S09E16 - “Dealer's Choice - Blackmail” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)

Act One

Several fancy cars drive to a house with one guy (John Ritter) parking his green VW van on the street. A doorman (John Kameenui) checks everyone for their invitations but the guy knocks a lady's purse out of her hands in order to sneak in. Inside, it's gambling galore. Outside, one man (Ernest Chan) tells his cohort to take his position but to go slow: they're police ready to take down the illegal den. Sergeant Tatupu radios McGarrett that they're about to move in. McGarrett and Danno are driving down the street and they head to the "brick mansion on Old Pali Road". McGarrett reminds Danno of the DiBlasio murder: "the tourist who discovered he couldn't just walk away from his gambling debts". They may have a line on the guy running the big operation.

At the den, a man (Nehemiah Persoff) calls for Sammy (Michael Morgan) wants the blackjack dealer at table two pulled but everything else "couldn't be better". Meantime, the guy with the VW van plays at the craps table rolling a big score as the police move in! Everyone stays put but the guy somehow sneaks out! In the office, Sammy and his boss grab a bunch of money and paperwork running out the back as the guy who snuck out runs through the greenery. However, Sergeant Tatupu sees him and makes the guy stop only to be run over by Sammy's boss who is driving like a bat out of hell to escape the raid! The guy takes off leaving Sergeant Tatupu in the grass!

McGarrett and Danno arrive on scene in time for Sergeant Tatupu to die in front of McGarrett saying he loves his wife. McGarrett becomes emotional because he's known Sergeant Tatupu for at least 20 years. Chin says they don't have enough to go on but the lab technicians are on the way out. They have to figure out where the car came from, as they believe it was someone trying to avoid the bust. The only witness according to Bart (Barton McCullough) was the guy Sergeant Tatupu was walking over to cuff: "kid in his 20s. Medium build, dark hair". McGarrett tells Danno to get a few HPD units to canvass the neighborhood to get more information on the witness and/or the car. He then wants Chin to take the house apart and work with Che.

At a small airport, a Cessna 310 comes to a stop in a parking spot. The pilot (Joe Moore) drops off his passengers as he asks Stu the mechanic (Rap Reiplinger) if he's seen Mike but nothing until he pulls up. Mike is the kid in the VW van! Mike runs up apologizing to Jed with Jed saying he needs Mike there if they're going to make it. Mike tries to quit but Jed won't hear of it, especially since Sandi Welles (Amanda McBroom), Mike's sister, did a "con job" to have Jed hire him in the first place! Jed is Sandi's boyfriend and she's "been picking up the vibes" that Mike isn't doing what he needs to be. Mike tells her again his gambling days are behind him but she worries anyway. She is supposed to take a flying lesson from Jed that day but she's been called in, however, Mike offers to give her next lesson if Jed isn't available. As she leaves, she notices a guy (John Duke Russo) watching everything go down.

McGarrett visits Sergeant Tatupu's widow Rose (Emma Veary) who is obviously emotionally wrought over his death. McGarrett comforts her the best he can, telling her it happened quickly and he thought of her at the end. He offers his help to her and their kids before leaving.

Act Two

The main man is in his office at his business at Surf & Sand International wondering how the cops got tipped. The man wants everything shut down in Hawaii: Honolulu, Maui and the Big Island. He also gives Sammy a ticket to Las Vegas to start over with instructions to Lou Walsh who will meet Sammy at the airport. It's this or death as Palua is "playing the percentages" so Sammy can't identify Palua as driving the car later.

In McGarrett's office, he has a map of the house and grounds and they suspect the car came out of the garage. McGarrett surmises whoever was in the back room ran around the house, jumped in the car and took off no matter who was in the way. The lab came up with nothing in the back room. Danno says the only thing they have is from a pedestrian two blocks from the house who saw a black luxury car speed down the highway at the time of the raid. The canvas turned up nothing on the witness with Duke adding the house is owned by a California developer who rents it on a short-term basis to vacationers but the lessee's name was a phony. McGarrett tells Duke to run a check on all the dealers picked up at the raid and to check into the invitations to see if any print shop did the job. McGarrett then asks Danno where the invitations are coming from: all over the place as bartenders and waitresses are handing them out at various locations. Sandi walks in on McGarrett's summons and he tells her about Sergeant Tatupu as Mike drives to his place.

