Memorable guest performers: The amazing Tzi Ma

This week we are back in season 1, in episode 1.14 He Kane Hewa’ole (An innocent man).  We are featuring the incredible performance of Tzi Ma as Mr Chi, the father of Han Chi.  Han is killed when the car he is driving – which contains a severed head in the trunk – crashes during a police chase thus creating the Crime of the Week.

Firstly, though, let’s take a step back to the opening scene of the episode. McG has ordered a part online for the Mercury Marquis that he is restoring but unfortunately the wrong one arrives in the mail.  Check out Danny’s ‘ha ha’ face and McG’s ‘I’m not very impressed’ faces.  The bromance at its best!

McG none too impressed_1.14

Trust me on this one, this is totally related to the crime of the week!

Anyway, once McG and Danny identify the driver of the car as Han Chi, they go to the wrecking yard where he worked to try to figure out the head in the trunk mystery.  Here we are treated to one of the most adorbs scenes ever with McG and a child, Han’s son, Ming Hua.  McG fixes Ming Hua’s action figure toy and it’s hard to choose which faaaaaace is the most adorable.  I love Gentle McG as much as I love BAMF McG.  Alex does this stuff so well.

McG and Ming Wa 1.14

Ok, I admit it, I melted into a puddle of goo during this scene

But back to our memorable guest performer.  Our first introduction to the Amazing Tzi Ma is during this scene, when McG and Danny realize that Mr Chi is Han’s father.   I totally bought what Tzi Ma was selling from the outset because he was just so darn REAL.  He senses something is up and he’s frightened of the cops anyway and when he learns of his son’s death, his reaction has me reaching for the tissues.  I felt every ounce of his grief, every raw emotion at the realization that his son was gone and his dream of a better life in the US for his family has been shattered.

Chi knows son is dead 1.14

The death of his son is enough to be dealing with but then Mr Chi has to face questioning from McG and Danny about Han’s role in the murder of the as-yet-unidentified victim.  Mr Chi maintains that there’s no way his son could have committed murder, that he is a good man and has just been paid $1000 to deliver a package.  He confesses to McG that he and his family are in the US illegally.  He’s clearly terrified and my heart goes out to this man.  I’m completely and utterly invested in this story.  Tzi Ma, you are brilliant.

McG and Chi illegal 1.14

I have to say, though, that I am a little miffed at Danny in this week’s episode.  McG understands Mr Chi’s situation (and shows off his Mandarin skills!) but Danny doesn’t seem to be buying it.  He can’t entertain the idea that Han might be innocent.  During the ensuing cargument, Danny basically tells McG that he has blinkers on in this case because of ‘transference’ – every time a case involves a father-son situation, McG turns into a softie.  Personally, I love McG as a softie and in this case, he does have a point as there isn’t any hard evidence then that Han Chi is the murderer.  I do like the cargument, though, as it gave us some awesome faaaaaces:

cargument 1.14

So some detecting ensues and this leads the team to Nicole, possibly one of the most hideous human beings Show has ever seen.  Nicole’s husband, who belongs to the head in the trunk of the car, is dying of cancer.  Nicole organizes to have him killed and pretends to be kidnapped so she can get ransom money from her father to escape to Paris with her boyfriend.  The package aka The Head that her father was to receive was supposed to be a warning from the ‘kidnappers’.  Cold, Nicole, cold.

In a Moonlight crossover, Nicole’s boyfriend is played by Jordan Belfi, Beth’s Josh.  Things didn’t end so well for Josh and they aren’t much better for him here.  Nicole’s father leads the team to Josh who is waiting to collect the ransom money.  He’s shot and killed but not before McG tries to get information out of him about Nicole’s whereabouts.

First Mick, then McG

First Mick, then McG… at least this time he kind of deserved it.

When McG and Danny catch up with Nicole at the airport, she shows not one sign of remorse at all.  In fact, she’s totes cross with Han for not delivering the package like he was meant to and ruining her plan.  Ah, Nicole, three people are dead because of you and a little boy (and an adorbs one at that) lost his father!  I dislike her immensely and so does McG.  His ‘I despise you’ face could refreeze the melting polar ice caps.  True story.

