With fans still reeling from the news that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are exiting Hawaii Five-0 over a pay equity dispute, the actor who brought Chin Ho Kelly to life for seven seasons has made his first public comments about leaving the CBS cop drama.
Kim issued a Facebook post confirming his reasons for leaving and thanked the cast and crew.
“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,” Kim wrote. “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.”
“As sad as it feels to say goodbye, what I feel most is gratitude,” he wrote. “I am so deeply thankful to our crew, writers and everyone associated with the show – and especially the cast, who have been nothing but supportive through this entire process. They and the crew have been my second family for seven years and I wish them nothing but success for season 8 – and beyond.”
Kim has worked in Hawaii, since his time on Lost and he thanked producers for the chance to honor the people of his home.
“I also want to say thank you to Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and everyone at CBS. I will always be grateful for their faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life,” Kim wrote. “As an Asian American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well-developed, three-dimensional character like Chin Ho. I will miss him sincerely.”
“What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love,” he wrote. “It has been nothing short of an honor to be able to showcase the beauty and people of Hawaii every week, and I couldn’t be prouder to call these islands home. To my local community, mahalo nui loa.”
The actor also added his thoughts on why this decision was important.
“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,” he wrote.
In the seventh season finale Chin was offered the chance to move to San Francisco and start his own Five-0 task force for the feds. While viewers will have to wait to find out if this is what leads to the character’s departure, it seems like a safe bet.
There’s been no word on how Kim’s exit will affect Julie Benz, who recurs as Chin’s former FBI agent girlfriend Abby. However, it’s likely her character will leave town with Chin.
Hawaii Five-0 returns with new episodes Friday, Sept. 29 at 9 pm on CBS.
Will you continue to watch Hawaii Five-0 without Chin and Kono?