Back in McGarrett's office, he tells Sandi all the witnesses have been interviewed except the women and hopes Sandi can help as some are frightened and others are hostile. McGarrett also asks her how her flying lessons are going. As Sandi leaves, Mike arrives home as Willy waits for him. Willy is looking for the $10,000 Mike owes on his previous gambling debts. Willy gives him 48 hours to come up with all the money as he's done taking payments. Willy threatens Mike with bodily harm if he doesn't pay up.

Sandi questions one woman (Merrie Leuders) who is less than cooperative as their vacation only lasts a few more days. She wants to pay a fine and be on her way but Sandi explains it's not that simple, as a police officer has been killed. In the middle of questioning, Mike calls for a favor: a lookup on a license plate 6B-4913. He claims the jerk ran into a trailer full of parts and damaged some of them. Sandi is reluctant but agrees to look up the plates. She calls Harry in auto registration to find the owner: Surf and Sand International.

In McGarrett's office, one of the dealers (Earl Kingston) admits to running the craps table but he's not helping on anything else after consulting with his lawyer. Danno tells Joey that isn't smart especially in light of being in violation of his parole. Joey isn't forgetting and McGarrett tells him no plea-bargaining will succeed unless he gives them some answers. Joey tells them a voice on the phone hired him and his name was Sammy Crane. Joey says someone else was running things "from upstairs" but he never heard a name or saw a face. McGarrett tells Danno to dig up what he can on Sammy and tells Joey to not leave town. Danno escorts Joey out.

At Surf and Sand International, Palua gives a letter to his secretary (Deborah Takushi) that has to go out that night. Mike nonchalantly hangs out watching the goings on. He goes to a nearby pay phone where he calls in to speak to Palua with the secretary transferring the call about "the accident". Mike tells Palua what he knows down to the fact he had a passenger in the car. Mike wants $10,000 no larger than $20s at the "old airstrip at Kapalili in two hours sharp". Before Palua can be threatening, Mike hangs up. Palua tells his goon (Rodney Arias) they'll pay him then kill him.

In McGarrett's office, Danno briefs on Sammy: "convictions for assault, armed robbery. Two arrests, but no convictions for murder. All that up to age 30. After that, it's been downhill all the way except the two years he spent here". McGarrett surmises he's been working for someone for those two years. Danno also checked with Sammy's landlord: moved out this morning, no forwarding address. As well, he doesn't own a black luxury sedan although he could have been a passenger, or the driver. McGarrett wants an APB on Sammy because he's not convinced he covered his tracks well.

Palua's goon is at the airstrip as Mike circles for a landing. Upon landing, Mike opens the door for the goon and hands him an envelope: instructions for the drop as Mike plays dumb about what's going on. The goon tells Mike to take him to Waipahu but there's no place to land but it doesn't matter.

Sandi looks through mug books at Five-O trying to figure out who she saw. Jed walks in as Sandi plain forgot they were supposed to go to lunch. She finally finds the man she's looking for: Willy Vance! He's the same Willy who visited Mike. Sandi takes Jed's hand and goes to R&I. Meanwhile, Mike completes a low flyby of a road in Waipahu for the drop as the goon tosses out the bag. Stu stands ready to retrieve it as the goon tries to get a good look at him but no success there. The goon tells Mike to turn around but Mike takes his sweet time so the goon can't get any information.

Act Three

The goon reports back to Palua and tells him what happened. Palua doesn't like it, "it's too pat". Palua tells the goon to keep an eye on Mike because the pilot must know more about what's going on. He tells the goon to find out who his friends are and if he spends big.

Stu and Mike meet at the business where Stu hands him the bag. Mike transfers the money to a different bag. As he gets done, Sandi and Jed confront him about his problems. Jed isn't any help to mike backing Sandi 100 percent "because I listen to her". Jed walks away leaving the siblings to work it out. Sandi demands the truth from Mike, especially about Willy Vance.

Danno and Chin talk to an acquaintance (Reri Jobe) of Sammy's and she tells them they never discussed business. She isn't super cooperative because she wants to keep her face aligned. Danno tells Ellie they will be extremely careful. She does tell them Sammy got his messages through Pat (Robert Luck) at the Kapiolani Parking Garage. Meanwhile, Mike comes clean with Sandi reassuring her he's going to quit gambling for good. However, he has to pay Willy off first and he's meeting him at Kapiolani Park at 2:00 p.m. Sandi wants a call afterward to make certain Mike is safe. He says he'll call.

