Daniel Dae Kim has shared his thoughts on his sudden exit from CBS' police procedural, Hawaii Five-0. The actor, who played Chin Ho Kelly on the show, had been part of the revival of the hit '60s property of the same name since its inception in 2010 and he was a pivotal gameplayer in the overall narrative of the series - despite the focus being mainly on Steve (Alex O'Loughlin) and Dano (Scott Caan).
Fans of the TV series were floored when the news broke in June that Kim, together with co-star Grace Park (who played Kono Kalakaua), had decided to leave the series after 7 seasons. Prior to that, Hawaii Five-0 has already been renewed for another season (one due to premiere this September), although the number of episodes has yet to be confirmed. The reason for the shocking departure was not clear when it was first announced but rumor has it that pay dispute was the main culprit for the actors' decision. Now, Kim has addressed the controversy and seemingly confirmed earlier rumors, regarding his decision to opt out of the show.
While appearing at the TCA 2017 panel for the upcoming ABC series The Good Doctor (which he is executive producing), the Lost alum has briefly talked about his departure from Hawaii Five-O, and explained his reason for doing so:
“I’m really grateful to CBS and everyone involved in the show for giving me the opportunity. That being said, it’s possible to be grateful for the opportunity and respectful of colleagues and the people I’ve worked with and still maintain a steadfast sense of your self-worth.”
Apparently, Kim and Park were paid 10 to 15% less (and probably even more) than what O'Loughlin and Caan were making. The actors and CBS tried to negotiate a new pay term but were not able to come up with something that was agreeable to both parties involved. This is not the first time that Kim has addressed the situation; he also took it to his Facebook account to personally pen a post, explaining himself to his fans, regarding his decision. Since then, he has remained respectful to the series, his former colleagues, and bosses in Hawaii Five-0 - while still made it clear that he was standing up for his right to equal pay.
That said, with how things were left for Kelly, as well as, Kalakaua in terms of narrative, the opportunity for Kim and Park to come back in Hawaii Five-0 will always be present. By the end of season 7, the former was mulling the possibility of heading his own task force in San Francisco, while the latter has already left the team to fight a sex-trafficking group - something that will make it easier for the show to move forward without them (or with them returning down the line).