Hawaii Five-O

Season 8 Episode 14

A Touch of Guilt

1
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Dec 04, 1975 on CBS
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
10 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Three young men gang rape a waitress after a night of drinking. One of the men is the son of a U.S. senator and the crime is covered up. Or so they think.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Topical, hard-hitting, and realistic, one of the good episodes of the season.

    8.8
    Football heroes try to walk away clean after raping a young waitress.



    For all the stories of master crime (with no way of getting the gains off of Hawaii) or tales of international intrigue and espionage, episodes like this are refreshing and realistic. This story could happen on Hawaii. It's also quite gripping and deals with sensitive subjects, especially for the time it was made.



    Here three football players (one the son of a US Senator) rape a young local and one of them is wounded when she tries to defend herself. The slimey scheme set up by the Senator's lawyer to pin the stabbing on a hooligan is clever and sinister. There are nice shots of the chase for the willing scapegoat in the dirty back alleys of Hotel Street and all the "Five-O" detectives get a lot of meaningful things to do. On top of this is the heartbreaking portrayal of the rape victim's rejection by her own family when her allegations bring implications of "shame" to their lives. The ending is a touch far-fetched as it remains unclear whether there is enough of a case to really prosecute the football stars - but this is still a nice "Law and Order" style drama of an earlier time.



    I'd put this episode in my top ten for the series overall, if not for excitement, then for grittiness.moreless
  • This episode is difficult to watch, but worthwhile.

    9.0
    It would be nice to think that episodes like this one and "Skinhead" helped make the public aware of the iniquities of the then-prevalant attitudes towards rape, not only with the general public, but with law enforcement. Well into the supposedly civilized 20th century (and even now, in some places) rape was considered to be A: a rather kinky form of sex rather than a violent crime using sex as a weapon; and B: something the victim must have been asking for. In "Skinhead", part of the defense (which, infuriatingly, was not challenged by the prosecution) was that the victim should have been willing (indeed, obligated) to accomodate a loud, vulgar, obnoxious and (presumably) unattractive stranger, merely because

    she enjoyed an active sex life with her chosen boyfriends. This episode brings up the ancient and extremely tiresome notion that if an unmarried woman has sex, willingly or otherwise, she is irrevocably "sullied".



    It's very clear that the three drunken louts do not regard the pretty Lani as an attractive female they would like to make love with. They are annoyed that this little nobody will not give them the respect and adulation due to the "Big Three" and decide that she must be punished. I was rather surprised to find that Alex was the Senator' son. Big blond Kim was the one that had the oh, so superior attitude. I realized later that Alex didn't need the superior attitude, because, for him, it was a given. They take her to the beach, where Lani manages to rip off Bink's ID choker. The rape itself is left to the viewer's imagination and some discreet flashback camera cuts, which is quite effective. I was also surprised when they brought her back afterwards, but they would have wanted it to look as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was also rather contemptuous--as though they had simply been out on a date. Kim added to this touch by insisting on a goodbye kiss. Lani cannot hide her disgust, and, rightfully fearing that this might lead to a beating or, worse yet, another rape, frantically grabs for a weapon and lets him have it. Just his luck that it's the business end of a screwdriver. (A bad, ironic pun comes to mind....)



    Bink panics, but the Senator's son takes charge with cool efficiency. Experience, one might guess? He swiftly puts together an alternate story--an attack by some local thug who had harrassed them in the bar earlier--and forces the details into his wounded friend's mind before getting him to the hospital. Naturally, the incident gets everyone in an uproar. The Senator gets on the Governer's back, and the Governer gets on McGarrett's, and McGarrett gets on the rest of his team. Meanwhile, Alex has already called Daddy, probably before the police, and Daddy has dispatched one of his minions on the very next flight out. There is further proof that, while this might be the worst crime Alex has been mixed up in, it is by no means the first. It's also an indication of the complete disregard and contempt Alex has for his father, for he made no attempt to gloss over the situation. He doesn't try to claim that the incident was consensual and the girl freaked out afterwards. And the troubleshooting minion, Zimmerman, obviously knows the futility of trying to read the boy a lecture. He simply collects the information and heads out to collect the corroborating evidence. Knows just how to go about it, too, quickly finding a local hood who can procure a suitable thug who will admit to the crime in exchange for a hefty sum and the promise that no charges will be pressed.



    Lani is learning that things don't get any easier for a rape victim. Sensibly going to a hospital for an examination, she is taken aback when the nurse asks what the problem is, so that she will know what doctor to send her to. The most insensitive clod could see that the girl was deeply distressed, yet the nurse, member of a profession that epitomizes compassion, neither suggests that Lani whisper to her nor gives her a piece of paper to write on. She's expected to announce it in front of a roomful of strangers. (And really, surely some of those others had medical conditions that they wouldn't want to announce to all and sundry!) Small wonder that she gives up and flees.



