Alex O'Loughlin probably sensed that his “Hawaii Five-O” faithful needed just the right touch of his Australian wit and dialect this week. Fans in the US have had to endure a forced hiatus of their favorite crime-fighting force during the annual NCAA “March Madness” Basketball tournament play, and this week, all the contenders in the 2019 bracketology have come down to the “Sweet 16.”

Only three episodes remain scheduled for “Hawaii Five-O” in Season 9, but longtime fans of Alex O'Loughlin and his elite force of crime-fighters who fill their Friday nights will certainly consider the resumption of the season as a sweet relief.

“Hawaii Five-O” returns with a new episode on April 5 and, in the meantime, Alex O'Loughlin was glowing with apparent gratitude over nine seasons of his drama, and his character of Steve McGarrett, at PaleyFest, as reported by Global News Canada and other sources on March 25.

Fit for the dash and deferring credit

The actor graciously obliged the waiting throng of fans, with a few kind words and autographs, before dashing into the star-studded affair, joining fellow Friday night CBS lineup stars Lucas Till of “MacGyver” and Jay Hernandez of “Magnum PI” for photos. Alex O'Loughlin chose a black zip-front casual athletic jacket over a black T-shirt, quite a bit more casual than the combat-ready attire he dons as McGarrett.

“Am I part of that?” questioned Alex O'Loughlin when reminded by an interviewer that “Hawaii Five-O” was the most successful reboot of a series in television history. “I'm very proud to be a part of this,” he continued, insisting that “in a larger sense, it's sort of got nothing to do with me.”

The multitalented star who has created the complex conflicted, and often courageous to a fault character of McGarrett calls himself only a “conduit” for the story and the characters to flow through on “Hawaii Five-O.” “I show up and I do my job, but I'm really just a cog in the wheel,” deflects the man who has drawn fans across the globe since his roles in the films “The Oyster Farmer” and “The Backup Plan” before coming to television in “Three Rivers” and “Moonlight” before taking on McGarrett.

Alex O'Loughlin was nominated as Best Lead Actor in Television by the Australian Film Institute for his 2005 role in “The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant” but his role as Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett, the boss of “Hawaii Five-O,” has endeared him in many hearts and recorded him in the annals of television history. He praises “the mind” of series creator, Peter Lenkov, for his insatiable ability to create “original content” out of thin air.

“That dude, I don't know how it does if,” marvels for the leading man.

Still loving life and work

Spring is the time when the television world anxiously awaits the news of renewals. “Hawaii Five-O” consistently keeps its audience of faithful fans glued to screens, being the center of the CBS Friday night “hero sandwich” between “MacGyver” and “Blue Bloods.” The drama should have no trouble getting good news soon regarding a Season 10, and fans will celebrate and revel along with the cast and creators over making it a true decade of television.

As far as the way Alex O'Loughlin prefers to celebrate, he playfully offered that “we got hammered and ate cake” after celebrating their momentous 200th episode.

“We're a little grayer and not as pretty,” confesses the 42-year-old, but the fans don't seem to mind the touches of silver in the hair or seasoned wisdom of the elder “Five-O” force in the least.

The father and stepfather to three sons with his wife, Malia Jones, makes Hawaii home with his “man factory” as he likes to say. His only complaint about work comes in the hot Oahu summers when the series begins shooting. The weight of tactical gear and “chasing guys and rolling around on concrete” not to mention the lush island foliage, frequently causes Alex O'Loughlin to sweat through six T-shirts.

Still, all in all, it has been a life that he and “Hawaii Five-O” fans have appreciated for what's about to become 10 years now.

Episode 20 of Season 9, "Ke ala o ka pu," (Way of the Gun), will air on April 5.