Kim, along with TV cousin Grace Park, reportedly sought but failed to acquire pay parity with fellow original cast members Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, and thus both parted ways with the show. Viewers will learn what became of Chin Ho Kelly (recently wooed to head up a San Francisco Five-0 unit) and Kono Kalakaua (who in the May finale went “rogue” to chase sex traffickers) in the Season 8 premiere, airing Friday, Sept. 29.
“I’m sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week,” the actor shared in a 500-word Facebook post. “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.”
Kim said that while leaving the show is sad, “what I feel most is gratitude… 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 thanked executive producers Peter M. Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, “and everyone at CBS… for their faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life. 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,” added Kim, who has been working in Hawaii since his Lost days. “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.”
In an apparent nod to his contract talks, he said to fans/peers, “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.”
Kim is an executive producer on the ABC fall drama launch The Good Doctor, which he co-developed (from a South Korean series) with House‘s David Shore.
Launch Gallery: Fall TV Cast Changes: Leaving & New Actors