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Last week, one of network TV's most consistent dramas was vaulted into headlines, but not for any news that fans likely wanted to hear, as Hawaii Five-0 stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park publicly exited the CBS series ahead of Season 8's production schedule. And while comments from the stars have been relatively light, Kim took to social media to explain why he's stepping away from Hawaii Five-0 after seven years.
Sorry for the delay in hearing from me, but like you I'm sure, my July 4th holiday was busy with friends and family. I'm back now and didn't want to let any more time go by without reaching out. By now many of you have heard the news, and I'm sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week. Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren't able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.
When the reports came out that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park were leaving the show, they were coupled with rumors that contract disputes were the issue, with neither star being offered what they wanted/expected from the network in order to stick with the show. They were reportedly seeking parity with stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, and CBS' final offers were apparently just not good enough to keep them interested.
Though financial issues usually get left out of celebs' public addresses to fans, Kim duly noted it in his post, and that'll likely fuel the conversational fires concerning Hawaii Five-0 losing so many Asian actors in the past two years. Obviously, co-star Keo Woolford's death isn't involved here, but Masi Oka left the drama midway through Season 7.
I'll end by saying that though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am. 5-0 continues on after one of its strongest seasons. I've got new acting projects on the horizon.
Admittedly, Hawaii Five-0 crafted its narrative in such a way that it wasn't necessarily a lock that either Daniel Dae Kim or Grace Park would return for Season 8, full-time or otherwise. His character Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly was given an offer to start a task force in San Francisco, while Grace Park's Kono Kalakaua was set to hit the road to dig deeper into a child sex trafficking ring. The Season 8 premiere is meant to address both characters' departures, so we'll have to wait and see where fate landed the pair of cousins.
With its character shake-up currently being tackled from a narrative angle, Hawaii Five-0 will be back on CBS for Season 8 on Friday, September 29, at 9 p.m. ET. Head to our summer premiere schedule to see what other new and returning series are on the way.