Have you ever seen the lost, banned episode of 'Hawaii Five-O'?

By: H&I Staff     Posted: January 24, 2022, 4:36PM   

Don Miles was your typical stock hippie character of late-'60s television. He was a New Age man, chomping natural foods, chanting "Hare Krishna." He dwelled in a groovy, incense-scented beachfront pad, and probably had more than a few dashikis hanging in the closet. Oh, and speaking of hanging in the closet, Miles enjoyed auto-asphyxiation for its health benefits… Wait, what?

When it originally aired on January 7, 1970, at the dawn of a new decade, "Bored, She Hung Herself" was one of the stranger cases of Hawaii Five-O. Don Quine, best known as a regular on The Virginian, portrayed Don Miles. He was the primary suspect in the episode, after his girlfriend, Wanda (Pamela Murphy), was found dead, hanging from a noose in their Hawaiian apartment. After some keen investigating by our hero, Steve McGarrett, Miles is exonerated. Turns out, the creepy neighbor did it.

But the murder was not the issue. There are murders every week on detective shows. However, audiences were unaccustomed to seeing a character who practices a so-called form of "yoga" with a noose.

Somewhere in America, a viewer tried the hanging technique performed by Don at the opening of the episode — and died. The parents of the deceased sued the network and the episode was forever buried. This was confirmed by the wife of series creator Leonard Freeman, Rose, at a convention, according to a Hawaii Five-O fansite. Additionally, Joel Berliner, the actor who played the murderer/neighbor's young son, corroborates this history. To this date, "Bored, She Hung Herself" is not included in any DVD sets or syndication packages. Sorry, we don't have it and can't air it. 

The Hawaii Five-O HomepageBerliner in Bored, She Hung Herself

Millions did watch it originally. In fact, in the midst of its second season, Hawaii Five-O was reaching a peak in viewership. The show climbed to 10th place in the ratings at the start of February, higher than its overall 1969–70 season average of 19th. Naturally, the series was a smash in its homestate of Hawaii. Across the country, however, it struggled in certain markets. Washington, D.C., was not tuning in at the start of 1970. The show performed so poorly in the city that local affiliate WTOP replaced it in the lineup with old movies. One demographic did seem to be paying attention in the nation's capital — Senators. 

John O. Pastore, senator of Rhode Island and chair of the U.S. Senate Subcommitte on Communications, singled out Hawaii Five-O in Congressional hearings on television violence. Jack Lord, star of the show, in turn called the senator "a big fat windbag." Suffice it to say that both attention and tension on the network was high when "Bored, She Hung Herself" hit the airwaves. CBS probably saw no other option but to wipe the episode from existence.

A year later, Hawaii Five-O would receive more scrutiny when Baltimore police blamed a shooting at a paint brush factory on the episode "...And I Want Some Candy and a Gun That Shoots." That one, on the other hand, you can still see.

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