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Five-0 Redux

Saying aloha ʻoe to Chin Ho is bittersweet for ‘Five-0’ fans


    Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly from season seven of "Hawaii Five-0."

“Hawaii Five-0” fans of Daniel Dae Kim have had a tough time during this summer hiatus. With the news of his and Grace Park’s departure last month, and the diversity conflict surrounding their contract negotiations, fans have not known which side to take, or which side to believe. Still, as Friday, August 4 was Kim’s birthday, they were very eager to discuss their favorite Chin Ho Kelly moment from his seven seasons on the show. Many fans just wanted to thank him and express their great sadness that he would not be returning for season eight.

Fans posted on the “Five-0 Redux” Facebook page their favorite Chin moments, and sent messages of good luck and well wishes for Kim as he moves on to new projects and his ABC television show, “The Good Doctor.”  Still, saying aloha to Kim has not been easy, and fans have certainly wanted to send Chin off with a bigger celebration than what they have heard will merely be a mention in the series premiere come Sept. 29.

So perhaps this is a way fans can say mahalo and aloha ʻoe to one of their Five-0 favorites. Fans posted different reactions to both Kim and his character, sometimes after meeting the popular actor while vacationing in Hawaiʻi or after seeing him at a “Sunset on the Beach” event.

Angela Gerstner from Munich, Germany, who is known within the Five-0 fandom for her collages illustrating moments from the show, wrote about how Kim shared one of her collages focused on Kim and his character, Chin Ho Kelly. “If I could choose a favorite moment with Daniel, there would be two: The first one was when he shared one of my collages with pictures of him and got over 6,700 likes for it from fans. [It was] just nice to see that my work was appreciated by an actor and loved by his fans. My other favorite moment is getting one of his beautiful, friendly smiles when he got out of a van [on its way to the set] when I was on vacation in Hawaii. I stood there all alone on the sidewalk, and his smile brightened my day!” wrote Gerstner.

Jessica Ceres of California wrote, “I love how Daniel’s character, Chin, kept true to his Hawaiian roots. He always kept Hawaiian traditions throughout the show as original and spot on as well as he could,” Ceres wrote. Kim’s character was one of the few on the show who spoke Hawaiian periodically and, along with Kono (Park), was the team expert on Hawaiian culture and language. While McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) also understood and respected Hawaiʻi and its mother tongue, as a kamaʻāina, often deferred to Chin and Kono as the established part-Hawaiians of the Five-0 team.

Liza Marie from Baltimore, Maryland, wrote about how she “admired Daniel since “Lost” and was thrilled to see he was in ‘Hawaii Five-0.’  It was one of the main reasons I started watching! I loved his character, Chin, [and his] relationship with his cousin, Kono. I loved the moments, both loving and heartbreaking, with Malia (Reiko Aylesworth, who played Chin’s wife). And, as an Asian-American, it was awesome watching an Asian-American actor (along with Grace) in a non-stereotypical role. As sad as I am he will no longer be in ‘Hawaii Five-0’ I know he will be just as successful in his new adventures and I will be there watching! Mahalo Daniel!”

Myles Yamamoto from Kaneohe, wrote, “I think the scenes that epitomize who Chin was would be his scenes with his niece (Sara Diaz, played by Londyn Silzer). In every scene you [can] see how much he loves her and would sacrifice everything for her. These scenes, especially the ones where Chin seeks to save her, show what an amazing actor Daniel is. Not much was said dialogue wise, but the way the scenes were played out and the emotion shown made those scenes some of the most memorable of all. I’m gonna miss Chin riding his bike and swooping in with his shotgun to save the day and take down the baddies,” wrote Yamamoto.

French fan, Odete Iboud, wrote, “What I liked most about Chin’s character is his sense of family. [He’s] always ready [to help] every member [and] he often forgot himself in this quest. I also liked his way of explaining Hawaiian traditions. [As a] European it was very enriching. And finally, I loved his relationship with little Sara. I regret his departure from the series, he will be missed a lot, but Daniel is a very good actor, and I will continue to follow his career. He is part of our Five-0 Ohana. I wish him much happiness and success in his future career and in his life.”

Amy DeCastro of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote, “I love the scene with Danny (Scott Caan) on the beach as he explains how he met Malia [in ‘Kānalua’ (‘Doubt’) from season three]. The raw emotion [on Chin’s face] of her loss always makes me cry. I also love the one with him stuck in Halawa [Correctional Facility in ‘ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make’ (‘Death Penalty’)] and working with Sang Min (Will Yun Lee) to survive,” wrote DeCastro.

Karen Dritto of Staten Island, NY also wrote about the scene between Chin and Danny from “Kānalua”. “My most favorite scene was when Danny went to comfort him on the beach and Chin told him the story of how he met Malia. I loved his scenes with Kono, he always let his guard down around her. There was nothing to not love about Chin. He was steadfast, loyal, strong, the voice of reason. His sense of family was also strong (so strong it got him kicked off HPD). He was Steve’s link to his dad, he was Kono’s mentor [and] rock. He was a warrior in the battle of getting rid of evil in his beloved home. He was a good friend to Steve, Danny, Lou (Chi McBride) and especially Jerry (Jorge Garcia). If it wasn’t for Chin, Kamekona’s (Taylor Wily) life would have had a different outcome. While I’m looking forward to new beginnings, I’m going to miss Chin and his calm, sweet, funny demeanor– and his love of big guns! I wish Daniel well and would love it if he’d come back for an episode or two,” wrote Dritto.

