Hawaii Five-O” fans have waited for what seems an eternity for their favorite Friday night crime-fighting force to return to its regular viewing slot. Eager doesn't begin to describe the mood of the most loyal of “Hawaii Five-O” fans for the upcoming March 2 16th episode for Season 8, “O na hoku a ka tani ka I ‘ike ia pae” (Only the Stars of Heaven Know Where Pae Is). After a long stretch of older episodes, however nice to revisit, fans are ready to see what awaits the “Hawaii Five-O” team, and Meaghan Rath, the new star female on the force, is “thrilled” to be part of the drama distinctly at home in the 50th state.

Meaghan Rath joined “Five-O” at a particularly painful and tumultuous juncture. Founding cast members of the 2010 incarnation of the police drama, Daniel Dae Kim, and Grace Park, made decisions to leave the show after failed salary negotiations for parity.

Show-runners and executive producer, Peter Lenkov, were particularly sensitive in seeking new actors who not only brought the right presence and attitude to their parts but who also reflected the intrinsic diversity of the drama after the unexpected storms of the summer prior to the start of Season 8. Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale came on as the newbies to “Hawaii Five-O,” and both rising stars have proved their worthiness in their parts in the “ohana.” Both characters have also learned that mistakes are part of the learning process in performing elite police duties.

In a February 22 interview for CBS Watch magazine, Meaghan Rath got real about her “Hawaii Five-O” experience so far, and the beautiful star is living proof that a tough lady can still love a pair of lovely pumps after toting pistols all day.

Beautiful and bruised ‘bad***’

Meaghan Rath began her description of being on “Hawaii Five-O” by detailing bruises on her whole body, but the Montréal-born star emphasized that it's “all part of everyone's entertainment” and totally worth the physical toll, laughing it off as “doing my part.” Rath credits her leading men co-stars, Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan for giving her a comfort level that was “so welcoming” as a new cast member.

No doubt that Alex O'Loughlin could also give some pointers on treating those bruises. The handsome Australian-born star has said that the current season may be his last because of the physical toll of his perpetrator-busting duties as Steve McGarrett. Scott Caan has also had limited filming this season due to an arm injury.

At 31, Meaghan Rath has youth and beauty on her side, but what makes her love her character of Tani Rey most is something very different.

“She's such a bad***-- she really wants to destroy people!” the actress exuded. At the same time, her character displays total love in the storyline from Episode 14 this season, when her brother, Koa (Kunal Sharma) reveals that he has a serious drug problem. His sister still employs “tough love” in insisting he get help, but the crushing sorrow and responsibility are reflected in Rath’s riveting portrayal. The season has also seen her use her feminine wiles and passionate wisdom on a wicked ex-boyfriend, and maintain her femininity while in quarantine with her all-boy quarter-mates.

Tani Rey has no issue talking back to her Commander or taking him in a game of chess. When called upon, she can handle a weapon with ferocity, but in real life, Meaghan Rath likes to laugh.

“I'm definitely sillier and goofier than Tani,” Meaghan insisted. She's been beaten up this season while training for her fight scenes, even left with a black eye, and being covered in her real blood, not the prop gel variety. Despite how comfortable she looks taking over the criminals far bigger than her on camera, the actress confesses that “I don't know how to dodge a punch in real life. I'm from Canada for God’s sake!"

The best kind of different

As Tani Rey, Meaghan Rath may complain about being chomped on by mosquitoes in the jungle, but she does her job, and then some.

Meaghan Rath didn't see any girls who looked like her when she became part of the teen show “15/Love” in Canada. Her heritage is British, Austrian, Jewish, and East Indian, all of which come through in any of her penetrating close-ups. What she hopes is that she can be a representation of the millions “from many different backgrounds” who are not typically the faces seen on TV, even now.

Tani Rey will be going undercover with Junior in next week's episode, and a preview already has her musing about how she will put together a convincing “mommy wardrobe” as a prospective adoptive parent. Whatever she's wearing, the couple can pull it off.

Sometimes the deepest memories aren’t always the loveliest.

Meaghan Rath most remembers the shooting for the ninth episode this season, “Make me kai,” when “Hawaii Five-O” is stricken with hemorrhagic flu by exposure from a biological terrorist. Filming took an entire week at sea, and seasickness and the evidence of it were literally everywhere. Meaghan Rath also recalled that what was supposed to be non-drowsy Dramamine tablets were indeed the usual variety, and had everyone passing out. It probably aided in making the illness seem more authentic, and the actress gushed: “we all came through, and don't think I'm not incredibly grateful to be on a show that people love so much,” she said. Just as “Hawaii Five-O” fans would agree, the memories, on-screen and off-camera, are worth it.