This week's Hawaii Five-O episode, "Pa'ani," translates "the game," and while the team is hyped for football's Pro Bowl and meeting heroes of Hall of Fame status, crooks make a game of murder for the sake of money, and the cast adds some big-names, too. The real question is can Danny (Scott Caan) ever forgive a missed catch?
Nothing spells team unity in the corporate world like a weekend of simulated wargames with pellets akin to paintball instead of real ammo, but someone missed the memo, as a real shot leaves a victim really dead, just as Lt. Commander McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danny are closing the deal with Kamekona (Taylor Wily) for Primo Pro bowl seats, and a hot weekend of shrimp sales. Danny and Steve debate the "embarrassment of riches," as Kamekona describes it, with Danny freely displaying his mania for Peyton Manning, just as the call comes that a real shooting foiled the simulation, and Scott Davis is the victim. The case doesn't seem too taxing at first, as Steve states it simply that "12 players are on the field, 11 are playing, and one is the killer," and all the combatants have action cams mounted on their helmets, as testing starts immediately for lead residue from the weapon, a perfect sized handgun for doing the job before dumping. The victim's girlfriend quickly gets dismissed as a suspect, because she was only there as a complimentary guest, at her own request. Another coworker colleague, Brent Mercer (Brennan Elliot) seems easy pickings, picked up from what might be his getaway flight, to answer why he left such sinister voice mails to the man who was once his subordinate, but now his boss, and who only has an alibi of "sleeping in," but that's too easy. The boss of both men, Neil Redding, played by Train's easy listening lead singer, Pat Monahan, vouches for both employees, but viewing them mostly as "corporate assets" over human beings, for their benefit to the company.
Dr. Max (Masi Oka) discovers sedatives in the victim just hours before the shooting started, and the team knows that makes no sense. What makes no sense to Catherine (Michelle Borth) is that Steve turns down her ticket offer and time together to honor his "man-date" with Danny, as she sticks by her allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys as "America's team," while the buddies still bicker. McGarrett and Williams pay a visit to an old haunt of Steve's dad, and an old friend, Nicky "the Kid" Demarco, played by familiar favorite, Larry Manetti of Magnum PI. Besides his stories of his start was Sinatra, Nicky nails a tall blonde, Holly (Rebekah Steen), who was running a racket of big spenders with the bouncer, Isaiah (Napoleon Tavale). Holly took hold of Davis, but Isaiah took off until cornered by Danny and Steve, declaring that Davis was "all plastic," meaning no cash, but the lady still had her sites on him. Kono (Grace Park) has a tail on Holly at her hotel, but can't lay hands on her, despite making the security surveillance guy's day by her very presence, as he dreams of days working with her someday, having submitted an application! Seeing the Houston Texans receiving star, Arian Foster, coming to the aid of the lady on the tape, McGarrett and Williams make the jaunt to the field to talk to the star, who doesn't even like to disclose the "sacred" ritual of his touchdown routine, much less details in private life, saying only that he had to assist a lady in distress. Danny can't resist a proverbial "poke in the eye" at the player, particularly over a Week 11 dropped ball in an otherwise stellar season, which cost the detective a winning season in his fantasy football season. Foster urges Danny to "let that one go," yet Danny prods that Foster's ring is very distinct, but "not a Super Bowl" variety! As Steve and Danny argue the tactics of fantasy play versus real field roughness, another suspect, Timothy Cross (Matt Bushell), an ex-Army officer, surfaces, but he insists that the grainy photo "could be anyone who killed the Davis guy," necessitating the question of how he knew the victim's name. He reveals that he was only the point of contact for Holly, paying her $20,000 for the transfer of "intellectual property" from Davis' laptop, all at the order of Neil Redding. The "chip set" Davis developed was not even the prime reason his life was marked for disposal, but instead, the $30 million corporate insurance policy his company boss saw as true capital.
McGarrett and Williams find only the true "Holly's" aka Lana Sullivan's twin sister, Beth, at her home, but intercept a meeting with Redding that has turned into a gunpoint stroll. The ever-debating duo get their guy again, but Steve pops out his shoulder in the process, so the two spend Pro bowl time in the ER while the rest of the team enjoys the game. Catherine arranges a special private pass time for the guys at the Stadium, and presents a signed football from Peyton Manning to Danny, along with regrets at missing a personal introduction. He consents to letting McGarrett run a "go route" and catches his first real pass in an end zone. Perfect endings are rare, and usually have to come in private for Hawaii Five-O.