Mahalo, Kelly and Kono.
Hawaii Five-0 made waves this summer when it was announced that original series stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park would not be returning to the show for its upcoming eighth season after salary disputes. Soon after, Ian Anthony Dale, Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale were recruited to join the CBS action-drama, all joining the team to make up for the departures of Kelly (Kim) and Kono (Park). (Dale has recurred as Adam Noshimuri, Kono's husband, since season two.)
So how did the season eight premiere address their exits on Friday night?
Early in the episode, it was explained to viewers that Chin had moved to San Francisco and is running his own task force, an offer he was made in the season seven finale. Easy enough!
As for Kono, the reveal of why she was no longer on the team took a little longer. In last season's finale, her future was left up in the air after she left on her own to go take down a human trafficking ring in Carson City...without authorization.
And in the premiere, we learn via Danny (Caan) that Kono is on the mainland to work with a task force to shut down that very sex trafficking network. "You remind me a lot of Kono, by the way," he told Rath's new character Tani Rey, who they want to join the team. "That's a compliment."
He then continued, "Things are changing, and we would all like you to be a part of that."
After their exits were reported, along with details of the salary disputes, with Kim and Park looking to reach salary equality with costars Scott Caan and Alex O'Loughlin, Kim took to his Facebook to share his side of the story.
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," he said. "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."
After Kim's Facebook post, Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov and CBS responded with the following statement.
"Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future."
What did you think of how H50 handled Kono and Kelly's departures from the team? Sound off in the comments below.
Hawaii Five-0 airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBS.