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​Would Hawaii Five-0 Continue Without Alex O'Loughlin?

The show's boss weighs in

Liz Raftery

Alex O'Loughlin, who plays Lt. Comm. Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0, has hinted that the eighth season of the show (which is currently in the middle of its seventh) would be his last. While many Five-0 fans can't imagine the show continuing without its star, showrunner Peter Lenkov has a different take.

"As long as people are watching the show, we would keep going," Lenkov tells TVGuide.com. "If Alex elects not to come back, that's obviously going to be his choice. But we're moving forward as if the show's going to keep going.In addition, contrary to O'Loughlin's statements that the relationship between McGarrett and Catherine (Michelle Borth) reached its endpoint in last week's episode, Lenkov says there's more story to be told for the two characters.

"We're not looking at it as being finished," Lenkov says. "It's just a story we're telling along the way. .... There's fans of the show that either love [Catherine] or hate her, and they're very vocal, both sides. But we always saw Catherine being a part of the entire arc of this franchise."

Hawaii Five-0 Mega Buzz: Claire Forlani's will return in an "unexpected" way

Tonight's episode of Hawaii Five-0 features a big revelation that will put Grover (Chi McBride) and Danny (Scott Caan) in an awkward position. Read our full Q&A with Lenkov and co-showrunner Eric Guggenheim to find out what's ahead for them, as well as a few teases about a "big cliffhanger" coming up in the midseason finale.

TVGuide.com: Danny discovers that his daughter Grace is dating Grover's son Will this week. What can you tease about that episode?
Peter Lenkov:
We had hoped it was going to be a surprise, but the promo department let that surprise out. We've sort of built up this idea up over a couple of episodes of [Danny's daughter] Grace having a boyfriend and nobody knowing who it is.

Does the discovery make things awkward for Danny and Grover?
Eric Guggenheim:
It does. Danny's reaction, it's not quite what you expect, but it's a very juicy situation, because we have these two guys who are friends but they're also very protective of their children. It sort of puts them at odds, at least in this coming episode. It's something that we're going to continue to explore for the rest of the season, really.

Lenkov: I think Danny's just relieved that he knows who it is. I think it was more stressful not knowing who the guy was, and I think he's very relieved to know that he knows the kid. Because he thinks that Will, Grover's son, is a good kid, and if [Grace] is gonna be with anybody, he would be a good influence on her.

Danny still treats his daughter like she's really that little 7-year-old, and Grover treats his son as a young man. That's the key difference. [Grover's] looking at [Will] wherever he is age-wise and treating him like an adult, and Danny still wants to hang on to the young little girl that Grace was, and is having trouble adjusting to the fact that she's actually becoming a teenager and becoming a young adult.

Alex McLoughlin: McGarrett would be "an idiot" to take Catherine back

Speaking of parenting, has Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) really lost custody of Sara for good?
Lenkov: It's become a big storyline for us, Chin's relationship with Sara. ... The story doesn't end, but the story takes a very interesting turn. It's for sure something that not only plays very big in the next batch of episodes, but is going to play through the end of the season as well.

Is there anything significant coming up for Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) and Kono (Grace Park)?
We're going to do a few more episodes with Adam, and we're hoping to involve him a lot more next season.

Scott Caan, Alex O'Loughlin, Hawaii Five-0
Norman Shapiro, CBS

What other big episodes do you have coming up before the end of the year?
In Episode 10, we're going to meet one of Danny's sisters [played by Missy Peregrym].
Lenkov: She's not involved in a crime or anything, but she's in Hawaii with her company that she works for on a corporate retreat. And we do an emotional story between her and Danny, which seems like it's going to be fun. ... We're building to a pretty big midseason finale cliffhanger in Episode 11. We've never really done that, by the way, sort of end on a cliffhanger midseason. So we're trying that this year.

Who does the cliffhanger relate to?
One Chin Ho Kelly.

Alex O'Loughlin has indicated that Season 8 would be his last. Do you know why he would say that? Have you had a conversation about an end date for the show?
Positioning himself for a better deal? I don't know. We always saw it as, honestly, as long as people are watching the show, we would keep going. If Alex elects not to come back, that's obviously going to be his choice. But we're moving forward as if the show's going to keep going. I'm pretty certain that we're going to at least have one more year. Even if we did end [with] Season 8, the idea of doing eight seasons on a reboot of a show is pretty spectacular. But we're planning on moving forward.

We've had no conversations with him. Sometimes when you get to this part of the season, exhaustion sets in, especially when you're celebrating the 150th episode. But some of that could be just being tired, a product of the fact that you haven't had a lot of time off. But yeah, we're moving forward as if we'll be on the air for hopefully more than another year.

If Alex did leave, would you continue the show without McGarrett?
: Oh yeah, for sure. Over the years, we've built such a strong family ... Clearly, there's the Danny/McGarrett relationship, and McGarrett is such a strong character, and the franchise was built on the shoulders of McGarrett. But I think episodes that have McGarrett playing lesser of a role, and we sort of put other characters forward, I think they do just as well and I think people really like the family that we've built. So, yeah, if it comes to that, there's still life after that character. But nobody's looking forward to that happening. We're all hoping he stays.

Hawaii Five-0 airs Fridays at 9/8c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)