"Hawaii Five-0" has had some fun over the years -- putting Alex O'Loughlin's McGarrett in an MMA ring, dressing up Masi Oka's Max as Danny Zuko, and of course all of those "carguments," but in next week's episode, producers are handing over the storyline to the viewers, who can pick their own ending to the show.
"Masi Oka called me up out of the blue and said, 'Hey, it would be great if we can do an episode that has multiple endings. It's the format of the future,'" Executive Producer Peter Lenkov told AccessHollywood.com of how the twist on the drama's upcoming January 14 episode took shape. "When I brought it up to CBS... they said, 'We've been thinking about doing it also.' And it seemed to be like the right time to do it."
Here's how it will work: Kicking off at "Hawaii Five-0's" usual time of 10 PM ET/PT, the episode will find the team investigating the death of an O'ahu State University professor. Three potential culprits will emerge -- #theBoss, #theTA and #theStudent. After their potential motives for murder are revealed, voting begins on CBS.com and Twitter. Fans on the social networking site can type in the hash tag of their selection and Tweet it out to cast their vote.
Whichever suspect gets the most votes will have their ending scene played on the show - a potentially different ending for the East, Central and Pacific Time Zone broadcasts.
Despite his involvement in the unique, viewer-friendly concept, Oka won't be in the final scene where the killer is revealed.
"Here's the beauty of Masi -- it's not about him," Lenkov said of the actor, who plays Dr. Max Bergman. "He really does genuinely care about the show, so if he pitches something, it's not always about his character or his storyline or about him. It's about really about the show."
Instead, it will be Scott Caan's Danny "Danno" Williams, O'Loughlin's McGarrett and Daniel Dae Kim's Chin Ho Kelly, who solve the case by finding the killer.
"In this episode, Danny has his nephew in town, so our heroes have to go off island to solve the case and it's really McGarrett and Chin Ho, who go off to do the physical take down," Lenkov explained. "Danny's sort of saddled, he's got [this] ball and chain -- his nephew -- with him, so he's gotta stay on the island and together... the four of them solve the case, but McGarrett and Chin do the physical work."
Asked if he's worried about the moment when, after the votes are tallied, someone has to plop in the chosen scene in real-time, Lenkov admitted he is a little concerned.
"Yep," he laughed. "It's not just this. I'm worried about everything. I'm worried about every second of every show. Look, besides the logistics, besides the sort of like, 'Are we gonna be able to actually do this and somebody's going to have to hit a switch somewhere and put the right ending on,' I'm also I'm hoping that the audience finds that it was worth the ride... and they got to play along a little bit. That's the stuff that's really important to me -- if the audience is satisfied and they feel like that this is something that if it works, they want to see it again -- not necessarily with our show, but maybe it could be part of [a] format down the road."
For fans whose suspect selection doesn't turn out to be the culprit in their time zone, CBS.com will have all the alternate endings online after the broadcasts.
"Hawaii Five-0" airs Mondays at 10 ET/PT on CBS.
-- Jolie Lash
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