S06E05 - “The Sunday Torch” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)

Act One

Church bells toll on a peaceful Sunday but multiple HPD officers are keeping their eyes open for smoke and fires. As two checkpoints and a helicopter call in all clear, a fire chief (Kwan Hi Lim) drives around with Danno in the car explaining their new game: "The Sunday Special" typing up "40 men, four cars, two choppers" along with the combined force of the arson squad with supporting HPD and HFD units. They don't know who they're looking for: "man, woman, kid". One of the checkpoints calls in a person carrying a package at Fort Street and Beretania. When he calls in the man is breaking into the building, multiple units respond right away including the fire chief who makes an impressive u-turn! Meanwhile, the firebug makes preparations to set another fire. When the fire chief and Danno arrive on scene, Danno asks which window and runs to it with multiple HPD officers fanning out. Danno and the fire chief make their way into the basement of the building both with their guns drawn. As the firebug lights up the next building, Danno tells the man (David 'Lippy' Espinda) to freeze. The man is taken by surprise and after some questioning by Danno who isn't too sure about a sled being built in Honolulu; he explains he's the school janitor building the kids a sled due to the upcoming Christmas holiday. He broke because he forgot his key at home and it would take far longer to go retrieve it than just open the window. Danno asks for some identification and the man obliges. However, problems have only just begun because the building the firebug has hit is already in flames as an HPD officer runs down to report a "10-59 on Ala Moana".

Several HFD units respond as the firefighters do their job and try to keep the crowds back. One man (Tom Simcox) stands in the middle of the street filming the goings on and the gathered crowds. He focuses in on one young man (Michael Anderson Jr.) for an unknown reason. When Danno and the fire chief show up, the young man walks away from the scene with the man filming every move.

In McGarrett's office, he runs down the last several fires with the team, the fire chief and Che (Harry Endo) all taking place on Sunday and arson in every case: "a warehouse, a boatyard, a beautician's training school and a half-finished apartment house". The fire chief verifies arson was in play at every fire. The fire chief points out hot spots and touch off points plus the fires were so hot they consumed any incendiary substances, if any were used. The only motive the fire chief has is pyromania meaning they can strike anywhere, anytime with no rhyme or reason. While kicking around ideas, the fire chief assumes the firebug is male and could be transient, unemployed and product of a broken home. However, the bug only strikes on Sunday so he could be "a religious nut". McGarrett notices something else: so far, no one has been hurt but that could just be luck. McGarrett sends Che to check out microscopic samples fro what HPD has been able to dig up. Then he sets Chin and Ben to the computer to check back on arrest records for the last five years for any crime where a fire was involved even if it was incidentally. He wants Danno to check mainland files for "a Sunday torch" anywhere in the U.S. McGarrett then escorts Monty, the fire chief, out letting him know he'll check the pyromania himself.

At the 'Institute of Mental Health,' McGarrett sees a doctor (Jean Tarrant) about looking at the records for those who have pyromania tendencies. He's already seen some, those with criminal records but she won't budge on the rest. McGarrett has already asked for a hearing to look into the files but she plans to oppose him every step of the way. She also refuses to ask them to see McGarrett voluntarily because she sees it as betraying their confidence.

In an office, a couple watches film on the latest fire. The man who filmed says he checked out the young man who showed up to fires two, three and four to discover he's unemployed, lives alone and has stalked the kid to find out he goes for treatment twice a week at the mental health hospital. The man watching (Lyle Bettger) says they're ready for "the big one".

At the unemployment office, the young man, Ray Stokely, picks up his unemployment check. Ray wants anything they can offer but there are no jobs available today. A woman (Jo Pruden) calling herself "Carolyn Rogers" but was really the woman watching the latest fire on film, stops Ray saying she's aware of his special circumstance. She gives him an address and tells him to ask for Mr. Klepper who will be expecting him. Ray takes the information and walks away.

