Hawaii Five-O: Season 4, Episode 20

Cloth of Gold (8 Feb. 1972)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.1
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At a birthday party, the guest of honor suddenly suffocates after getting a card saying this is his last birthday. The dead man is one of three partners in a shady real estate business with... See full summary »

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Title: Cloth of Gold (08 Feb 1972)

Cloth of Gold (08 Feb 1972) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
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...
Zulu ...
Kam Fong ...
Jason Evers ...
Wallis
...
Akamai
Jay Robinson ...
Mingo
William Valentine ...
Manoa
Al Eben ...
Doc
Harry Endo ...
John Hunt ...
Dr. Pell
Arte McCollough ...
Nakamura
Cathy Musket ...
Donna
Shannan Kincaid ...
Eadie
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Storyline

At a birthday party, the guest of honor suddenly suffocates after getting a card saying this is his last birthday. The dead man is one of three partners in a shady real estate business with a reputation for swindling its customers. Five-O's investigation intensifies after a second partner gets a similar threat. When the second partner turns up dead, McGarrett knows he is running out of time to solve the case. Written by Bill Koenig

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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8 February 1972 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Nakamura: Five years on the force and I wind up guarding a fishbowl.
2nd Police Officer: [seeing 2 dead fish] You haven't been doing too good of a job, look.
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User Reviews

 
Gloomy Episode Partially Redeemed by Some Eye-Catching Backdrops
1 February 2009 | by (Ukiah, California) – See all my reviews

If ever there were an episode of the show that would make real estate salespeople squirm, it's this one. While is has perhaps even more than the usual complement of outdoor shots of steep, vegetation-covered cliffs, blue skies, crashing surf, and palm trees -- and some underwater shots too, along with scenes filmed on a sailboat -- it's also about a trio of shady real estate salesmen (Jay Robinson, Ray Danton, and Jason Evers -- three familiar character actors who routinely played heavies) who have gotten wealthy by selling marginal Hawaiian land sight-unseen to gullible purchasers, while always managing to stay just this side of being legal.

In some ways, this episode resembles the previous season's "Paniolo," another segment that showed off the islands' natural beauty but was weighed down with a sense of foreboding. Each of the trio gets a death threat of some kind, and as the bodies pile up, there's palpable gloom hanging over the proceedings -- even as, ironically, the principals are surrounded by such lovely backdrops.

The producers go out of their way to lace the narrative with some fairly heavy-handed clues, and the killer's identity, along with an equally-depressing motive, is also revealed relatively early for a "whodunnit" episode. For once, though, it's Kono who figures out the cause of the mysterious deaths, way ahead of our usual forensic specialists Che Fong or Doc Bergman -- despite being the target of some surprisingly racist comments by Evers' character. Gilbert Zoulou (as 'Zulu' later came to give his name) took on a more prominent role in his later episodes on the show, and it's regrettable that he was dropped from the cast (for reasons never definitively explained) just as his character was coming into his own.

A few other oddities: first, Jay Robinson's character 'Mingo' is killed in the teaser, and his foot is later shown in the medical examiner's office with a toe tag reading "8/3/71" (which might have been about when this episode was really filmed). The second death threat goes to Fred Akamai (Ray Danton's character) with the warning that he's going to die on September 10, which we're told is "tomorrow." That means that more than a month in "story time" elapsed without Five-O developing a single solid lead! Also, in contrast to Kono, Danny Williams (James MacArthur) seems surprisingly obtuse -- not only does he denigrate Kono's theories about marine toxins that ultimately prove correct, he also doesn't make any effort to examine some videotapes that turn out to contain an important clue -- and this despite being told by Evers' Stu Wallace character that the videotapes might get Wallace "pinched for pornography."

Maybe that's why, after McGarrett spends the middle portion of the episode off-camera doing things like attending a budget hearing, he elbows Kono and Danny aside and takes the helm to pursue the suspect in the closing moments (including a showy leap from one boat to another). All in all, despite the more prominent role for Kono, this is a downer of an episode, up to and including its final freeze-frame.


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