“Over Fifty? Steal.” The original Hawaii Five-O (Season 3, Episode 11, 25 November 1970) and “Odd Man In” (Season 4, Episode 14, 28 December 1971).

Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett), James MacArthur (Dan-O), Zulu (Kono), Kam Fong (Chin Ho), Hume Cronyn (as Lewis Avery Filer), Richard Denning (The Governor), Harry Endo (Che Fong), Jiro Tamiya (Goro Shibata), Lane Bradford (Moose Oakley). Writer: E. Arthur Kean. Directors: Bob Sweeney, Paul Stanley.

   Imagine an intelligent, extremely clever “gentleman thief” in the tradition of Raffles and Robin Hood.

   Now imagine this thief couldn’t care less about righting wrongs or fighting oppressive government — he just wants the money.

   Such is Lewis Avery Filer, a character who appeared in two episodes of the original Hawaii Five-O.

   In his first appearance (“Over Fifty? Steal”), Filer is an insurance investigator who has just been forcibly retired, a victim of a corporate takeover.


   Filer feels he’s been treated shabbily and sets out to exact his revenge. He initiates a series of robberies against the “new boss” that has McGarrett and Co. jumping through hoops trying to track him down.

   Unlike most of McGarrett’s foes, Filer eschews violence, using his formidable intelligence to execute his crimes with great precision. At one point, he even confronts McGarrett in the middle of a news conference! Predictably, the media glorify this new “Robin Hood,” much to Five-O’s collective chagrin.

   Eventually, Filer slips up, allowing McGarrett to capture him just at the moment of his greatest triumph.

   When he next shows up, some time in the next season (“Odd Man In”), Filer is in prison, but he’s overheard something there that prompts him to escape: A $4 million drug money deal is about to go down, and Filer wants it all.

   Filer’s target this time isn’t a legitimate corporation but “The Corporation,” Asian drug dealers, and these boys play rough.

   Even while McGarrett is in hot pursuit, with Five-O always just one step behind him, the wily Filer plays the mobsters like a violin, knowing that one slip-up would prove instantly fatal. It’s a very dangerous “game” he’s involved in, but Filer is up to the task.


   However, can Lewis Avery Filer manage to rob from the rich (the Mob) and give to the poor (Lewis Avery Filer) without getting caught by Steve McGarrett? Need you ask?

   Both episodes featured Canadian-born Hume Cronyn (1911-2003), who must have relished playing Filer, transforming into many other characters at will. Cronyn’s first major film role was also memorable, as the snoopy mystery-novel addict in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

   These shows featuring Lewis Avery Filer are a lot of fun, with an unaccustomed sense of humor for this series, and worth your time.

   Later on in Season 6, in an episode entitled “30,000 Rooms and I Have the Key” (26 February 1974), David Wayne played a very similar character but with a different name. Since E. Arthur Kean wrote this one too, we could conclude that it was intended as another Filer escapade — but, alas, it was not to be.