Mc death stare 1.14

And now to the final scene with Mr Chi.  McG returns to the wrecking yard with a letter from the Governor that will expedite the family’s citizenship papers.  Mr Chi is overcome with gratitude.  He gives McG the missing part for his car and offers to help him out with it.  The cutest little boy ever seen on tv is in this scene, too, and when McG salutes him, I die a thousand deaths. So many feeeeelings in this scene.

McG and Mr Chi at end 1.14

And then to the final scene of the episode, when McG and Danny are watching CHiPs and arguing over which one of them would be which.  They’d been talking about how cool it would be to be a motorbike cop earlier in the ep, which is where the CHiPs reference came from. You all remember this, it’s a classic:


I really hope the writers figure out a way to bring back Mr Chi as Tzi Ma was so awesome in this episode.  It would be hard to choose a winner in a faaaaaace-off with McG as Tzi Ma nailed it every time.  His realistic reaction to his son’s death was incredibly well played.

If you would like to remind yourself of just how awesome Tzi Ma was, here is a compilation of his work in episode 1.14.

Thanks to Alicia for preparing this:


Alicia’s note: you’re welcome, and there are a couple of other moments from that ep that I couldn’t resist including as well 🙂


(Credit for screen caps goes to screencaps by



  1. The first block of pics is just porn. Seriously.

    The guest star was indeed fabulous. I wish they had used him in again in some small follow up scene.

    I think Alex reverts to basically playing himself when he interacts with children like that.\

    Steve’s face at the end was scary stuff! Beautifully scary, but still. Dayyyum.

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Love Danny’s face in that first collage. And everything about McG!

      So much to love about this episode, not just the incredible guest star. Rainy, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Hi, babyhater here. I loved Alex/Steve in this episode, but can´t stand the kid scene anymore. The kid was too young to act so felt it was forced on his behalf. Steve was great though 😉
    Ps the Steve face at airport scene was fantastic, with his little smile of contempt. Superb acting by Alex 🙂

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Paula, that adorable little boy didn’t melt your heart? Oh well. At least there were some awesome McG faaaaaces in those scenes.

      1. I agree with Steve´s great faaaaces 😀
        The thing with kids in this show is, that they are usually just a prop, they don´t say anything or do anything, they just stand around there (looking sometimes cute, but that is Steve´s job!). Lucy was such a welcome change. Even Monkey is written to ,look waste of space, most of the time (IMO). Maybe the Danno fans like the reaction they get from dad… But I did like uncle Steve helping Monkey at the VS show, with the pics, to help her “stick it to them” LOL

        1. Paula, I totally agree that Lucy was one of the best child roles on Show to date. I also agree with you about Grace – there’s more that could be done with her character than stand around and look cute. It would be nice to see more of the father-daughter relationship.

          Having said that, I thought the Ming Hua character did have purpose because we needed to see how much family meant to Mr Chi and how he was trying to make a new life for himself and his family in America. And the scenes with McG were adorable and not overdone, I thought.

  3. cvc-eve · · Reply

    Paula I completely forgot you were the baby hater! Funny. The c.h.i.p.s. convo was a really good one! Good ep and good ending. And yes that b/tch was cold as ice.

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      I used to love CHiPs as a kid so really enjoyed the chance to reminisce. It was a great ep from start to finish – emo and humour both nicely done. That b/tch sure was cold – she did a fab job of the faaaaaces, too. No remorse at all. Sheesh.

  4. karin@notmcnerd · · Reply

    Steve/Alex looked so, so good in this episode. My stomach was doing flips watching the video! Thanks for reminding us of the gold that was Season 1.

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Happy to oblige, Karen. I had actually forgotten just how good this episode was until I rewatched it for this post.

      1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

        Ooops, Karin not Karen. I have a work colleague, Karen, and I’ve been typing emails to her today so have that spelling on the brain :).

        1. karin@notmcnerd · · Reply

          Not an issue. It’s all good.

  5. This was one of my early favorites; thanks for the chance to reminisce.

    And there’s no reason they can’t get hire Mr. Ma back. Steve still has the Marquis to fix up, no? Well, there’s your supplier.

    And don’t get me started on Danny’s intolerance. It only shows up once in a while, and, to me, it is rather out of character. He whines, yes, but is typically pretty good with people. It doesn’t ring true to me.

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Thanks, Sage, it is definitely a favourite of mine, too. Great idea to have Mr Chi back in relation to McG fixing his car.