The address is for Klepper Pharmaceutical Company where Klepper, the man who watched the film earlier interviews Ray for a job. Ray says he last worked in Cleveland and wanted to travel as for his reason for leaving but his conscience gets the better of him. Ray comes clean on his troubled past as a youth: a judge sentenced to one year in a mental institution and he still goes for outpatient treatment. Klepper admires Ray's honesty and gives him a job in the shipping room but he passes the laboratory on the way, fascinated by a flame in the window.

Act Two

Another day ends at Klepper Pharmaceutical when a guard (Clarence Garcia) walks in with Klepper pointing to Ray saying, "that's him". The guard forces Ray out the door with Klepper following to Ray's car. When trunk is opened, boxes of stolen drugs are found in it, as Ray is dumbstruck. He claims his innocence but Klepper won't hear of it telling the guard to kick him out of the grounds.

It's Sunday again as the church bells toll, HPD and Five-O keep their eyes open for another "10-59". Meanwhile, "Rogers" calls Ray saying he wasn't treated fairly at Klepper and she wants to help offering to pick him up in half an hour.

"Rogers" drives Ray to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor but once they arrive, she locks him in a shack! From inside, he can hear her car depart and he's basically screwed because no one knows where he is!

At Klepper Pharmaceutical, the firebug a.k.a. the man filming the fire from earlier sets about creating another inferno. The security guard (Chuck Couch) outside hears some unusual noise and investigates the warehouse where the firebug is. Once inside, the guard sees shavings on the floor and knows he's dealing with the firebug drawing his gun. However, the firebug gets the better of him and the guard is trapped inside when the fire starts! The firebug leaves the building slinging the can of fuel he uses to start the fire.

Ben looks over Honolulu noticing the smoke from Klepper Pharmaceutical calling it in. Monty makes another u-turn with McGarrett in the car as he radios all units to respond prompting HPD and HFD resources to move in. Meanwhile, the guard manages to escape but he's covered in flames!

Act Three

On the scene, an intern (Richard Kuga) tells McGarrett the security guard stayed conscious long enough to get out. Firefighters keep working on the building as the rest of Five-O shows up with Che. McGarrett tells Ben he was the guard guarded around the clock as he tells Chin to talk to witnesses and look for suspects. He also wants Che to start digging looking for anything that will tell them about the firebug they don't already know. He finally wants Danno to contact the owner to have them meet in McGarrett's office and a full background on the owner too. As operations mop up, Monty says it's the same story: hot spots and trailers. Che finds the can in the brush and it "maybe the jackpot".

Once the time has expired; "Rogers" opens the padlock to the shack and takes off. Ray tries the door and is able to escape in time to see the blue station wagon drive away.

Klepper is pulled into McGarrett's office told the fire was purposely set. Klepper claims to be an honest businessman providing 200 jobs with top wages. Klepper does point the finger at Ray because he tells McGarrett about Ray stealing and how he was fired causing a major scene. Klepper says he can't remember Ray's name exactly and calls his personnel manager to verify the name. As Klepper makes his call, Danno quietly walks in pulling McGarrett out to speak to Che who has determined the ignition source is a chemical called teffrin: odorless, colorless and highly flammable. McGarrett wants to know who sells in and any recent buyers. Before taking off, Danno briefs the reports on Klepper are just being received: he's one of the most successful businessmen on the islands and there are no recent insurance additions. McGarrett walks back into his office as Klepper hangs up the phone. He gives McGarrett's Ray's name and address.

McGarrett, Chin and Ben screech to Ray's address with Chin heading to the back. The place is empty but there's something interesting by the back door: a case of teffrin with a can missing!

In McGarrett's office, he puts the fire locations on his transparent board. Danno walks in with a report of the teffrin delivery: yesterday from the Pali Hardware Store and the order was by phone with the money in an envelope taped to the door. Dr. Bishop, the same doctor from earlier, walks in with Ray's case file and still reluctantly hands it over. She tells him she believes Ray is cured from the pyromania but McGarrett doesn't buy it with a building going up once a week and his history, motive and purchase of teffrin. He orders Danno to put out an APB on Ray for arson and attempted murder.

