Hawaii Five-O: Season 3, Episode 17

To Kill or Be Killed (13 Jan. 1971)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 46 users  
Reviews: 1 user

A war hero back from Vietnam dies under mysterious circumstances. Was it a murder or a suicide? For McGarrett, finding the truth is no easy matter, as neither the victim's family nor the U.S. Army are willing to cooperate.



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Title: To Kill or Be Killed (13 Jan 1971)

To Kill or Be Killed (13 Jan 1971) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Zulu ...
Kam Fong ...
Brig. General Earl Rigney
Michael Rigney
Jack Rigney
Joy Bang ...
Gail Howard
Dorothy Green ...
Nancy Rigney
Philip Grayson ...
Lt. Bennett
Al Eben ...
Max Heller
Thomas McWilliams ...
Donald Weller ...
Rafe Bellamy
Glenn Cannon ...
Col. Franklin
Robert Dixon ...


A war hero back from Vietnam dies under mysterious circumstances. Was it a murder or a suicide? For McGarrett, finding the truth is no easy matter, as neither the victim's family nor the U.S. Army are willing to cooperate.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 January 1971 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Chin Ho: [Chin hands McGarrett a folder] It's the FBI kickback from the prints taken from the next door apartment.
Det. Steve McGarrett: Alan Croyden, Army Criminal Investigation Division.
Chin Ho: How about them pineapples.
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User Reviews

Surprisingly anti-war considering that the show was probably considered by many to be quite "square".
27 February 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is an episode from "Hawaii Five-O" that offers several huge surprises. The biggest is that although many considered the show "square" since it was very pro law & order, this episode is CLEARLY an anti-Vietnam war show--well before it was popular to criticize the war. Second, although the plot is VERY simple and the mystery is hardly difficult to figure out, the show has some amazingly poignant moments--very, very poignant.

The show begins with a guy apparently bugging the apartment next door. However, in the midst of doing this surveillance, the subject of his work dies--falling many stories to the ground below! How he died is a mystery--was it suicide or murder? And, for that matter, who was bugging the man and why?! The dead man turns out to be the a lieutenant who has just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. His father, an army general, is upset and insists that the guy MUST have been murdered--and it's obvious the kid was his pride and joy. Later, during the investigation, McGarrett learns that the general has another son and wonders why he never mentioned this. Well, it soon turns out that this other son was in the room with the dead man before he died--and they were arguing vigorously. Did the kid kill his brother or is there some other logical explanation for this?! The film ends up having major plot elements involving the surviving son refusing to go to war and questioning the legitimacy of the whole thing. Additionally, it turns out that the dead man is NOT quite the hero his dad thought him to be and he held a very dark secret.

As I already said, the film holds some very poignant moments and, unusual for this show, might get your tear ducts flowing! This isn't manipulative at all--just a very good drama that's well worth seeing.

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