Hawaii Five-O” came roaring back from its March Madness hiatus on March 30 with an episode full of heart, loyalty, and looking to the greater good. Alex O'Loughlin took his directorial debut in the 18th episode for Season 8, “E ho’oko kuleana (To Do One’s Duty),” and the actor expressed his commitment to depicting his heart for the “human condition” as he prepared for his work behind the camera.

Speaking of heart, Scott Caan gives a marvelous performance as Danny from back in 1999, a cop on call who comes to a domestic disturbance with his partner, and cannot leave an abused wife in peril. He also cannot help falling in love, and ultimately, heartbreak leads to his future.

Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) is literally a breath away from being in prison for the murder of Tashiro when McGarrett and Captain Grover (Chi McBride) go full throttle to get answers. Lt. Commander McGarrett tasks Junior and Tani (Beulah Koale and Meaghan Rath) to be patrol officers, truly allowing them to get the feel for those on the “front line” of protection. Their day of duty teaches about intuition and trust much more than codes from the police manual, ending with a lesson in senior self-protection.

Life in chains

Three storylines are woven together in this moving episode merging past to present. The action opens as Brooke Gardner (Joanna Christie) is in a brutally abusive marriage [VIDEO], feeling chained to that existence by her husband, Ray (Daniel Kaemon). Paralyzed with fear, she shuns Danny's intervention, so he gives her his card, telling her to hide it for safety, and to know for sure that if she calls, he will come.

Even at the moment Danny leaves, he is targeted by Ray.

Faithful “Hawaii Five-O” viewers will recall that the last time we saw Adam, he was speeding away with a scream [VIDEO], nearly sure he was betrayed by Jessie (Christine Ko). This episode begins with a really rough day, as the task force leader is arrested and taken for interrogation after Hideki Tashiro’s dead body is revealed in the trunk of his car. Adam is chained to the table, but unflinching as ever, refusing to surrender his confidential informant.

Junior and Tani arrive at McGarrett's office to find their boss strumming “Blue Hawaii” with Frank Bama (Jimmy Buffett), “the only person allowed to be barefoot in this office,” relates the commander. The Portuguese guitar is a gift from Frank, but the day won't be any gift for Junior and Tani, who must complete a shift “in uniform” before being “Hawaii Five-O.” Junior insists that he should not be the only recruit “to do the honored work,” so both ride on patrol.

Truth can be hard to find

The scenes are beautifully meshed, and flow through memories and eras as only “Hawaii Five-O” can do.

Brooke has returned to positively identify Ray’s body, and Danny reveals how he nearly lost his life over the lasting grudge of the man from whom she ultimately broke free. After a beating that sends her to the hospital, Danny tracks Ray down at a bar in off-duty hours, taking his pistol, but instead, he calls for a car to arrest him. He divulges that he is the man who is involved with Brooke, leading to another beating, and harbored anger held for 20 years, feeding the tragedy of what happened while “Hawaii Five-O” was in quarantine after exposure to hemorrhagic flu.

Danny helps Brooke find safety in a shelter, and she finds the strength to start a new life. The scenes are fully authentic and empathetic through both actors, with Caan a standout. For their parts alone, this episode is a keeper. The most moving of their scenes is one when Brooke is reflecting on how she came so close to “being the one on the slab,” and Danny reminds her as she holds Ray’s ashes that “this should be about you” and not about her abuser. She flings the ashes into the air, finally embracing her freedom.

Another scene shows Danny's ex-wife, Rachel (Claire van der Boom) when she literally “bumps” his car as he leaves Brooke. Every door that closes leads to another open one, and a later scene shows Rachel and Danny present-day, as she invites him to finish a story with Charlie (Zach Sulzbach).

Junior and Tani do their share of good work in the community, from settling a lover’s quarrel over a hotel stay, to helping a father seek intervention to restore and maintain the love of his son. The natural interplay between Koale and Rath adds just the right sass to “Hawaii Five-O.” There shift ends on a stinging humorous note, when Junior tries to help an elderly lady safely across the street only to be sprayed with mace. Tani cannot wait to tattle on how her Navy Seal partner was “owned by a grandma.”

It takes a McGarrett-style chase to get Jessie in for questioning, and more chains, too. She convinces Grover and the commander that she was fleeing for her life, but never surrendered Adam to the crime bosses on high. She takes them to the scene that she described as “a bloodbath” only to find the whole area swept clean. McGarrett finds enough to know that she's telling the truth, and Adam is free.

The episode closes with a cliffhanger when Steve tells Adam that a genetic “family match” of a female has been detected from Tashiro’s body. “I have a half-sister,” he speaks as the “Hawaii Five-O” theme and credits roll.

The only thing missing from this episode was Eddie, but there are more weeks to come, and a bright possibility of “Hawaii Five-O” Season 9. Michelle Borth returns for an episode on April 13.