'NCIS' Hawai'i Episode 5 Review: A murder mystery, some romance and Shambala

For now, 'NCIS: Hawai'i' barring the odd, clunky writing at times moves at a brisk pace


                            'NCIS' Hawai'i Episode 5 Review: A murder mystery, some romance and Shambala
Vanessa Lachey and Enver Gjokaj in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' (CBS)
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Spoilers for 'NCIS: Hawai'i Episode 5 'Gaijin'

The last time there was an utterance of the word 'Gaijin', the memory dates back to 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' where the protagonist, Sean (Sean Boswell) was called an "A gaijin" meaning an outsider. In 'NCIS: Hawai'i' the title can get a tad misleading considering the murder being investigated in the chapter was committed by one of their own. To set the context, a Japanese sailor, an ISSO,  is found stabbed in the heart, and the evidence links to his girlfriend who was murdered in a similar fashion back in Japan.

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The onus is on special agent Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) to find the killer, and making a special appearance is Captain Milius (Enver Gjokaj) leading the Japanese Navy who are looking for answers as well. The initial suspect is Abby Nelson (Madeline Zima), a friend of the murdered woman who aces her polygraph with utmost ease and projects an icy-cold demeanor that has the department convinced that she's the one behind the murder. However, deeper investigations reveal she is in clear.

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Toshiji Takeshima ('The Forgotten Army') makes a special appearance as inspector Kento Mori assisting the NCIS squad with the case. There's enough build-up created and in true NCIS fashion, the story moves at a rapid pace in the final ten minutes where it is revealed that the killed soldier's lover had an affair with his commanding officer and eventually rebuffed his moves, leading him to kill the woman, as well as her boyfriend who had stumbled upon an important clue.

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As far as Shambala goes, this one's all about Yasmine Al-Bustami's Lucy Tara's aversion to karaoke. In the end, some liquid courage and some egging by the team led by Ernie (Jason Antoon) get her crooning on stage. That's as far as the comedic elements in the episode go. Milius and Vanessa have had a purely professional relationship, and although the latter politely declines a dinner date offer, there is no doubt that there were sparks that could lead to an interesting romantic angle.

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For now, 'NCIS: Hawai'i' barring the odd, clunky writing at times moves at a brisk pace. It may not be all that action-packed as its predecessors, but it does have enough to hook the audience.

'NCIS: Hawai'i' airs Mondays at 10 pm ET on CBS.