Season 5.05, “Legacy” (Ho’oilina), is written by Eric Guggenheim and directed by Bryan Spicer. Over the past 4 seasons, we have been learning of who John McGarrett is via snippets or flashbacks and last night’s episode was no exception. It was a glimpse of what John McGarrett’s legacy is to his son. Legacy is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”
Peter M. Lenkov, executive producer and show runner says, “It is critical to develop a character’s backgrounds.” He added, “We tend to tease out the details of our heroes’ lives over time, but we always have a strong sense of they are as the storylines develop.” When talking about John McGarrett’s character, “It was important that the writers created a John McGarrett, not only because so much of whom Steve is as a person, but because Steve is a result of how his relationship was with his father and because his murder was, in so many ways, the catalyst for the series.”
You Have His Eyes
Steve was told “You have his eyes,” twice over the past seasons — S2.0, “Ha’i’ole” when he met Hideki Makoto and last night S5.05, when he encountered Ellie Clayton. It figuratively means “the inescapable link of family.” But it also shows that Steve has the inescapable link to his father. But who is John McGarrett? How much of John as a figure is in Steve? Just more questions.
So who better to describe John McGarrett, than John McGarrett?
For the past four seasons and going into the fifth, William Sadler has played Steve McGarrett’s father, John. “We got to see a glimpse, not only of John’s courage in the face of almost certain death, but also in his love for his son and the awful regrets there were from so many things he wished he’d said and now would never get to say. I wanted John’s impact to carry on through the season after he was gone, giving Steve a ‘real’ father that he wished he’d gotten to know. And I think it worked.” Sadler adds, “Now, five seasons later, John McGarrett has evolved into a very real person in Steve’s life. A flawed and loving father…they have a history now. They’ve ‘communicated’ with each other over the years. Each flash back has filled in a little more of the puzzle about who he was and why he did what he did. Lots of questions have been answered and new ones keep popping up.”
When William Sadler met Peter Lenkov for the first time, he explained to him that John McGarrett was a part of the “mythology” of Hawaii Five 0. “I like that idea. Our myths are what give life and meaning and purpose.” He continues, “We all stand on our father’s shoulders to some degree so if my ‘John’ has added that element to the show, then I’m proud of that.”
What is John McGarrett’s Legacy to Steve?
John McGarrett may have passed down a lot to his children (although it remains to be seen), especially to his son. But one thing is for certain, that last night the indisputable legacy was John’s quest for the truth and for justice. That was something he had certainly passed down to his son. And by solving his father’s unsolved case, Steve was able to fulfill his father’s legacy by finding out the truth of who actually killed Paul Clayton and by giving closure and justice to his daughter Ellie.