Hawaii Five-O

Season 1 Episode 15

King Of The Hill

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 08, 1969 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
66 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Danno is shot in a hospital by a delusional soldier who thinks he is still fighting in Vietnam. McGarrett has to save Danno before he bleeds to death, but he can't risk a shootout with so many frail patients in the immediate vicinity.

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  • "King of the Hill" was one of the most memorable episodes from the first season of Hawai'i Five-O, especially in its humane portrayal of a Vietnam veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It does not deserve a 4.7 rating on Tv.com.moreless

    Out of all the episodes I've seen from the first three seasons of Five-O, "King of the Hill" definitely ranks among the top ten. I can see why some viewers may under-rate this episode, however - there're relatively few scenes showing the breathtaking Hawai'i landscape, and a Vietnam veteran, rather than wily criminals or deranged killers, is the antagonist. That said, I think the show realistically portrays the nerve-wracking angst of a Vietnam Vet who, severely hit on the head at a baseball game, ends up shooting Danno in a hospital and hallucinating about his memories in Vietnam. The acting was excellent (especially Jack Lord and the guest star) and the script well-written, although it would've been interesting to see the racial issues hinted late in the episode developed further. My favorite scene was from the end of the episode, the part where Auston (the Vietnam Vet) breaks down and sobs over failing to save his sarge. Auston is both villain and victim in this episode, villain in the sense that he shoots Danno and is basically holding a hospital floor hostage but also victim in that he is suffering from his terrible experiences in Vietnam, and especially from the loss of his sargeant. As McGarrett memorably tells a Marine colonel earlier in the episode, "Nobody wants to kill or hurt Auston, but I need to get Danno out of that room...." Overall, I think "King of the Hill," was one of those episodes that really made Hawai'i Five-O such a memorable TV series. Maybe its plot was somewhat unconventional and Hawai'i not as vividly displayed here as in other episodes, but the episode more than makes up for these with great acting and a great script. It definitely does not deserve a 4.7 rating on TV.com....moreless
  • A Vietnam vet relives his traumatic experience in Southeast Asia when he wounds Danny Williams and takes over hospital floor. McGarrett must figure out a way to save 2 lives without endangering the patients.moreless

    I was seven when I first saw this episode. While I did not understand why the soldier was acting the way he was, I sympathized. The flashbacks to Vietnam gave my young mind an idea of what the soldier was "seeing". My dad explained to me, as simply as he could, that in his war, WWII, it was called "Battle Fatigue". A large number of Vietnam vets suffered from PTSD coming home to a country who saw the war every evening in their homes. This war was portrayed in a slightly different light. Soldiers simply trying to do their jobs were portaryed as murderers. In WWII, your enemy wore a different uniform, in Vietnam, the enemy was anyone who you did not know. This episode portrays what has now been found to be treatable.moreless
  • A Vietnam veteran is on leave in Honolulu when he takes a whack on the head. While at the hospital he freaks out, takes a cops gun and shoots Danny in the gut. A hostage crisis takes place with the vet thinking he's still in Vietnam and chased by the VC.moreless

    Okay, I admit the episode doesn't offer in the much of action but I thought seeing a young Yaphet Kotto was rather cool and he played the role of the Vietnam veteran pretty well. The flashback sequences were laughable with this irritating red and blue screen and kooky music. Again, as in past episodes, you see the care McGarrett has for his men. And a stressed McGarrett is a joy to watch. He barks out commands and demands action. I think you'll like the way they finally get Danny rescued and the hallucinating veteran under wraps. "Corpsman!" Remember, the Marines and Navy call for corpsmen, the army has medics. McGarrett (being a former Navy guy) makes that clear.moreless
  • Definitely in my top ten all-time Five-0 episodes...and I've seen them all dozens of times!

    Muscle Mike, I am with you--I cannot believe this episode got so many negative votes. I gave it a 9.7 myself, and there's only two or three other episodes that rate with or above it (BTW, my personal fave is "Wednesday Ladies Free", see my review).

    What I like about this episode is McGarrett,his intensity and how it changes throughout. In the beginning he wants to charge down the hall with no regard to other patients in the intensive care ward. Dr. Hanson (Jeff Corey) asserts himself and becomes one of the few people other than the Governor that McGarrett will listen to. For McGarrett then it becomes a battle to save Danno and not kill the Marine. By the end he's cool enough to come up with a plan to spare any killing, capture Corporal Auston and get Danno some aid.

    And this episode has what every great episode is supposed to have: memorable moments. The teaser is fantastic--when I first saw this episode as a kid I missed the first ten minutes and it was a couple of years later before I learned how the Marine wound up wounding Danno and "protecting" him and the hospital room. There's a great line from McGarrett after he's 'enlightened' by Dr. Hanson: "Facts, Doctor, FACTS! I need the FACTS!". There's Danno pulling his gun out to shoot Auston, which he can't do and all Auston realizes is he's got ten more rounds to hold off the enemy. There's the midpoint change in plot when the girl visiting her ailing father appears screaming in the hallway and under fire from Auston. And finally McGarrett's brainstorm when he enters the hospital room as a medic to be believed by Auston in his world.

