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Hawaii Five-0 boss: The team weighs its legacy in season 7

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Norman Shapiro/CBS

Following McGarrett’s near-death experience, the upcoming seventh season of Hawaii Five-0 will explore the team’s legacy.

“McGarrett is contemplating his mortality and the choices he’s made,” EP Peter M. Lenkov tells EW, noting that family plays an important role this year — Kono (Grace Park) possibly starting her own with Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), Danny’s (Scott Caan) relationship with his children, and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) potentially adopting his niece. Below, Lenkov previews what’s next for the team:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where does the new season pick up?

PETER LENKOV: It picks up two weeks after McGarrett and Danny’s surgery. Usually it would be a direct pick up — we do that most years — but this time a few weeks have gone by.

How is McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) different?

Usually we open with a big action sequence — last year we did pirates attacking the island — and this is a very more dramatic start to the new season. McGarrett is contemplating his mortality, contemplating the choices he’s made, and, following his near-death experience, really weighing the checks and balances of his life and looking at the cost of his job and what it has taken away from him. I think people, when they go through this kind of experience, start to say, “Is it worth it?” That’s where he starts the season.

What does the new team dynamic look like, especially with the addition of Claire Forlani?

Her character is really introduced in the second episode and our guys go to her for her expertise. She’s dealt with serial killers in the past and this is something that our guys have some experience with, but they’re not profilers by any means, so they go to her for some help. She’s working for a couple episodes, and hopefully it’s somebody that we could bring back in the near future after this story ends in episode 4.

Is her relationship with McGarrett purely professional?

Yeah, I think it’s purely professional. In the fourth episode, they are in a lot of situations where they’re very intimate, where the two of them are fighting for their lives. Out of that always comes a connection with somebody, so I’m hoping there could be something. I don’t know about a love interest, but I’m hoping those two bond over their experience and it’s somebody that he could go to. Especially with her experience as a psychologist or a profiler, she may be able to get into his head and understand him like no other woman has. I’m hoping there is some chemistry that we can mine and go back to down the road.

What brings Catherine (Michelle Borth) back?

She’s coming back in the 150th episode and it’s a mythology episode that is going to wrap up a lot of story lines. I think people are interpreting it like it’s her coming back into the relationship and starting all over again, but I just don’t think that can happen after all that these two have gone through. Her relation to the story is more plot driven than reigniting that relationship.

What are we going to be seeing for Danny this season?

One of the things that we’re having fun with is Danny is the father of a full-blown teenager, so that is going to occupy a lot of his time in terms of managing crises outside of the workplace. She’s going to have her first boyfriend, but he’s going to try and find out who the boyfriend is and it’s going to be an interesting storyline that’s going to arc over a couple episodes. There is still a connection to Claire, still a connection to Lilly, who has been in and out of his life. We’re going to mine that, but first and foremost I think his relationship with his daughter is going to change, because she’s now a teenager and she’s going to be even more rebellious than she was last year.

What are we seeing for Adam and Kono this season?

Just that there’s happy times ahead. Those two have had such a rough, rocky road that it’s time that they have some good in their life, so that’s what we’re going to give them. He is going to come out [of prison] in episode 5. He’s a guy coming out with nothing. He’s going to have to start from scratch, so it will be interesting to see what he does and how he spends his days. He’s definitely trying to avoid trouble because of his past.

In our finale interview, you mentioned legacy being a theme this year — what does that specifically mean for Kono?

With Adam, they did talk last year at the beginning of the season about maybe having a child. When you think about your life, it’s more than your career and she’s looking at her life and her life with him, and realizing how fleeting life is. She may want to start a family, she may start considering that.

How is Chin feeling about potentially being a father?

That’s an interesting story. That’s a pretty big storyline for us for the first half of the season. He’s been spending a lot of time with [his niece], he’s grown very fond of her, they have this great relationship, and she sees him as an uncle, as somebody who is family. He’s going to discover in the first episode that the family in Mexico, her mom’s family, they want her and they are taking legal steps to adopt her. It’s going to be a little bit of Chin trying to resist that and that’s going to be interesting because he’s grown very fond of this girl. I don’t think he wants to send her to a place that he’s not comfortable not knowing any of the people’s background. It’s going to be a little bit of a tug of war for this little girl.