Danno and Chin go to the parking garage to talk to Pat who says he took messages for Sammy but there were never any names. Most of the messages were short and sweet with the exception being from a woman talking real estate. She even tried to sell Pat a Kahala condo once. Pat wishes he could contact Sammy because the woman has been driving him nuts leaving a new number for her new office. Chin asks if he has the number and Pat gives it to him with Danno giving a quick once-over.

Mike buys a shave ice at Kapiolani Park but spots Palua's goon watching him. Mike takes off, hiding in a parked car. Later, Mike arrives at a house where a high-stakes poker game is being played. He puts down the $10,000 to be dealt in.

In McGarrett's office, Duke informs McGarrett Las Vegas police picked up Sammy that morning but he's not talking. There are no other new leads and the hopes of the witness stepping forward grow dimmer by the day. Danno walks in saying they traced the phone number to Marge Clayton (Jorie Remus) who McGarrett apparently knows based on the laughter from his team. Sandi is in the process of tracking her down and McGarrett threatens to put her on Danno if he doesn't behave!

Mike loses his shirt at the poker game with most of the $10,000 disappearing. The gambler (H. Lee) asks if he's in but Willy walks in looking for his money!

Act Four

Willy takes Mike out back for a beating where Mike talks him into taking double. Mike tells him about Sergeant Tatupu and how Mike is being paid to stay quiet about it. He offers Willy $20,000 because he knows he can get it. Willy gives him one last chance.

McGarrett and Sandi meet with Marge who laments about her girls starting a union. Marge tells them she had to find a new "hustle" so she went into real estate. She was more a go-between for Sammy as she would line up the places and if it met his boss' approval, she would be paid her commission plus some extra to keep quiet. If they didn't like the property, Sammy would return the key or have someone from Surf and Sand International drop it off. Marge excuses herself because she has some clients to meet. Sandi double-checks the description of the witness as they leave with McGarrett also telling her to check with him later. Sandi goes to a phone calling Jed at Pan-Island Tours checking Mike's story about being hit while hauling equipment but Jed knows nothing of any equipment. Mike isn't due for another hour as Sandi puts everything together due to the mention of Surf and Sand International.

In McGarrett's office, he dictates a letter to Jenny for Commissioner Brian Slevin, Royal Hong Kong Police. Sandi knocks on the door interrupting but McGarrett allows her to enter. While it isn't easy for her, she tells him she believes the witness is Mike. McGarrett has her sit. Meanwhile, Mike makes another blackmail call to Palua but this time there's a problem: Willy has told them what's going on! Palua pays Willy $10,000, the amount Mike owes, and offers a bonus but Willy declines. However, he asks that they apologize for him before killing Mike. Palua tells his goon to make sure Willy doesn't get any second thoughts.

In McGarrett's office, Sandi tells her story about looking up the plate for Mike and how his story sounded very plausible. She knows she was wrong for bending the rules but had no idea he would use to blackmail someone. McGarrett doesn't know who Mike is blackmailing only that it's going to be ugly and urges Sandi to get Mike professional help. They don't know where Mike is so everyone is going to be working on finding him: Sandi will start at his house. McGarrett buzzes Chin to get an address on Willy and pick him up.

Mike goes to the plane to fly back out to Kapalili airstrip. Meanwhile, Sandi rushes to Mike's apartment only he's not there but he's left her a note where he realizes he has a gambling problem and he promises to come back and face what he's done. Jed shows up asking her what's wrong.

Jimmy, Palua's goon, shows up at Willy's apartment but Chin and Duke bust in after him nailing two for the price of one! Afterward, McGarrett radios Sandi about the second blackmail attempt only this time Mike is flying into a trap! Everyone takes off for the Kapalili airstrip. As Mike is about to land, he revs the engine for a go-around due to the Marquis driving down the dirt runway! McGarrett gives chase to Palua who shoots at McGarrett. As Palua runs, McGarrett gets to the highest vantage point he can. Danno cuts off Palua in a Five-O car forcing him back up the fuel truck where McGarrett waits. The pair quickly surrounds Palua and he surrenders. Sandi and Jed arrive with Sandi asking McGarrett if Mike is safe but McGarrett's patience is at an end because Mike took off. However, Mike returns to the airstrip willing to turn himself in. McGarrett tells Sandi to "bring him in".

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

Main Page • Season Nine, this episode (S09E16)
Season 9 Quick Index • Next Season (Ten)