Gay characters on Five-O


As I was working on my WWW site for Kojak, I found some references to gay subject matter in that show in the book The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV by Stephen Tropiano. However, this author seems to have missed several similar instances in Classic Five-O. I don't know why this is so. Like Kojak and other TV shows of the time, Five-O often pushed the envelope, though perhaps no one reacted as they did with the examples in Kojak and other shows discussed by Tropiano.

These are some gay references that I found in Five-O; if you know of any others, please contact me through the link on the main page of my site. These comments are cribbed from my episode reviews.


Season 1. The Box

In this show, where McGarrett offers himself as a hostage during a prison uprising, Carl Swanson (Gerald S. O'Loughlin) lists his demands for reform to McGarrett. He refers to "the homosexuals, these old smart ones, they don't do anything to keep them away from these young kids that just have come in for their first stretch."


Season 1. Not That Much Different

There are hints of a homosexual relationship between two of the characters, Manning West (Dennis Cooney) and Julian Scott. Scott is shot dead at the beginning of the show during an anti-war demonstration. Ned Horvath, another character, confronts West with a letter the latter wrote to Julian. West responds, saying that "this isn't evidence of much except my affection for him," adding later, "You hated Julian, I loved him." West holds Julian's letter up to his face as if he is kissing or smelling it.

Season 4. Bored She Hung Herself

In this banned episode of the series, the character of Boswell, according to Joel Berliner who played the 12-year-old character Hank, is "clearly gay." Boswell was referenced in a line by Hank which was later cut out, describing him as "Homosexual; not that he ever made a pass at me."


Season 4. Wednesday, Ladies Free

Consulted during a serial killer investigation, Dr. Holmby (Danny Kamekona) says the killer may be "a single man without much use for women," to which McGarrett suggests "a homosexual?" Holmby says the killer "could be impotent," possibly rejected by a "mother, girl friend [or] prostitute."


Season 4. Two Doves and Mr. Heron

When "hippie freak" Ryan Moore (John Ritter) tries to hustle Edward Heron (Vic Morrow) for cash, he has no luck. Instead, Heron starts to feel Ryan up, suggesting he will part with some of his money for a homosexual tryst. At this point, Ryan's girl friend Cleo Michaels (Dianne Hull) intervenes, and Ryan bonks Heron on the head with a two by four and steals his wallet, later commenting in a swishy voice, "He deserved it, the closet queen."


Season 4. Didn't We Meet at a Murder?

Blackmail victim Frank Wellman (Bill Edwards) is secretly a homosexual and a transvestite. Wellman commits suicide after he realizes his secret is about to be exposed, plunging to his death from his apartment building. During the subsequent investigation, after McGarrett looks at pictures of various women on Wellman's apartment wall, he tells Danno that these women are men.

Season 5. "V" for Vashon: the Patriarch

Harvey Mathieson Drew (John Stalker), described as "the most respected attorney in Honolulu," is being blackmailed by the head of the Vashon crime family because of his homosexual relationship with a young male lover, Bobby Raisbeck (John Beatty). In a confrontation in Attorney General Manicote's office, Raisbeck tells Drew, "You're getting what's coming to you, you old queen."

Season 8. How to Steal a Submarine

In the scene when Orrin Morwood (Jack Cassidy), a high school vice-principal and boys' counsellor, gives Jimmy Scott (Darby Hinton), one of the "underprivileged kids" he has befriended, an airline ticket, Morwood adjusts Jimmy's collar and lays his hands on Jimmy's shoulder. Are we to think there is some kind of sexual element to their relationship?


Season 10. Invitation to Murder

In this episode with an Agatha Christie-like plot, Lawrence (Francis Kamahele), the young beneficiary of artist Addison Barlow who recently died, is a heavy gambler and sells his father's paintings to the swishy art dealer Benileha (Sidney Lassick).


Season 12. Labyrinth

Anthony Innéo plays the fey hairdresser Georgio, saying that the primary character Christine Ames (Tricia O'Neil) was "an absolute dog to work on" and "not a happy woman." When one of his co-workers (Andrea Pike) makes a remark about Christine's nail polish (an important clue), Georgio minces, "Gloria ... get ... lost!"