I have watched this show from the very beginning and am so thrilled it made the milestone of 200 episodes! Not many shows do these days and it is quite an accomplishment.
The episode starts out with an old school car chase on Dec. 6th 1941. Two men who look suspiciously like Danny and Steve (only Danny is being called Milton), dressed in 40s clothing are in a police car chasing some bad guys, bickering over Milton/Danny's shooting, and displaying some awesome driving skills---until the bad guys come out with a Tommy gun. Cut to the music, but this time it's done instrumentally with a little 40s type jazzy beat. Loved it!
We come back to present day where the Restaurant of Ridiculousness is finally opening. There is lots of law enforcement there with full plates (that they aren't paying for since it's a soft opening) to introduce people to the restaurant. Danny is worried about money and Steve, as always, is trying to reassure him. Duke brings in a retired HPD detective named Milton Cooper to meet Steve. Milton has a backstory of being best friends with Steve's grandpa and they had aspirations of being detectives together, but all that changed on Dec. 7th. Milton and GrandpaMcG were attempting some armchair detective-ing on the weekends back in the day to crack the last unsolved case of Chang Opana, the legendary HPD detective. (Wait, I thought GrandpaMcG was a military guy and died on the Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack? Also, if Milton and GrandpaMcG were buddies as young men in 1941 wouldn't Milton be close to 100 years old now? He's looking pretty good for being close to a century in age.) Anyway, Milton brings out GrandpaMcG's briefcase that he dug out of storage so maybe Steve can help solve the case that they couldn't all those years ago.
Steve takes the briefcase home and opens it up.There are a few sentimental items in it like a pen with SM initials on it and a pic of GrandpaMcG with Chang. Danny comes in, grousing about how he has a headache and the restaurant has emptied his pockets. Steve reassures him again and says they made fans tonight. (Oy. Let the restaurant die already!) Danny asks what he's working on and Steve fills him in on the legendary HPD detective Chang Opana and how he apprehended all his suspects. He was the inspiration for Charlie Chan and he did all of it without a gun, using a bullwhip instead. (Cool details.) The case in front of Steve is Chang's last unsolved case of a girl who went missing in April 1932 and Chang worked the case until he was forced to retire. Danny is not interested in the least and leaves.
Steve gets to work on the case laying out the documents and evidence files, but he gets tired, and falls asleep at the desk. When we come back we're in Steve's dream! He's now his GrandpaMcG's at his HPD desk on Dec. 5th 1941. Milton is his partner and comes in with a pic of MissingGirlLila's last photo before she disappeared and she's wearing a very expensive diamond necklace. How does a poor girl get a piece like that? they wonder. As they are leaving the HPD, a suspicious looking car rolls by and shoot at them. You know, when people shoot at you in front of your office you're on to something, Milton says. Yes, Captain Obvious, someone really wants Lila's disappearance to remain a mystery. (I really love the music, costumes, and accents. They really did a good job of making it feel like the 40s sort of film noire.)
Duke comes to take their statement, but they don't have a description since it was dark. Steve calls over a detective named Flanagan (Jerry) and asks him to get info on the Fleetmaster car that the suspects were driving. Cut to the beach where Lila's brother (Junior) is trying to teach a woman to surf, but she's more interested in flirting with him. McG and Milton catch up and he says he told them all he has to say about Lila's disappearance. When they ask him about the photo and the necklace, however, he says he thinks he knows who could have given it to her.
A Honolulu police car pulls up to the Peteffer estate. Milton and McG argue about whether to go in or not since it didn't go well last time. McG thinks maybe they were too polite so when the security guard approaches and doesn't want to let them in, Steve smashes his face against the car and they punch their way in. Mr. Peteffer doesn't look all that surprised and is standing on his veranda. He does ask them to leave, but gets all sad-looking when they show him Lila's picture. He loved her like a daughter, he says, since she was a rare beauty, too delicate for cane fields. He had her working in the house and though he doesn't know anything about the necklace, she did offer him money to pay off a debt her dad owed right before she went missing. Mr. Peteffer answers his phone and it's for Steve, haha. Jerry's street snitches have eyes on the Fleetmaster so McMilton heads out, talking about how if Lila was desperate to pay off Mr Peteffer who knows what she got mixed up in. They find the Fleetmaster and the two men who were shooting at them earlier. They get in and drive away so Steve gives chase and it's the opening sequence chase again.
Milton manages to shoot one of the bad guys and they crash. The car bursts into flame, but Steve still runs toward it. Both men are dead and Milton is yelling that the car is going to blow. Steve is trying to reach for a wallet when his arm catches on fire. They run for cover just as the car blows up. Steve is sad that his best hope to ID those guys went up in smoke.
Steve is getting treated for his arm burn by Noelani who Milton mistakes for a nurse and she corrects him that she is a doctor. Milton doesn't want to look at the burn because he'll get sick, so he's watching an athlete get treated and notices the letterman jacket on the athlete's girlfriend. He pulls out a pic from Lila's case of her with some other girls and there's a letterman jacket in it. Flanagan helps them figure out that the letterman's sweater in Lila's picture is from Franklin High school and one of the girls in the photograph is Alexa Alani, a singer.