    Perhaps my favorite moment in the episode comes near the end when McGarrett tells Auston his buddy (Danno) is "already dead, Mac". The combination of music, war sounds and the look of realization on Auston's face equal one of the most memorable moments for me in the series.

    Okay, there's no shots of surf or beaches. No one sang "Ain't No Big Thing" and the Iolani Palace is never seen. But as long as you got plenty of intensity and suspense and appropriate backround music (here scored by Harry Geller) it's a winning formula. And in my opinion this winning formula worked best in the first season with this episode.

    As for those of you who rated it a 4 or less...I don't get it. Check out most of the episodes from the final two seasons--most of them I'd say a 4 rating would be being nice.moreless
  • A flashbacking military lunatic holds a seriously injured Danno hostage with a gun in Castle Hospital.

    Hawaii scenery/landmarks: McGarrett comes racing down the Windward side of the Pali Highway (in lieu of the often reused Diamond Head Road with the fountain) on his way to Castle Memorial Center. The beautiful and majestic Koolau Mountains are shown in the background in several scenes outside of the hospital. An educated guess would place the Vietnam flashback scenes in Wahiawa, which was later recreated as a section of Vietnam for another show (Marker?)in the 1990's.

    Notable stars: Yaphet Kotto is more famously known as the husky black crew member who was eaten by the space creature in the movie Alien.

    I completely disagree with 123's terrible review. "Nothing happened"??? King of the Hill is definitely NOT poor. Was he rating the cartoon? This gripping episode had me hanging on for Danno, who had been shot in the stomach and was losing blood. Danno had to try to calm down the crazed soldier before he went on a murderous rampage. Great acting by Yaphet Kotto as the flashbacking prespiring lunatic.

    The reporter doing his job in the story lends to the experience of realism and that's what I felt back in Hawaii when I first saw this aired - that this incident could have happened anytime and anywhere and be broadcast on the news as we see some of this through the eyes of a TV viewer. (Notice on the TV equipment that it says "colorful kgmb" which was the old jingle before the channel 9 news started. TV stations still advertised color while many households still had B&W sets.)

    123's lack of scenery complaint is not a valid excuse. We get a good look of the breathtaking Windward side of the island - was 123 paying attention? Yes, there was racial tension in Vietnam, and why ask for character development in a 50 minute show? That is a modern complaint which is not valid here. Also, if you are too sensitive and can't handle the word nigr then don't watch it. Surprising what TV could get away with back in 1969, it's nice to see when PC was nonexistent. The locals called us white people "haoles", and though I always despised the word I wouldn't dock any episode's rating when it's used. Try being subject to "Kill Haole Day" on the last day of school in Hawaii. There's your prejudiced racial slur! I give this episode high marks and so does the official Hawaii 5-0 Home Page's rated episode listings. I think the low rating here was fixed (multiple accounts?) as I find the poor grade unbelievable. For those who haven't seen it, don't let the 4 on the rating system fool you. This episode was one of the better ones.moreless
Jack Lord

Jack Lord

Steve McGarrett

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

Danny "Danno" Williams

Kam Fong

Kam Fong

Chin Ho Kelly



Kono Kalakaua

Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto

John Auston

Guest Star

Jeff Corey

Jeff Corey

Doctor Hanson

Guest Star

L.Q. Jones

L.Q. Jones

Colonel Lew Cardell

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Details of Danny ("Danno") Williams' biography are revealed in the episode. He is a local boy, born and raised in Hawaii. He attended the University of Hawaii for one year before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley. He was a psychology major, but became a police science major when he moved to the mainland.

    • Though Zulu (Kono) is listed in the opening credits, he has only one brief scene in the episode. Douglas Mossman (guest starring as Lt. Kealoha) has a much more prominent role.

    • The close-up views of the bystanders near the television camera crew do not match the arrangement of the crowd in the wide-angle shots.

    • The Hawaiian CBS affiliate, KGMB Channel 9, is featured prominently in this episode.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • Harry Geller is credited for the music in this episode, the first time someone other than Morton Stevens received a Music credit in the series. Stevens, of course, composed the memorable theme for the series.

    • Most of the episode took place in and around Castle Memorial Hospital. The hospital is located at 640 Ulukahiki Street in Kailua, on the windward coast of Oahu, northeast of Honolulu. It opened on Jan. 16, 1963, as the first community hospital in Kailua. In 1983, the facility changed its name to Castle Medical Center.

    • Danny Kamekona (playing Charley Takahashi in this episode) appeared as Che Fong in the previous episode.

    • Additional credits:

      Automobiles furnished by Ford Motor Company
      Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii
      A Leonard Freeman Production
      In Association With
      The CBS Television Network

    • The official syndication number for this episode is 6813.