      I love Danny’s sarcasm and snark and I don’t even mind a bit of whining but really, in this episode he didn’t show much empathy for Mr Chi and I didn’t much like that. He was pretty quick to assume Han was guilty too when there wasn’t much evidence. Sure, McG has issues when it comes to father-son things but you’d think he would have given Mr Chi the benefit of the doubt and investigated the just a’delivery job’ claim.

  6. canadagirl66 · · Reply

    This was one of my favourite eps from S1 and Mr. Ma had a lot to do with that. I thought he was brilliant…so believable in his grief. And the final scene between him and Alex…PURE.GOLD.

    I also really enjoyed seeing “Josh” in this episode…and loved the C.H.I.P.S. argument….”In a world where I didn’t exist, you can be whatever you want “ …so true Steve…SO.TRUE!!

    And of course I can’t not mention the airport scene…SO.MUCH.PRETTY. That smile on Alex’s face when he says “Am I done?”…HOLY HELL…I’m pretty sure that my heart and panties exploded simultaneously!!!!

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Agree CG66! Mr Ma was superb just by being so real. My heart went out to him when he looked so terrified at being interviewed by cops. He played it all so well.

      Sorry, can’t see Jordan Belfi as anyone other than Josh. Just like I keep calling James Marsters ‘Spike’ :).

  7. Andrea Wow girl !!a
    A fantastic review of a fabulous Epi Those Faces and all that talent!! One of the very best !!

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      Thanks, PN. Glad you enjoyed the post. I enjoyed writing it too. That I had to look through endless pics of awesome McG faces was a bonus, too! Lots of talent on show in this ep for sure.

  8. Beautiful post, Andrea! So many FEEEEEEEELINGS!!! He really was amazing.

    I loved that first scene, especially the ‘Danny: I got you a present! McG: Really? Danny: No.’ exchange, and then Danny’s face in your first collage! Love!

    I thought both of them were a bit stubborn in the cargument – they don’t really know enough either way at that point, but then this is similar to Steph’s post about the Missouri ep – Danny bases his assessment on his experience and McG bases his on his instincts, and in this instance McG’s instincts are right again, but it could easily have gone the other way.

    (Also, until I read this post I had never really though about the actual spelling of the grandson’s name, Maha spelled it Ming Waaaaah and that’s how I always think of it!)

    1. Andrea_Briz · · Reply

      So many feeeeeelings indeed!

      When I was looking for pics for that first collage and I found that ‘ha ha’ one of Danny, I giggled to myself. It’s a classic!

      ACA with your comments about the cargument although Danny annoyed me more because he just seemed to take the first available line of thinking and run with it AND he figured McG had no idea what he was talking about because of his father-son issues. You are right, though, McG was basing his assessment on his instincts and they did prove to be right but they may not have been. Show seems to do this a lot – I wish they’d talk through their instincts/assessments in more depth rather than just simply insisting on being right (Evil woman ep, I am talking about YOU!).

      I had to look up the grandson’s name as I knew Maha had called him Ming Waaaaah. I was surprised to see the ‘real’ spelling.

  9. Another great view of a wonderful show! I too loved Mr. Chi from the moment he appeared on screen. And agree about Nicole being so cold! I have seen both actors in other shows since! Thanks for the rewind!

    1. Thanks SueB. Which shows have you seen Mr Chi and Nicole in since?

      I think this ep will always be on of my all-time favs.

  10. Oopsie, I just realised I missed out commenting on this memorable post. Good choice Andrea.
    Indeed one of the best guest performances in S1. I also hoped that they would somehow find a way to bring him back for another episode! It brings out the good qualities in Steve….

    One thing I think we sometimes miss, is the excellent performances by people we do not like. If they were evil and we do not like them, they actually did a pretty good job. By this I mean Amanda Schull’s performance. It must have been very difficult to sit accross from Alex and be the object of his scorn! And she did not give a ounce of regret for what she did…..

    1. Thanks, FOYeur.

      Yes, I agree, there have been some excellent performances by people we did not like. Amanda Schull was very good as Nicole, wasn’t she? She had the faaaaaces down pat and like you say, showed not one ounce of regret for her actions. It was a pretty intense scene and Alex and Amanda did a fabulous job – McG’s feelings were conveyed so well and Nicole’s ice cold response was brilliantly played.

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