Well, we all know what the core of a piece of fruit is, of course. But other than that…what is the definition of “core”? Merriam‑Webster defines core (among others definitions) as:
“A central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature (like the core of a city)”
“The central part of a celestial body (as the earth or sun) usually having different physical properties from the surrounding parts”
“A basic, essential, or enduring part (as of an individual, a class, or an entity) <the staff had a core of experts> <the core of her beliefs>”
So basically a “core” is the central most important structure, that which holds the rest together and gives it strength or that which the rest revolve around. Sounds very logical.
With Season 5 of Hawaii Five-0 just a couple of weeks away there is again much discussion over the concept of the “Core 4” of Five-0. There are those who despise the term while there are others who love and embrace it as the continuing basis of what makes the show what it is.
My feelings on the term have changed over the years. In the beginning it was easy to embrace the term because there WERE only the original four of Five-0. But as the years passed and more characters came and stayed or came and went, I began to really hate the term. Well, maybe not the term itself, but the way it was used by some to rationalize their dislike for any character who wasn’t Steve, Danny, Chin or Kono. Whenever they wanted to show displeasure at the amount of time someone got on screen or if they felt certain new characters were taking the scenes that should have belonged to one of the originals, they’d whip out the old “they don’t count…they’re not one of the “Core 4”. It began to leave a sour taste in my mouth every time I heard it.
But we’re entering our 5th season now and I’m beginning to think more kindly about the term again. Yes, the team has now expanded from four to five and with Max and the addition of Jerry on the canvas, to seven but the original concept of the “Core 4” is still valid.
If we look at the definitions from above and apply them to Five-0 I hope you can understand my point. The “basic, essential, enduring part” of Five-0 is still Steve, Danny, Chin and Kono. There is no getting around that. It is still the dynamic between these four people, the Ohana they have forged and built over the years that give the entire structure of this show its stability. They are, without a doubt in my mind the “central and foundational part” of what makes this show work. In that respect they have been and remain the “Core 4” of Five-0.
But what of the others? Again, using the definitions above, they are the “enveloping part” of the equation. They are the outlying areas of the city. They are the “celestial bodies” revolving around the sun. Does that make them less important than the core? Absolutely not. Can the core function without them? Sure it can. But with them, the core becomes stronger. I mean, could Five-0 function with an unknown medical examiner we never see? Sure it can. Did they really NEED Jenna, Lori, Catherine, Lou, Jerry or even Max? But like the neighborhoods of a city, they give depth.
With these characters the fabric of the quilt that is Five-0 becomes more complex, stronger, with more possibilities for stories and interactions and, yes, Ohana than with just the “Core 4”. After 4 seasons, going on 5 and hopefully many more, there are only so many stories to tell if you’re only going to have 4 people involved. It makes it more interesting because these people are “different in nature” and have “different physical properties from the surrounding parts”. They are not cookie cutter versions of the original members but individuals bringing with them unique perspective and insight. They make it more diverse and more interesting. I haven’t liked every additional member to the cast over the last four years but each one added to the story and, in my opinion, each one made the show better by being there, adding that depth.
So yeah, I am beginning again to embrace the term “Core 4” because no matter what others see or say, I don’t see it as a competition between the original four and others coming in to steal their air time or impose on the established friendships. These seven are going to be a great team, full of intelligent, brave, dedicated people committed to their island home and to each other. And at their center, the four pillars on which the team is built on and around. The “Core 4”.