S11E17 - “Stringer” - Plot

(Teleplay by Bobbi Baker; Story by Mike Quigley)

Act One

A photographer named Stringer (Paul Williams) does a photo shoot with a woman (Sandra Kerns) at some cliffs overlooking the ocean at an out of the way location on Oahu. Stringer compliments Maren as "a beautiful woman" and she calls him a con man in return, not believing she let him talk into this.

Two cars drive on a lonely road as a third car follows from a distance. Duke looks at a map in the third car believing they're heading to Banyan Point. The driver (Beau van den Ecker) asks Duke if he's sure Alika (Ross Martin) is in the first car as Duke answers, "no doubt about it". Meanwhile, Alika nervously asks his driver (Jerry Boyd) if the third car is still behind them with the driver confirming it is. Alika tells him to "give the boys the signal. Get rid of them". The driver gives the signal to the second car as Duke's driver says they need to drop back.

Stringer keeps up his photo shoot with Maren who is in a one-piece bathing suit. Stringer sprays her with water to get the perfect look but she's embarrassed. Meanwhile, the second car makes it move an enough noise causing Maren to hide. Stringer picks up his camera and notices some activity on a road below them and begins snapping pictures: Alika gives a suitcase full of money to a man (Robert Clarke) he's meeting.

Duke and his driver keep driving down the road only to have a tire shot out by one of Alika's goons! The car veers off the road and rolls down a hill only to be stopped by some bushes. The commotion makes Alika nervous and tells the man they need to get out of there and they take off. Stringer takes another shot before turning his attention to the car wreck. Stringer runs down the road to find the burning wreckage and starts taking more pictures after the shock wears off. The car explodes into a bigger fireball while Stringer clicks away. Maren runs to Stringer wondering if they can help the people in the car but he tells her it's no use. They leave and unbeknownst to them, Duke is in the brush smoldering.

Danno enters McGarrett's office to get McGarrett's attention and he immediately asks how Duke is. Danno wants him to ask Duke himself as he hobbles into McGarrett's office. McGarrett is more than relieved to see Duke and tries to hug him, but Duke is sore. He reports Sergeant Napoli is dead but he was thrown free. Duke tells them it was a blowout but both McGarrett and Danno think it had some help. McGarrett wants to know if there was anything unusual but Duke says they always travel with two cars. He also wonders what Alika was doing in such an isolated location to begin with. He surmises he was meeting with someone and asks Duke if he has any ideas but Duke has none.

Stringer develops the pictures in his own dark room finding the money exchange photo is perfect. A little later, Maren arrives at his apartment buzzing in as Stringer finishes. She tells him to hurry because she has the photo editor at the Advertiser holding the front page for his shot. As he lets Maren in, he asks her how much for the wreck shot but she doesn't know. Stringer then shows her the other photo and Maren recognizes the man as Howard Kramer, a local "political power broker" whom she has seen at parties she covers for the newspaper. She explains he's a middleman getting things done no one else can. Stringer gets what she means and needed to know who he is, he already knows who Alika is. She tells him he needs to take the photo to the police and he promises her he'll do just that as she leaves with the car wreck photo to take to the paper. However, after she leaves, he gets other ideas.

Alika is at home after a swim looking forward to lunch as a servant escorts McGarrett. Alika offers him some food but McGarrett doesn't budge off point wanting to know why he was near Banyan Point: he says that he was "looking at property" out in the sticks. McGarrett isn't happy with Alika's attitude about the police tailing him and says, "because whenever something evil happens, you're likely to be involved". Alika abuses McGarrett, calling him a "big superstar cop like you would be able to prove it just once". McGarrett shows him a rifle slug that was found by one of the lab technicians in one of the wrecked car's tires and finds is interesting they can place Alika at the scene. McGarrett leaves on a sour note for them both as Alika suddenly loses his appetite.

In Kramer's office, his secretary (Reri Jobe) walks in as he talks on the phone about property at Banyan Point. She hands him an envelope acting as if he were expecting it: it's part of one of Stringer's pictures. He phones Alika telling him what he's received but so far, no demands. Alika yells for Billy Swan but has to go looking for him.