    It is the experienced street cop, Duke, who notices that the precise place of the attack is in an odd position in the parking lot. And nobody at the bar remembers anyone harrassing the Big Three. When Dan catches Lani in passing and shows her pictures of the three "victims", Lani is unable to disguise her revulsion, which Dan misinterprets. Certain that she must be a witness to the knifing, he very gently insists that she come in for questioning. He may have dropped a word in McGarrett's ear before bringing her in, because McGarrett is also very gentle, sitting down beside her rather than with his desk between them. He's stunned when the truth gets blurted out, but given the oddities his men have already found in the case, is inclined to believe it.



    Bink is starting to feel remorseful, not to mention worried about his missing choker. Alex, who wouldn't care except that Bink would drag him down as well, insists that he sit tight, buy a new choker, and under no circumstances go looking for the old one. Zimmerman has found his local thug, given him the bloody screwdriver to put his fingerprints on, and passed photographs to the boys so that they can give a description to the police. Alex is unmoved by the acusation of rape. The questioning about the street thug--whom they previously could not describe--was poorly done. The boys should have been questioned separately, not side by side, with Bink just sitting there saying, "What he said." And they missed the opportunity for another clue. Not one for a courtroom, but for themselves. Questioned separately, McGarrett would surely have noticed the startling simility of their descriptions. Any police officer who has worked for a month or less knows that no two witnesses will give exact descriptions of anything--unless they've been primed.



    At Lani's home, the episode goes from ugly to horrifying, as we see her own parents' appalling attitudes. Father has refused to go to work, claiming that his coworkers will not want him there because of Lani. And Mother is going to keep Lani at home, out of sight, so the neighbors will forget more quickly. Lani is shocked, which makes me wonder if they gave her some sympathy originally. Is it only now that it's a matter of public record that they've become so ashamed? (Lani herself apparently had no intention of pressng charges initially.) I wish they had had time to go into this more. It would be natural for friends, neighbors, and coworkers to be curious--even pruriently so, but would they be so contemptuous? Would it really effect the father's ability to carry out his work? Or were her parents projecting their own feelings of shame, and making assumptions they had no right to make?



    A beachcomber has found Bink's choker, practically unde Dan's nose. The street thug has let himself be found and captured, and the boys of course identify him. (It's Duke, again, who notes that a screwdriver is an atypical weapon for this sort of criminal.) Presumably it was this news that made Father decide to force his daughter to recant her accusation. He claims to be concerned for her, but ther are other matters that are more important, like his job. Father is showing all the logic of a turnip, here, because if the idea that his daughter was the victim of a gang rape could affect his job, what about the idea that his daughter would lie about such a thing? Father was outraged when the desk officer insisted on addressing the adult woman who had lodged the complaint instead of just taking his word for it. However, I think that officer, who clearly saw that her father was forcing her to recant, should have taken her privately into an inside room. Father's intimidation may have gotten through a closed door, but at least it would have shown that the police were on the ball.



    McGarrett learns of the recantation at about the same time he learns that no charges were filed against the street thug, which made everything crystal clear to him. (In fact, anyone with two brain cells to rub together who read about that in the paper would have to know it was a cover-up, because what idiot would fail to press charges against a thug who tried to kill him?) Oddly, he did not question why Lani would recant--unless that officer pencilled in his private opinion in the margin of the record. Bink has gone against orders and gone looking for his choker--probably feelig that it's safe to do so now. failing to find it, he has another one made--all while under observation. Dan tracks down the beachcomber and, just when you think they're going to miss getting the choker, nabs it.



    Lani, meanwhile, who, understandably, is sick of having men shove her around, takes her father's gun and makes her way to Alex's apartment (and how did she know where to go?) Her idea is to force a confession from them, but Alex has had things his own way for too long, and simply shrugs off the danger. (Personally, I think that she should have tried aiming a little lower down--a threat to the fundamentals might have shaken his complacency.) Quite probably someone would have gotten shot, and very likely it would have been the badly rattled Lani, but McGarrett and Co. arrive in the nick of time, persuading Lani that they do, in fact, have physical evidence that will convict the trio. This convinces Bink as well, who was probably on the verge anyhow, much to the fury of Alex, who walks out still claiming that nothing happened.



    The ending is not entirely satisfying. Presumably Bink's testimony will cover any deficiencies elsewhere, but there is still Lani's stupid father to contend with. Suppose he tries to make her recant again? Rather than having McGarrett talk about getting Lani something to eat (an odd line; how did he know she was hungry?) I wish he had asked her why she recanted. She could have started to mumble, "My father...." at which point he would have nodded knowingly and said, "I'll talk to him." We know McGarrett; that would have been sufficient.moreless
Richard Masur

Richard Masur

Bink Avery

Guest Star

Adam Arkin

Adam Arkin

Alex Scofield

Guest Star

Lance Hool

Lance Hool

Kim Hughes

Guest Star

Seth Sakai

Seth Sakai

Father

Recurring Role

Winston Char

Winston Char

Malano

Recurring Role

David Palmer

David Palmer

Physician

Recurring Role

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