Filmed in Honolulu by Rysher Prods. and Larson Entertainment. Executive producer/writer/creator, Glen A. Larson; supervising producers, J.C. Larson, Tom Moffatt; producer, Scott Thomas; co-producers, Chris Larson, Steve Reiss; director, James Hayman; Forced two-hour crime drama opens a six-week summer stand with Cheryl Ladd as visiting L.A. medical examiner Holli Holliday and Richard Burgi as happy-go-lucky Honolulu homi-cide detective Mack Wolfe, whose name explains him and who’s in the doghouse with the other cops. The murder of a longtime Naval pal of Holli’s triggers the story; the vidpic’s misfiring could be heard in Guam.
Holliday, over for a forensic conference, renews her more-than-friendship with Cmdr. Tom Haber, who’s later found hanging in his living room in full dress whites. Using all sorts of detective methods, Holli elbows her way into the coroner’s operating room, but Haber’s body has been claimed by the Navy. As luck and timing would have it, Dr. Holliday, using astonishingly on-target deducing, depends on DNA in her investigations, though her explanations flash by like Cliff Notes for second-year forensics.
Glen A. Larson, who’s sure savvy about Hawaiian murder mystery series (among his credits is “Magnum P.I.”), goes for blatant surface culture with this one. A gent (Ken Howard) running for governor, his adviser Miriam (Susan Diol), who happens to be Wolfe’s separated wife, and an absurd, cartoon-refugee Cambodian dragon lady, Laura (Julia Nickson), who heads her own private Asian security force, are all tossed into the goings-on.
Director James Hayman should be commended for coaxing his players to work their paper-thin characters with straight faces. Ladd, her chin firmly set, works steadily at her Quincy-with-a-lei routine; Burgi, the handsome, happy-go-lucky cop using nervous gestures to create a characterization, tries eagerly to make the artificial Wolfe interesting, but it’s no-go.
Other regulars are Paul Gleason as the police captain, Elsie Sniffen as Holli’s field deputy, Ogie Zulueta as Wolfe’s sidekick. Nickson’s evil Laura says things like, “You have no idea what any girl of her background is capable of once they’ve tasted money or power.” Indeed.
As a warm-weather run, “One West Waikiki,” which isn’t skedded for the fall, won’t stir up any tsunamis, but the five remaining one-hour episodes could enjoy the summer trade winds.