The “Hawaii Five-O” ohana is losing two of its key members: Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park.
The two actors will not be back for the eighth season of the CBS police drama, which is scheduled to return Sept. 29. Both have been part of the “Hawaii Five-O” reboot since its inception, with Kim playing Chin Ho Kelly and Park playing Kono Kalakaua, cousins on the special police task force.
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“I will never forget meeting Daniel while still writing the pilot and being certain there was no other actor who I’d want to play Chin Ho Kelly,” said Executive Producer Peter Lenkov in a statement. “Needless to say, Daniel has been an instrumental part of the success of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ over the past seven seasons and it has personally been a privilege to know him. Grace’s presence gave ‘Hawaii Five-O’ a beauty and serenity to each episode. She was the consummate collaborator, helping build her character from day one. They will always be ohana to us, we will miss them and we wish them both all the best.”
Neither Kim nor Park could be reached for comment.
CBS also issued a statement: “We are so appreciative of Daniel and Grace’s enormous talents, professional excellence and the aloha spirit they brought to each and every one of our 168 episodes. They’ve helped us build an exciting new ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ and we wish them all the best and much success in their next chapters.”
Wendie Burbridge, who pens the “Five-0 Redux” blog for staradvertiser.com, said that while Alex O’Loughlin (as Steve McGarrett) and Scott Caan (Danny Williams) are clearly the main stars of “Hawaii Five-O,” Park and Kim had key roles in the police-procedural aspects of the show and had been given increasingly prominent personal storylines in recent seasons.
“The fan reaction will be huge because they loved the four of them together,” she said. “They call them the ‘core four.’ It’s not as major as if Alex or Scott were leaving, but fans love Daniel, and they love Grace, and they love Kono and they love Chin.”
On his Facebook fan page, actor Dennis Chun, who has a recurring role on the show as Sgt. Duke Lukela, posted a farewell message to the two actors, wishing them “much aloha and success.”
“There can be no doubt that their professionalism will be missed,” he wrote. “Not only are they talented artists but also caring and wonderful people. It has been such an honor and joy to work with them. I shall always be inspired by their commitment to creative excellence. I know that success will bless their way as they continue their journeys.”
Kim in recent years has ventured into a number of new projects, including a stint on Broadway last summer in “The King and I” at Lincoln Center. He also launched a production company, 3AD. A pilot for “The Good Doctor,” a medical drama developed by Kim and David Shore (“House”) and based on a Korean series of the same name, has been picked up by ABC.
It’s unsure how “Hawaii Five-O” will explain Kono and Chin’s departures. Season 7 story-lines set up potential exits for both actors. Park’s character was last seen on an airplane headed to Carson City, Nev., in pursuit of the head of a sex trafficking ring, and Kim’s character was considering an offer to head up his own “Five-O”-type task force in San Francisco.