Ray wanders back into town only to be stopped by an unmarked HPD car. The officer (Bernard Ching) places him under arrest.

Act Four

The firebug is packing to leave as Klepper pounds on his door. Klepper is late because he's been talking to the police for over an hour. He has issue with his security guard being hurt who is now in a coma in the hospital. The firebug doesn't care giving Klepper a reel of film telling him to do his job for "Phase four" of the plan. The firebug also reminds Klepper he's now an accomplice in the arsons.

The film is delivered to the newspaper anonymously and McGarrett runs it in his office as Ray watches with Danno and Dr. Bishop present. McGarrett wants to know if anything looks fake or unreal to Ray who identifies himself to being present at three of the fires. He says he was there to look and nothing more. McGarrett backs him to his last day at the Klepper plant: after he was fired, Ray went home and stayed there until "Rogers" called him the Sunday morning. Chin interrupts: there is no "Rogers" at the State Employment Office. McGarrett's theory is that Ray was angry and lit up the warehouse but Ray denies it. McGarrett tells Chin to take him to detention and get him something to eat but on the way out of the office, Ray sees the newspaper photo of the Kleppers. McGarrett is certain Ray is their torch but Dr. Bishop tells him the way Ray acted at the fires is not how a pyro would act. She challenges him to take a close look at his file, "you wanted it badly enough" before leaving. They double-checked Ray's story about being in the shack. Che calls saying his prints were all over the shack but there's no way to know when he was there. McGarrett bounces a frame up idea off Danno who says it's possible but if the firing was part of the plan, that means Klepper was in on it too: along with "a nonexistent blonde". However, the theory falls apart at Klepper who is very successful. Danno runs him down again: successful business with contracts to Army hospitals and a quiet personal life. McGarrett keys in on the Army hospitals and wants Danno to send off a telex to the Pentagon tagging it a "confidential police emergency" asking for status of Klepper Pharmaceutical. The telex prints out exactly what they want. After McGarrett rips off the page, he summons Monty and tells Danno to bring in the Kleppers.

The Kleppers are brought into McGarrett's office where he would like them to make a positive identification of Ray who was filmed at three of the Sunday fires. Ben closes the blinds as McGarrett starts the film. Klepper finally picks out Ray who walks away from the fire, something McGarrett finds curious because pyromaniacs don't walk away! When Ray was younger, he would lead the firemen to the scene and show them where he started the fire in typical pyromania behavior. McGarrett says the other fires were set to find someone like Ray and Monty points out they would also establish a pattern where the real arson fire, the one at Klepper's factory, would be buried. Klepper is put on the hot seat when Danno reveals 25 cases of hepatitis were reported at Army hospitals directly linked with Klepper's drugs causing a suspension in their use. A full-scale inspection was to take place next with the governor in order to find the source of the outbreaks. Klepper claims the inspection would have cleared him. But there are larger issues: the security guard, Alfred Johnson has died from his injuries. It's no longer arson, it's also murder. McGarrett then produces a blonde wig asking Mrs. Klepper to put it on but she refuses. Ben opens the door for Ray who walks in recognizing Klepper right away and a familiarity with Mrs. Klepper. He then sees the wig in McGarrett's hands putting the pieces together: she's "Rogers". Klepper finally comes clean saying they had nothing to do with murder and giving up the firebug: Anthony Porter. He's supposed to be on a 10:00 a.m. flight but Klepper doesn't know the airline. Klepper gives a description and the car Porter's driving.

As Porter drives to the airport, HFD responds to a fire and Porter can't help himself, he has to check it out. There's lots of smoke but that's all it is! McGarrett stands ready to arrest Porter, "where's the fire?"

This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker 2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.

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