Susan Morrell of Park City, Utah wrote “Some of my favorite Chin Ho Kelly scenes were when he visited his dying Auntie (Mele played by Elizabeth Sung) and the ones that followed with his uncle (Keako played by Sab Shimono) as he tried to convince him not to turn himself in for stealing the money.” Morrell is referencing the season one conflict when Chin was accused of stealing $200,000 from the Asset Forfeiture Locker where HPD held evidence confiscated from drug busts and other high-level crimes. In “Ma Ke Kahakai” (“Shore”), Chin reveals to Kono that he lost his badge because he did not want to reveal that Uncle Keako actually stole the money in order to buy a black market kidney for Auntie Mele. Chin gave up his career to protect his family, and to keep all of the cases that Keako worked from being negated, as all of those criminals he helped to prosecute would be set free because of Keako’s loss of credibility.

Majbrit Olsen, from Denmark, wrote, “[My] favorite Chin Ho Kelly episode was [“Hana Lokomaikaʻi” (“Favor”)]. The flashbacks [to] his father’s murder, his relationship with Malia, Gabriel (Malia’s brother, played by Christopher Sean), and with Kono and John McGarrett (William Sadler). [The] acting [between] Daniel and Robert Knepper (who played Internal Affairs Officer Rex Coughlin) was great. [I’m] really going to miss Daniel, and Chin and his big guns, and riding his bike–  but wish him all the best,” wrote Olsen.

Helma Gerth-Koelman of The Netherlands, wrote, “I liked Chin Ho Kelly in the ohana scenes with Kono and little Sara. And also with the other team members– sometimes he needed to calmly lead the way! There were so many good scenes during the past years, [which] showed what a great actor and human being Daniel is. Wishing him all the best,” wrote Gerth-Koelman.

Tammy Hanse of Glasford, Illinois, wrote, “When I think of Chin, one of the instant memories I have was in season one, ‘Mālama Ka ʻĀina’ (‘Respect the Land’). When Cousin Sid (Sidney S. Liufau) is about to be shot, you hear this gunshot blast and Sid flinches. The next thing we see is Chin holding his shotgun with a firm, determined look on his face. He protected his cousin even though he’d been disowned by his family. You knew then that no matter what he would protect his ohana and always be there,” wrote Hanse.

Many fans wrote about Chin’s relationships with his niece, Sara, with Kono, with Malia, with Steve. Relationships were the most important memories fans shared. Yes, they remember his fighting ability, his motorcycle, his use of a “really big gun” in all of their tactical maneuvers, his love of motorcycles– but they also remember his kindness and his love of his friends, his family, and his Five-0 ʻohana. “My favorite Chin moments were his times with Sara. Chin was all about ohana, all the time, but we felt it most when he was with her. I will miss DDK greatly, wrote Illinois fan, Eileen Williams.

Still, out of all the memories fans shared, I think what resonated among all their messages, was the fact that after seven seasons, fans are still extremely sad about Kim’s departure. After all the relationships Chin established, and how much we love Kim’s character, we’re not sure how to say goodbye to such a beloved member of the Five-0 team. And that makes saying aloha to Chin– and Daniel Dae Kim– incredibly bittersweet.


“Hawaii Five-0” fans are very excited to learn that a few of their favorite guest stars from past seasons are returning to reprise their familiar roles. Executive producer Peter Lenkov posted an Instagram video teaser hinting of the return of Randy Couture as serial arsonist Jason Duclair. The last time we saw Duclair was in season six when he was badly wounded after saving Adam’s (Ian Anthony Dale) life when their prison transport was hijacked by the Yakuza in “Ka pono kūʻokoʻa” (“The Cost of Freedom”).

Lenkov also confirmed via Twitter, that Chris Vance is back as British MI6 agent Harry Langford, after fans glimpsed Vance in behind the scenes pictures and videos from the set. Langford helped McG channel a bit of James Bond in the season seven episode “No ke aliʻi wahine a me ka ʻāina” (“For Queen and Country”).

Fans also learned that Joey Lawrence will guest star in a two-episode arc. Lawrence is the older brother of Five-0 recurring cast member Andrew Lawrence, who plays HPD crime lab analyst Eric Russo. “Variety” reported that Joey will star as Aaron Wright, the brother of season four villain, Ian Wright (Nick Jonas). It seems as Aaron shares his late brother’s talent for technology, as he will free a dangerous arsonist from prison using his computer. Seems as if Joey Lawrence’s guest spot will coincide with Couture’s return to “Hawaii Five-0”– or else, we have more than one fiery bad guy to deal with.  

Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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