EXCLUSIVE: 'MacGyver' and 'Hawaii Five-0' Boss Talks Exhilarating Crossover and Both Franchises' Futures

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CBS
It’s a match made in action heaven.
The Hawaii Five-0 team meets the MacGyver crew face to face for the first time on Friday’s crossover, and it’s something that has been in the works since the start of the season last fall.

“When I got the job to write the [MacGyver] pilot, I always thought that the two shows existed in the same world,” Peter Lenkov, executive producer on MacGyver and Hawaii Five-0 tells ET. “I was hoping that one day we could do something like this.”

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In the crossover episode, the story kicks off when Lucas Till’s MacGyver and his cohorts catch word that help may be needed to aid in earthquake relief efforts in Hawaii. That’s when they meet Hawaii Five-0’s Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park), who are trying to help rescue scientists, before they get caught up in shady plots dealing with top-secret weapons.
“The most important thing for me was to establish the fact that these two franchises co-exist in the same world tonally. I’m hoping that this introduction -- the get to know you -- will ultimately be the beginning of many more of these down the road,” Lenkov says.

The most challenging aspect of setting up Friday’s special episode wasn’t on the creative side, but rather the logistics, as they often are. Since MacGyver films in Atlanta, Lenkov recalls having to figure out when they could feasibly fly out the cast to Hawaii, where Hawaii Five-0 calls home base -- without shutting down production on either show. It explains why Kim and Park were the lone Hawaii Five-0 regulars able to take part.

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One of the more comedic through lines centers on Jack Dalton’s (George Eads) schoolboy crush on Kono, which is in line with Jack’s character. “We established Jack as somebody who has gone through a lot of relationships and it just made sense that when he sees Kono, the first thing on this mind is, ‘Is she single?’” Lenkov says. “It was very organic. It didn’t feel like we were forcing something; it felt like that’s who the character was and he would react that way.”
Lenkov hopes this episode will leave fans yearning for more crossover events like this -- possibly “bigger” in scope in the future.
“It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” he says of the two Friday dramas, adding, “This was an experiment in some way. We really learned how to do it and how to make this work more effectively next time.”

Speaking of Hawaii Five-0, Lenkov doesn’t foresee an end date just yet for the long-running series, which will have aired 168 episodes by the end of the current seventh season.

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“I try not to,” he admits. “As long as people are watching, we’ll keep coming up with stories and hopefully good enough material to keep them interested and keep going. The big thing is also keeping the actors invested and that’s what we strive to do first and foremost -- making sure they’re engaged and growing their characters, so they want to stay with it as well.”
Last November, series star Alex O’Loughlin told ET that he was ready to move on past a hypothetical eighth season. Lenkov confesses he hasn’t entertained the idea of continuing the show without O’Loughlin.
“No. If it’s something that’s really going to happen, it’s something that I would have to take seriously, but right now, I’m hoping that this is something he’ll want to do for a few more years at least,” he says.
The MacGyver-Hawaii Five-0 crossover airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.