They go to the club where Alexa is on stage singing. (I liked her voice and all the authentic era music.) Before he can question Alexa, Steve sees Earl Blackstone and goes to talk to him. Earl (Adam) is not happy to see Steve and accuses HPD of harassing him. Steve says that if he wants HPD to leave him alone he shouldn't run illegal gambling dens and push dope. Of course, if Steve had any evidence Earl wouldn't be there sipping this fine liquor. Steve takes a swig from the bottle just for good measure (and to annoy Earl.) Back to Alexa who is now sitting at the bar. The boys approach her, but she won't talk to cops. Instead, she gives them a matchbook that says meet me in the alley in two minutes. (That won't be good.) They ask her how she knew Lila and it turns out they were hula girls together. Lila was working two jobs to pay off father's debts and Alexa saw her the night she disappeared getting into a man's fancy car. She was over the moon in love with him and he definitely gave her the diamond necklace. She tells them that it would have been a big scandal if anyone knew who it was, but before she can say his name, she's shot. Steve cradles her in his arms and asks her for the name. She manages to get out "James" before she dies. As they're loading her body into the ambulance, Captain Grover comes along and is ticked that they didn't followed orders to drop this and work the Blackstone case so he takes away their guns and badges. (Surprisingly a lot of the cast looks good with hats on.)
It's Dec. 7th and the boys meet up with Flanagan. He has film of archived old newspapers of when James Whitmour got a new fancy car called the Phantom II for his 25th birthday. He's the son of mobster Clarence Whitmour and was engaged to Ellen Debecker of the Debecker Diamond fortune. But the twist is, that the evening edition of the paper chronicled how James Whitmour died in a hail of bullets the same day Lila went missing. James was found in an alley (the picture they show is super ew), but McG notices that there's no pool of blood, even though he had multiple gunshot wounds. The autopsy showed that he was actually sitting down when he was shot, so the body was moved. If Lila left club with James, it's possible she was in the car when he was gunned down. Steve gets a phone call from the coroner's office and they ID'd one of the guys from the Fleetmaster crash. He was a known associate of Whitmour's! Obviously, Clarence knows who killed his son, but Steve thinks it was Earl Blackstone since there's a feud between the two families since 1932. James' death were probably the spark that ignited the whole thing, since Clarence wouldn't want people knowing his son was hanging out with a hula girl, so he covered it up. They go to talk to Clarence to find out what happened to Lila. (I sort of wish Adam was still a bad guy, haha! He plays them so well!)
They go to Clarence's compound armed with guns and hop the fence, take out a guard and open the gate. Walking up the driveway, they take out all the guards and shoot their way in. These are terrible guards who should have been fired for their incompetence since Steve and his crew easily overpower them all, including shooting through a wall to kill the guy walking down the creaky stairs. They have one last guy who is dumb enough to come down the main stairs, so they all shoot him. (A teensy bit violent, but okay.) They find Clarence and sit him down. He's not talking, so Steve plays Russian roulette with his gun and Clarence's knee. Clarence protests that they're cops, but they tell him they don't have badges. (The look on his face is hilarious.) Clarence listens while they tell him what they think they know, that James was in relationship with Lila, driving the Phantom II, when they were both killed inside the vehicle. James got word and told his goons to tidy it up and make it look like James was by himself. They finally give him a chance to talk, but before he can say anything sirens blare and when they look out window they see Japanese planes flying to Pearl Harbor. Uh oh. that can't be good.
Back to present day and Steve wakes up. He gathers all the papers and goes to the office. Danny is doing research on Chang and Steve says he thinks he's solved the case and knows what happened to Lila. The key is finding the car. She was last seen in the Phantom and the car is very distinctive. If Clarence wanted to avoid the tragedy turning to scandal, he would need to tow the bullet-riddled car somewhere and get rid of it. Well, there's a record from that night of Whitmour having his towing company take a car from downtown Honolulu to the Whitmour estate. (I guess the HPD missed that important detail and so did Chang?) Oddly, Whitmour submitted plans for a swimming pool on the estate and hired a company to start work, but satellite pics show there is no pool. Dun, dun, dun. They go to the compound and dig up the car. Lila's remains are still inside. Steve solved a 90 year old cold case in his sleep! He modestly says he just got it over the finish line. Steve goes to a Chang Apana exhibit-type room and he places Lila's picture next to Chang's picture before meeting Milton at a funeral for Lila.
Back at the restaurant Steve says the case got him thinking about what he really wants to do with his time. His grandfather would have given anything to be a cop and gave his life for country. (I'm still confused about that a little.) Steve has a badge and a great job, so what is he doing running a restaurant. (Which is what so many people have been asking for the last two years!) He apologizes to Danny, but says he loves his job and isn't going to walk away from that. Danny says if Steve is out, he's out too. He'd rather die from a bullet than the stress of running the restaurant. Luckily, Kamekona wants to buy them out of their shares.They have a celebratory drink to knowing when to quit.
I loved all the costumes and the feel of the old-fashioned case. The details were really well done from phones to cars to the toothpick in Steve's mouth. There were a few parts of the dream that didn't add up, but it was a dream after all and didn't take away from the overall feel for me. It was a fun 200th episode for sure!
Did you watch? What did you think?