“Pa Make Loa” is episode twenty-one of season two of Hawaii Five-0 and the episode opens at night and a man is pounding on a house door whilst a woman and two children cower inside. She calls the police; it’s her estranged husband and he sounds as if he’s been drinking. He owns several guns. When HPD arrive, the man stumbles into view, covered in pustules, asking them to help him before he collapses, apparently dead.
Danny is in McGarrett’s home; in the previous episode, “Ha’alele”, McGarrett had headed to Japan. Danny is going through some stuff when Chin arrives; Danny had a key from when he was crashing there. Danny thinks he’s figured out where Steve went, showing Chin a map of Japan that has ‘Shelburne’ written on it. It’s not McGarrett’s handwriting; Chin recognises it as being Steve’s father’s. No, Danny is not going to Japan too, he is going to stay in Hawaii and do his job. Leaving and not telling anyone where he is going is not Danny’s style. McGarrett left a note and then nothing. Then Danny gets a call from the governor.
Kono arrives at the house to meet Danny and Chin. The house has a tent around the door and the CDC is on the scene. The dead man, Bryan Palmer, died of a rare strain of haemorrhagic smallpox that is almost always fatal. Kono thought smallpox had been eradicated; Danny tells her not to believe everything the internet says.
Max briefly examined the body before the CDC took it away and incinerated it. He did get blood and tissue samples, as well as photos. Palmer was honourably discharged from the army 10 months ago and since then has been claiming disability. Smallpox is known to be stored in two facilities, one the CDC, the other in Russia. Although there are believed to be hidden stores in Russia, France, North Korea and Iran. Max says that Palmer wasn’t exposed whilst he was in the army, nor was he exposed in the traditional way. He believes Palmer was injected with the disease. There’s no telling how many people Palmer may have exposed.
Mrs Palmer is feeling guilty but Danny tells her she probably saved the lives of her and her children by not letting her husband in. Bryan had moved out, because they’d been having problems since he returned from Afghanistan. However, she thought they were doing better. Then Bryan stopped going to family counselling or answering the phone. She thought he’d been drinking again, alone. Danny hopes that would be the case, rather than wandering around, exposing people. First, they have to head to a smallpox infested hotel room. Which CDC are clearing out. Danny finds some vials of something in the room’s fridge, together with syringes.
Not smallpox, though, but an experimental antidepressant. The trials being held on the island were double blind; only the company’s local representative knew who was taking part. And he hasn’t shown up to work. This is, as Chin and Danny discover, because he’s dead. It seems like he killed himself with car fumes – except there was blood on the car headrest. Kono has been tracking Palmer’s phone, which leads to a biohazard bag full of clothing in a bin. That is not safe disposal of hazardous waste.
The man in the car, Ken Tanner, died from blunt force trauma to the back of the head. There’s also a fingerprint on the car keys, belonging to a Dracul Comescu. A Romanian who is on the NCIS watchlist, specifically the Office of Special Projects in Los Angeles. He calls Sam Hanna – this is a crossover episode with NCIS: Los Angeles – and mentions then name. Sam is with Callen; yes, they know the name. Sam apparently knows McGarrett as well; well, they are both SEALs. Callen explains the Comescu belonged to an organised crime family they recently put an end to. When hearing about the smallpox, the two hop on a USAF plane heading to Hawaii.
From the clothing Kono recovered, Charlie Fong has identified that it belongs to probably four people. He also has hair to test for DNA. Danny greets Sam and Callen as they arrive at Pearl Harbor, and explains what they know. They don’t know where Palmer was for the last week. Callen explains that Comescu is simply in it for the money and spent three weeks in Siberia. Probably buying smallpox. So, he probably has a buyer.
Three other people are identified from their hair. All are missing, all were on the drug trial, all were either single or divorced, had no local family and were on disability. So, no job. And no-one to notice quickly if they disappear. The trial is legitimate, so Tanner was presumably bribed for suitable names. And he was in financial trouble, until he came into a large chunk of cash. Part of which he used to outfit a lab on Sand Island. Formerly called Quarantine Island.
Sam spends time trying to come up with a name for Danny’s car and critiquing Danny’s driving and clothing choices. The story doesn’t end in this episode but continues in the NCIS: Los Angeles episode, “Touch of Death”. McGarrett doesn’t appear at all in this episode.
This episode’s name means “Touch of Death”.