Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
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The Descent of the Torches 

In a rare episode to delve deeply into native-Hawaiian culture (the last episode for Alvin Sapinsley, the show's most daring writer and perhaps its best), McGarrett and company are called ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Herman Wedemeyer ...
Professor Alika Kalei
Philomena Underwood
George Atkins
Nephi Hannemann ...
Lee J. Lambert ...
John Hunt ...
Charles Underwood
Jimmy Enocencio ...
Lydia Jade ...
Mrs. Kalei
Kelii Taua ...
Bill Lacy ...
Helicopter pilot
Rex Wills II ...
Paul Lowry


In a rare episode to delve deeply into native-Hawaiian culture (the last episode for Alvin Sapinsley, the show's most daring writer and perhaps its best), McGarrett and company are called in when an archaeological dig on The Big Island reveals secret tunnels headed underneath the ocean, which could lead to the grave of King Kamehameha I. Or at least somebody believes so, donning a royal robe and mask to frighten off -- and later kill -- two members of the archaeological dig. This is a rare episode in which the killer is not revealed until the end; in fact, McGarrett has to mark the case as unsolved because the killer cannot be brought to justice. (See also "Invitation to a Murder," episode #10.20, from later this season.) Written by Peter Harris

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 October 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


About halfway through the episode, when McGarrett is speaking with Philomena Underwood (Geraldine Page) at her dig site, his arms are separated from his body when the shot is taken of him from the front, as though he had his hands on his hips, but in the reverse angles taken from behind him, his arms are hanging down, directly against his body. See more »

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User Reviews

A bizarre episode with no real resolution...
8 October 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the only episode I can recall where Five-O really doesn't solve anything or prevent anything. And, at the end, they MIGHT know who the perpetrator was...or maybe they don't! Because of this, it's a weak episode, that's for sure.

The show starts with a guy dressed in a ceremonial Kahuna costume attacking an archaeologist in order to stop the expedition. Who is doing this any why? Well, it might be because the dig MIGHT be near the hidden final resting place of the famed Hawaiian king, Kamehameha. Oddly, after the archaeologist is later killed, McGarrett looks into the dead man's log and finds a drawing of his perpetrator in a Kahuna costume. I say ODDLY because throughout the run of the show, McGarrett has a picture almost exactly like this on the wall of his office (to the right of the exit) and yet he doesn't recognize the drawing in the log book! You'd think after nine seasons (with the drawing moving to McGarrett's temporary office during season 9) that he'd recognize it! Oh, well. Later, the trail seems to head to a crazy professor--but before McGarrett can prove anything, the professor is dead. There really is no investigation into how he died and McGarrett just assumes he was the killer. Based on flimsy evidence, this is a terrible ending and they wrapped everything up WAY too quickly. By the end, there were lots of loose ends that seemed to unresolved--and the final five minutes in the show should have been 20.

All in all, a very disappointing show. It is a real shame, as I liked some of the program--such as its being based in Hilo--which was a nice change of pace. But sloppy writing and the lack of a clear resolution (as well as McGarrett's abandoning the case at the end) make this one a major disappointment.

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