Act Two

Danno enters McGarrett's office with the latest newspaper: the burning car is on the front page! McGarrett reads the byline of "Tim Powers" and calls Luana (Laura Sode): he wants to talk to Ben Richman at The Advertiser.

Alika berates his goons because they told him no one witnessed what they did. He wants them to find the photographer who took the incriminating pictures and fast!

Powers/Stringer returns to his apartment pulling out the phone to call Kramer to set up a meet at 11:00 a.m. with specific instructions. Later, Kramer meets Stringer in front of Kramer's office as Stringer drives a pedicab. He gives Kramer the other part of the picture demanding $250,000. When Kramer insists he doesn't have that kind of money, Stringer tells him Alika does and he warns Kramer he's "not in it alone" so Kramer shouldn't get any "funny ideas".

Danno visits Maren at the information booth where she works. He explains Ben Richman at the newspaper told him she would be able to contact Tim Powers. She doesn't recognize his name right away but knows him by his nickname, Stringer. Danno tells her about a police officer being killed in the wreck Stringer took the photo of and he wants to ask some questions. Maren wonders what kind of questions then makes the excuse she has other business to attend to, giving Danno the brush off. However, Yoshi (Michael Masegawa) overhears the conversation and informs Danno that Stringer is a pedicab driver, even describing what he looks like. Danno thanks him and tells Yoshi if thinks of anything else, to call.

Alika meets with Kramer again and views the pieces of the photo asking what the guy wants and what does he look like. Alika wants a meeting with the photographer telling Kramer to set it up. Anticipating that this blackmail will never end, Alika says he will "take care of it" including the "punk" and any partners he has.

Maren bursts into Stringer's apartment wanting to talk to him, which he says he's in a lot of trouble. She tells him about Five-O looking for him as he shows her a two-way mirror with a special camera behind it that will take pictures if someone breaks in. She asks why he didn't take the photo to the police but he is evasive on the subject talking about everything else but taking the photo to the police. She doesn't believe a word he says and implores him to take the photo to the police because she's worried he's in over his head. Stringer says he'll take the whole story to the cops in the morning.

The next day, Stringer is out driving his pedicab near Ala Wai Canal. Alika's goons drive the area looking for Stringer with neither wanting to tell Alika they couldn't find him. But they're not the only ones as Danno and a plainclothes officer, Tom, have been searching for Stringer for about three hours. Alika's goons spot him as they sit at a stoplight, getting out of the car yelling at him and then chasing him! Danno and Tom spot him next and they begin chasing Stringer! To escape everybody, he drives his pedicab into the canal near Liliuokalani Avenue. Once he dumps, Alika's goons back off and walk in another direction leaving him to Danno and Tom to fish him out of the canal. Danno radios McGarrett who wants him brought in with Danno says they will "soon as we dry him off".

Act Three

In McGarrett's office, Stringer is wrapped in a robe as McGarrett asks him grills him about the car crash, wanting to know if he saw anything else or if anyone caused the accident. Along with Danno, they ask what he was doing there and Stringer admits to taking photos of a girl for posters but they wouldn't know her. However, his tune changes a bit when Danno mentions Maren's name. Stringer tells them he was the only eyewitness and wonders how much the newspaper would pay for his story. McGarrett warns him, "you're playing a dangerous game with people who make their own rules" before letting him go. After Stringer leaves, Danno says he's lying with McGarrett agreeing. He orders a 24-hour tail on him.

Kramer receives another phone call: Stringer calls from a payphone looking for the money. He threatens to go to McGarrett is he is tailed by Alika's goons again. Kramer urges him not to do that and Stringer agrees telling him to meet at his apartment at 223 Pearl Street in an hour. After he hangs up, Stringer meets with Maren telling her that McGarrett took him into his confidence after talking to him for an hour. The photo is "crucial" to the case, another lie but she buys his story. Stringer takes off noticing two men nearby, the HPD officers assigned to tail him. He walks in one direction then abruptly changes course. After doubling back, he disables their car, walks past them and escapes on a bus.

