one with an old code to show how it works. Once they work the math, Danno says it appears foolproof with McGarrett agreeing unless "someone steals the codes" which causes Shibata to tense. Shibata also explains the only person with the codes was the manager of the branch office, Matsukata but now it's him. Shibata goes on saying it's not as simple as it appears to find the stolen money: there is no one cable for $250,000 among the hundreds of authentic cables they receive every day. Shibata suspects there were several cables for smaller amounts and "it's impossible to check" until they have the duplicates from Japan, which are being brought by the same courier bringing in the new codes.

The courier (Herbert Kobayashi) arrives at Nippon International Bank where he asks about Shibata. Miss Whitmore offers to accept the case but the courier refuses saying the case must be delivered to Shibata personally. She offers to allow him to wait in Shibata's office that he does then she calls Professor Borelle to let him know the new codes have arrived.

Later, Shibata locks the codes in the safe as Danno and Ben watch. He then explains how he handles incoming cables, double-checking the codes and authorizing the head cashier to pay the amount no matter how large as they only deal with large sums. Danno asks who else knows the safe combination but Shibata is the only one. When Danno suggests bring in Che (Harry Endo) to check out the safe, Shibata is quick to ask why but Danno assures him they may find something yet. Miss Whitmore walks in with the fake cables as they have been found: four of them made out to South Pacific Imports represented by Walter Hutchins. Shibata gives a description at Miss Whitmore's nonverbal prompting. Once Danno and Ben leave, Miss Whitmore tells Shibata he's doing fine and to keep it up.

Danno and Ben rush to the address of South Pacific Imports only to find nothing!

In the same building as Nippon International Bank, Professor Borelle has his friend from the hotel put through the first cable of $200,000 saying they need to have them used to large sums up front. The first cable is sent and received.

In the laboratory, Che messes with a safe and a magnet as Danno and Chin walk in. McGarrett is tied up with the governor and Japanese Consul so Che goes ahead giving Danno a radio telling him to go to the door with his back to Che. He tells Danno he'll hear higher and lower pitched clicks and to write down the number of each. When Danno's ready, Che conducts his experiment opening the safe. The higher pitch is left, the lower pitch is to the right as Che challenges him to open the safe and he does! Che pulls the magnet showing the bug, one with a range of one-quarter of a mile. Asking if he found a bug, Che says he found the remains of one. Danno puts it together: Matsukata found it, removed it and probably had a good idea who put it there. Matsukata didn't commit suicide, hara-kiri, seppuku: "just plain old-fashioned murder".

Act Three

Danno goes to see Shibata again with Shibata not knowing who would want to kill Matsukata. Danno says it was whoever planted the bug but Shibata comments they have their money but this is exactly the point: they're sticking around for more. Shibata tells Danno embezzlers and killers don't go together but Danno answers, "oh yes they do, if the price is high enough". Miss Whitmore walks in with another cable from Afro-American before Danno asks for the four phony cables. Shibata agrees telling Whitmore to call the head cashier. Danno leaves but knows something is amiss.

Outside the bank, Danno meets up with Chin and Ben as McGarrett wants a 24-hour tail on both Shibata and Whitmore. Danno says it makes sense because Shibata and Whitmore were most likely the ones who planted the bug. As well, Shibata had the most to gain, as he would insure access to the codes. But Danno isn't sure if he's in with the crooks or not but the way Shibata acts is not setting well with Danno.

Shibata talks to his wife Helen assuring he's doing everything he can. Professor Borelle pushes for the payments to be made to Afro-American Trading but Shibata is certain someone will become suspicious due to the large figures being asked for. Professor Borelle is certain Shibata will do everything necessary to make sure the payments go through. Shibata relents as more cables come in.