What does that do to his relationship with Abby? And how much will Julie Benz play a role since she has another show?

Yeah, I know that’s the big thing for us. We have her in the first episode. We keep putting her in episodes and we have scheduling conflicts with her other day job, so the most important thing is that she moved to the island, they are living together, she’s joined HPD, they’re going to run into each other on cases. She’s not a member of Five-0, but she is a member of law enforcement in Hawaii. She’s got her own identity and we’re hoping to use her as much as we can.

Will we see any new team members coming in at all?

There is going to be a new M.E. at the beginning of the season filling in for Max (Masi Oka) until Max returns from his sabbatical. Max returns in the Halloween episode. Anybody that watches the show knows that Max has never missed dressing up for Halloween, and he’s definitely going to be there for that. He’s going to comeback a little bit changed from his experience. He’s a little bit wiser, less of an outsider. Spending time dealing with people has made him a more well-rounded character, so it’s fun playing this guy as he’s evolved over the years, but more so in the last few months since he left on that sabbatical.

What can you tease about the new M.E.?

Max didn’t get the joke a lot of times and I think this woman does. She’s more of a people person. She definitely has that personality where she’s not on the outside. Even though he’s family, even though he’s someone that everyone loves, Max is on the outside despite the fact that he’s always on the inside. He always felt like he was on the outside. I think she fits in very easily in character.

What can you say about what the big threat is this season? Who is the new villain?

Just to go to the serial killer thing, for me it’s not even the serial killer, I basically wanted to do Jaws — like be afraid to go into the water, all I could think was being afraid to come to the island. There’s a threat on the island and it’s actually going to affect tourism, which is the biggest revenue. The idea was, “How do you do Jaws in Hawaii?” You put a threat there where people are afraid to leave their rooms, people are afraid to come to the island. That’s an arc that’s over four episodes, but the person behind it is not going to be caught. That’s somebody who’s still going to be in the wind, so I’m hoping that someone can come back closer to the second half, or closer to the end of the season, in order to wrap that storyline up. There’s a storyline with Chin Ho with his niece that’s going to introduce a new bad in our new world. And there’s not one [villain]. There are a couple people that we’re going to up against that will have multiple episodes of bigger storylines. But there isn’t one necessarily that is going to arc over the course of the season. It’s really a couple that we’re going to be facing.

What about Shioma?

The plan is to wrap up the story, but I don’t think we’re going to be doing it until the second half of the season.

Can you tease what Wo-Fat’s father wants from McGarrett and when you will pick up that storyline?

He generally wanted to forgive him for having killed his son and I don’t think there’s an agenda there, but I think there’s going to be some surprises about his character that are going to come out in the 150th episode. But it’s not like he’s a bad guy. In that episode, he wanted to forgive the man that killed his son, but I don’t want to say anything more because the 150th episode is a big mythology episode that will explain everything, or at least help explain most everything.

Christine Lahti is back too. What will she be doing?

Getting into trouble, but also giving her son some much needed answers. But the good thing is, for a good chunk of the episode, mother and son will be working together. That’s going to force them into a situation where they’re going to have to talk.

How does the new governor feel about the team?

In the first episode, there is a line where she says the former Governor gave her two pieces of advice: One of them is to always bring a second copy of a speech to any speaking engagement, and the second is never underestimate the Five-0 task force, so I think she is going to give them her full support. She believes in them, but the relationship is off to a rocky start in the first episode because they do not resolve this thing in the first episode, it takes awhile. But that relationship is going to be earned over time.

Any chance for wedding bells on the show this year?

There’s going to be a surprise wedding, but I can’t tell you who it is. One of the characters gets married, but I don’t want to give that too much away.

Hawaii Five-0 returns Friday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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