Kramer and Alika meet up again with Kramer getting nervous because Stringer says he'll go to McGarrett. Alika agrees to pay up but they have to get back both the pictures and negatives. Based on their deal, $250,000 is worth it but this will be the only payment and Alika expects Kramer to tell Stringer that. Alika says that if Stringer tries any more blackmail he will "blow him away". Billy hands over the briefcase with the cash and Alika wants a call once it's done.

McGarrett pays a visit to Maren who tells him that she knows he took Stringer into his confidence but she finds out fast that was a lie. McGarrett lays it out for her: she needs to tell him everything she knows about Stringer or she may never see him alive again. After telling her Alika isn't to be trifled with, she gives McGarrett Stringer's warehouse address. Before he leaves, Maren tells him Stringer photographed Alika and Kramer together as well.

Kramer arrives at Stringer's exchanging the money for the pictures and negatives. As they are in the process of their transaction, Alika arrives with his goons as Stringer's hidden camera records the scene. Alika creepily demands that Stringer turn over everything he has, while suggesting to Kramer it was a mistake they tried to do business together: "somebody has to pay". Alika orders Kramer to be thrown out of the window scaring Stringer. He quickly finds the remaining evidence as Alika explains he needs Stringer alive to "take the rap for Kramer" and while McGarrett may not buy it, the DA will have no choice. In a surprise move, Alika gives him the money but warns Stringer to make himself scarce because if he's ever on the islands, he's dead. Back at his house, Alika burns the photos and negatives wishing McGarrett could see it.

Act Four

At Stringer's apartment, McGarrett and Danno take a look around. They know Stringer didn't kill Kramer and Alika was most likely present with his goons. McGarrett wants an APB out on Stringer and "the lab boys" to go over every inch of the apartment. McGarrett continues to look around eventually finding the dark room. He wants Danno to put surveillance on Maren's apartment in case Stringer is "confused enough" to show up there.

Maren calls out to Stringer in the garage under her apartment where he tells her that Kramer is dead. He shares how "some guys" broke in and threw him out the window. When she asks what he was doing with Kramer he only answers that they had some business. She freaks out in frustration, and then he shows her the money. Maren is shocked, asking what he's doing with that kind of money. He doesn't answer he question rather he makes plans that he has to go back to his place for some pictures. The problem is there may not be any pictures because the mirror was cracked. If the camera broke, the film could be ruined. Stringer tells Maren they can go anywhere and do anything they wanted, but she tells him she can't have anything to do with the money. When she suggests he should get a "real job" and work at it, Stringer says, "it's not enough" before walking away.

That night, Stringer returns to his place to get the film taken by the hidden camera, but there is a lock on the door! Stringer retreats to another entrance through the floor only to find McGarrett is there, having been tipped off by Maren. He tells Stringer that with the pictures of Kramer's murder and Stringer's testimony they can put Alika away. Stringer agrees and McGarrett has an officer take him downtown with Maren asking if she can go with him. McGarrett tells Stringer, "you don't deserve a friend like her". Stringer agrees with that as well. McGarrett and Danno leave to pay Alika a visit.

McGarrett and Danno arrive at Alika's house where Billy answers the door showing them in. Alika isn't surprised McGarrett has shown up but he's not worried either. McGarrett points out to Danno it was "considerate" of Alika to have the others there too so they didn't have to look for them. McGarrett told Alika awhile back when he took over from Pahoa his "time would come" and now it has. He also points out the newspaper headline: Kramer's fall is no longer a mystery. Alika makes a smart aleck comment about tomorrow's headline: "Sherlock Holmes of Hawaii solves another big one". Danno says that would go great with the pictures after McGarrett says the headline isn't half-bad. He whips out the contact sheet made from Stringer's hidden camera showing Alika's goons throwing Kramer out the window. McGarrett arrests Alika and his goons, saying, "welcome to hard times, pal".

This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker and Mike Quigley 2020. No reproduction of any kind without permission.

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