HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Michael Cho put in 26 years with the Honolulu Police Department. He retired as a Detective/Sergeant. He is now a Reserve Officer, because as he says, he can't bear the thought of a full retirement.
Cho has also been 'Hawaii Five-O's Technical Advisor since season one. He reads the scripts, takes notes, and makes recommendations to keep the action as authentic as possible.
What happened on May 12 of 2013 was far more real than any Five-O episode.
On that night Cho and his wife were returning from a dinner out together. Cho spotted two men assaulting another man, and a third assailant restraining the victim's girlfriend nearby.
According to HPD Major Raymond Ancheta, Cho instructed his wife to stay in the car and call 9-1-1. Ancheta gave the account of what happened during the Honolulu Police Department's 2014 First Quarter Awards Ceremony.
Cho, who was unarmed, approached the group and told them he was a police officer. He managed to separate one of the men from the female victim. However, he became the target of their violence as he stepped in to stop the assault on the man.
"As one male distracted him, Officer was punched on the side of the head by the other male, with brass knuckles," Ancheta said.
The beating continued, and Cho was seriously injured. While the suspects were apprehended, Cho was sent to the hospital for eight days. His rehabilitation was much longer.
"Hours of physical rehabilitation, had to learn how to walk again," Cho said.
Cho said he was supported by what he calls his 'Three Families': his blood relatives, the Honolulu Police Department, and the crew of Hawaii Five-O.
"Almost to a man they said 'take care of your health and then come back,'" said Cho.
He has done just that, though recovery has been slower than he would like.
"13 months later it's like night and day. I feel much stronger, I'm hoping to be cleared by the City to go back late in July sometime".
In addition to returning to his reserve officer role, Cho is already back at work for season-five of Five-O.
"I've already received three scripts, made my notes and sent them back".