Chi McBride takes the “Hawaii Five-O” force and faithful Friday night viewers of the drama on a riveting personal ride in the January 12, Episode 13 for Season 8, “O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia (What Is Gone Is Gone).” This is hardly the first time that the talented and utterly believable actor has delivered a tour de force performance on “Hawaii Five-O,” but this journey transcends experienced police protocol, and becomes deeply connected to Lou Grover's most personal crisis, and Chi McBride brings home the message of preventing suicide to the very last frame.

From leisure to life in the balance

It is supposed to be a rare, somewhat leisurely day for “Hawaii Five-O” as the story opens. Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath) are out paddle boarding talking about the history and bonds of “Hawaii Five-O.” Steve is defending that Hawaii will always be home before the leisure pace becomes a race, which Tani takes again. A call from Will Grover comes, about a suspect wanted for pushing his wife to her death from their high-rise apartment, who is now threatening to take his life. Lou is sharing some fatherly advice with his son, Will (Chosen Jacobs) about the importance of simply listening to the woman in his life. An alert comes in about a car with a particular license plate, and lo and behold, the captain and his son literally roll right up on the target.

Lou instructs his son to call Steve, and stay in the car, and this time, Will listens. At first, Lou’s only objective is to get the suspect out of the car, without his weapon, so that justice can proceed. Keeping a potential suicide victim talking is the first course in proper protocol. The more the suspect, Brad Woodward (Devon Sawa) shares, the more Lou feels inclined to believe him, and he tells Steve to have the team investigate all they can about the death of his wife.

Initially, the scene seems to tell a cut-and-dry story of Brad's guilt. Only his DNA is under the fingernails of his wife, and neighbors are staying mum about hearing anything. Junior (Beulah Koale) takes the initiative to pull the footage from a bank ATM across the street, which might prove whether Brad was at the apartment or not at the wife's time of death.

Sure enough, it shows he was long gone by the time she leaped to her fate, clearing him of murder. The crisis, however, is far from over, because Brad is clinging to his gun.

Haunting mistakes

McGarrett stands firm for the captain when Keegan (Kenric Green) pushes to take over, insisting that Grover is becoming too vulnerable once he holsters his weapon, and moves to get inside the car. As Woodward unfolds a tortured story of love and the misstep of never sharing his wife's struggle with deep depression, and her never being willing to seek professional help, Lou is mentally taken back to the case that transformed his life, and brought him to the island. Woodward did love his wife, but he came to the end of his rope.

Back in Chicago, Lou was negotiating with a tormented father, holding his helpless, two-year-old son, Christian. Before Lou could get himself close to the father, he shot himself and the child. The pain of the senseless loss seared itself into Grover’s very being. He could not let go, and he could not forgive himself.

The most powerful scenes depict Lou’s plunge into darkness, trying to drink the memory away, and contemplating his own suicide. He almost succeeds. He cries desperately to his wife, Renee (Michelle Hurd), “Why did you change my safe?” in wrenching, emotional moments. He plots to succeed one day when she makes a grocery run, pointing the pistol at his chest but interrupted when he hears a noise from the kitchen.

His son broke a dish, not being at school as his dad had thought. That delightful, unexpected revelation gave Captain Grover hope again. He convinces Woodward that he can find hope and help, too, “getting through one day, then another,” and he at last surrenders the gun.

The trauma of his own experience convinced Lou that he could never “move on” in Chicago, and he transitioned to the “warmer place” on the island. Any “Hawaii Five-O” fan who remembers Chi McBride's performances from “Boston Public,” or through his pursuit of his former friend and nemesis, Clay Maxwell (Mykelti Williamson), for the murder of his wife in seasons 5 and 6 of “Hawaii Five-O” will be transported by this transcendent performance.

There is a tense moment when the unknowing father of the deceased wife decides to take his own justice, almost killing everyone handling the crisis. The most touching moment comes when dad, Grover, tells his son that “you did more than you know” after a day never to be forgotten.

Chi McBride offers a public service announcement for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the close of the episode. Help is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).