Working in Hawaii might be a dream job for some, but the commute can be a killer — especially when you live in Los Angeles and have a second gig in Japan.
Masi Oka, who plays Honolulu’s chief medical examiner Dr. Max Bergman on “Hawaii Five-0,” announced Thursday he would be leaving the CBS show in the 13th episode of Season 7. (The network is set to air episode 9 this week before a Thanksgiving hiatus takes the show off the air until Dec. 9.) Oka joined the cast as a recurring character in the show’s debut season before signing up as a series regular for Season 2.
>> Five-0 Redux
>> Photo gallery: ‘Hawaii Five-0’ 2016 Sunset on the Beach
>> More coverage of “Hawaii Five-0”
“I think character-wise, I felt Max had done too much of everything he can do,” said Oka in an interview with Entertainment Weekly announcing his departure. “We’ve been so blessed to work for seven years on a great show, but a lot of my business has been in Los Angeles and Japan and it’s been increasingly difficult to really commute to Hawaii.”
CBS confirmed Oka wrapped filming on his final “Five-0” episode Thursday in Waikiki. Co-star Daniel Dae Kim posted a photo on his official Instagram account that showed him and Oka with fellow cast members Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Chi McBride and Grace Park along with local actors Tailor Grubbs, Dennis Chun, Taylor Wily, Shawn Garnett, Al Harrington and Kimee Balmilero with the quote, “You will always be #ohana to me.”
Oka, who starred in NBC’s “Heroes” from 2006 to 2010 before joining “Five-0” and returned to appear in “Heroes Reborn” in 2015 and 2016, also appeared in 2011’s “Friends with Benefits” and “Searching for Sonny” along with the Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs” in 2013. He told Entertainment Weekly that more film work is in his future as well.
“I recently finished producing ‘Death Note’ for Netflix … (and) I also just finished shooting ‘Meg,’ which is a Jason Statham-starring shark movie for Warner Bros.,” he said. “I have a goal to try and go towards directing a movie. That’s definitely where I want to go, but whatever is open, I’m always open-minded.”
THERE COULD be more departures from the show in the coming months, as Lenkov and other CBS execs have confirmed contracts for many of the show’s main characters will be up for renewal after this season. While Lenkov wouldn’t get into much detail with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about negotiations when asked earlier this year, he recently addressed rumors the actor who plays Steve McGarrett will depart “Five-0” after Season 8.
“If Alex elects not to come back, that’s obviously going to be his choice. But we’re moving forward as if the show’s going to keep going,” Leskov told TVGuide.com last week. “We’ve had no conversations with him. … If it comes to that, there’s still life after that character. But nobody’s looking forward to that happening. We’re all hoping he stays.”
“Hawaii Five-0” airs at 8 p.m. Fridays on KGMB in Hawaii.