In McGarrett's office, something is bugging him but he's not sure what. When Danno asks about calling Tokyo, McGarrett checks the time: 10:00 a.m. in Honolulu making it 5:00 a.m. in Tokyo. Rather than five hours behind, they're actually 19 hours ahead of Honolulu due to the International Date Line making Tuesday in Honolulu, Wednesday in Tokyo. It's this realization that McGarrett discovers what's bugging him: one of the phony cable dates is wrong! A 9:00 p.m. cable sent on the 19th was received on the 18th when it was actually received the 19th as well. McGarrett figures someone local is sending the cables and wants the office occupants checked in the building starting with the newer ones first. He puts Danno on the task and to get help if needed. Chin walks in saying there isn't much on Ann Whitmore and she was hired based on one man's recommendation: Professor Borelle!

Danno, Chin and Ben go to the building office to find out who their newest tenants are. The agent (Coralie Vellis) tells Danno only five people have signed leases in the last year. She also gives them a floor plan to help in their search. Meantime, the professor's people have wrapped their operations and drag out the telex machine loading it into a van. Danno, Chin and Ben go over the list of the new tenants looking at "Wilton Hatcher" really hard with Danno wondering if it's an alias for Walter Hutchins. They head to the office for him after Chin gets the master key: 1206. Danno tells Ben to stake it out and call for HPD backup.

Later, Ben and Nick (Daniel Kamekona) stake out the room but there isn't any activity. Danno checks with them just to be certain as Chin shows up with the master key. They're ready for anything but only see an empty room with a phone on the floor! Chin laments about finding yet another empty office while Danno looks around finding a wall tile out of place. Investigating further, he finds where the tap-in happened.

Act Four

In Shibata's office, he tells Professor Borelle he's nuts to ask for more knowing there is already close to $2 million already diverted. Shibata explains Five-O has found the tap-in and notified the main bank in Tokyo and due to the situation, Shibata cannot authorize payment to anyone. The professor believes he's "above suspicion" and calmly explains the last transfer is for the men holding Helen: if they don't get paid, no telling what will happen to her. Shibata reluctantly agrees to the transfer but reiterates he is to be taken to Helen upon payment. Professor Borelle intended to do that the whole time.

The head cashier calls McGarrett telling him about the latest payment and saying the professor just left with the cash. McGarrett sets Danno on it, as they know Professor Borelle is making "his big move". Danno runs out taking Chin and Ben with him.

Professor Borelle calmly walks out of the bank to his buddy from the hotel. They drive out to the school with Whitmore and Shibata on the way there. The plan for the Shibatas: George and Shigo will "take care of them". Meantime, Danno and Chin are a step behind discovering Professor Borelle checked out of his hotel but no travel arrangements. Their next stop: the bank and Shibata. However, Ben finds Whitmore driving Shibata toward The Hawaii School for Girls.

At the bank, Danno and Chin find out Shibata is nowhere to be found but one of the tellers saw him leave with Whitmore and they were in a hurry. Danno and Chin leave to try to track them down. McGarrett radios Danno with the information Ben passed to him and he and Chin head that way. As McGarrett radios Ben, Professor Borelle's limousine passes Ben's position but continues anyway. Ben reports the professor and another man have arrived and entered a school building. Danno asks about the school and there's no problem: summer vacation. McGarrett calls Central to have HPD units converge on the area but for silent approach.

Danno, Chin, Ben and several HPD officers arrive and move in to take down the gang. Danno directs Ben and some officers to go around the back as he sends another pair of HPD officers around the garage. Danno takes the front stairs with Chin covering him. Inside, Shibata tells the professor there are lots of places he can go where no one could touch him. Professor Borelle explains that was the original idea until Matsukata found the bug and ruined Plan A. As Danno climbs the stairs, one creaks under foot making everyone inside jump. However, he moves quickly to the door as George makes a run out back only to be stopped by Ben. Tow HPD officers force the professor and Shigo against the wall as Chin grabs Whitmore and the professor's buddy. Danno checks on the Shibatas knowing he only did what they wanted because they were holding Helen. Danno checks out the cases and radios into McGarrett as the gang is taken out. He says, "it's a wrap-up". McGarrett nearly bursts with pride, "good job, Danno. Good job."

This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker 2020. No reproduction of any kind without permission.


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