Hawaii Five-0 Season 8: New Cast Members Replace Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park

While Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 loses co-stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, new faces (and a familiar one,) will take their place.

Hawaii Five-0, CBS’s remake of the iconic 1970s police procedural, has been a solid part of the Eye Network’s primetime lineup since 2010, serving as a reliably-performing dramatic anchor on typically low-expectation Friday nights. However, the series hit a major bump in the road, going into Season 8, with the exits of two crucial cast members. However, the long-standing series will start Season 8 with some new blood.

Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 Latest News

With key characters Chin Ho and Kono abruptly ejected, Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 will not only bring in two newcomers to replace them, but promote a current character that seemingly had nothing left to do after the controversial exits.

Ian Anthony Dale, who has been recurring on the series as Adam Noshimura since Season 2 in 2011, has been promoted to the main cast. It’s a rather surprising move, since Adam – initially introduced as a shady character whose family is the center of a Yakuza criminal dynasty – eventually took the straight and narrow, becoming the husband of Grace Park’s Kono – who, of course, is no longer on the show!  

Dale has been seen on TV series such as Salvation, Murder in the First, The Event, Surface and Charmed. He also played the role of the demonic spear-tossing video game ninja Scorpion in web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

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Meaghan Rath joins to play Tani Rey. While Tani is working as a hotel lifeguard, her service CV is actually defined by her time as a first-rate standout at the police academy. However, she was kicked out for reasons unknown. How she comes into the orbit of the Five-0 task force remains to be seen.

Rath, a Quebec-born actress, has been seen on TV series such as Rogue, New Girl, Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, Banshee and is probably best known for her role in Syfy’s Americanized Being Human as the brownstone’s resident ghost Sally Malik.

Beulah Koale joins to play Junior Reigns, a former Navy SEAL who just returned home from his latest hitch. With a background similar to Five-0 task force leader Steve McGarrett, Junior asks for a job on the team; a request that will apparently be granted, eventually.

Koale, a New Zealander, is coming off a major film role, opposite Miles Teller, in the October-scheduled military drama Thank You for Your Service. He also fielded TV runs in his home country on Common Ground, The Cul De Sac and Harry.

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Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 Cast

On June 3, it was announced that this fall’s Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 will not see the return of Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua). The duo, whose characters are members of the titular Five-0 task force team, cousins to each other and native Hawaiians, have been on the series since its 2010 launch and centerpieces for many of its primary storylines.

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Consequently, it was later alleged that the reason for their exit centered on an attempt to negotiate pay parity with the show’s primary star Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) and co-star Scot Caan (Danny Williams). While CBS claims to have offerred them “large and significant salary increases,” this issue shrouds their departure under a topical cloud of race and politics in the industry.

However, public sentiment from the network, Hawaii Five-0 personnel and Kim/Park remain cordial, especially in the first response from the duo, coming by way of a post-July-4 holiday Facebook update by Daniel Dae Kim that confirms his own departure (leaving Park to explain her own side of the story,) and expresses warm thoughts. Addressing the lei-draped elephant in the room, Kim explains:

“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.”

After thanking the crew, the writers and executive producers Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Kim gives a bittersweet sendoff to Chin Ho (a version of the original series character played by Kam Fong), continuing:

“I will always be grateful 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. 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.”

This is clearly an emotional bit of industry turmoil for the Korean-American actor Kim, who made Hawaii his home after moving there back in 2004 for the production of his breakout role on ABC’s legendary water-cooler-buzzworthy island mystery/sci-fi series Lost as the stoic Jin-Soo Kwon. After that series reached its (controversial) coda in 2010, Kim stuck around the islands to join CBS’s Hawaii Five-0, which would debut that fall.

Kim’s words come after Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov expressed adulation for him and Park in a statement, reading:

“I will never forget meeting Daniel while still writing the pilot and being certain there was no other actor who I’d want to play Chin Ho Kelly. Needless to say, Daniel has been an instrumental part of the success of Hawaii Five-0 over the past seven seasons and it has personally been a privilege to know him. Grace’s presence gave Hawaii Five-0 a beauty and serenity to each episode. She was the consummate collaborator, helping build her character from Day 1. They will always be ohana to us, we will miss them and we wish them both all the best.”

CBS also lauded longtime cast members Kim and Park, stating:

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“We are so appreciative of Daniel and Grace’s enormous talents, professional excellence and the aloha spirit they brought to each and every one of our 168 episodes. They’ve helped us build an exciting new Hawaii Five-0, and we wish them all the best and much success in their next chapters. Mahalo and a hui hou…”

The cast vacancies leave the long-in-the-tooth Hawaii Five-0 in an especially tricky spot. The status of the show’s primary star Alex O’Loughlin, who plays team leader Commander Steve McGarrett (the reboot’s version of Jack Lord’s original series character,) seems up in the air, with rumblings that he’s eying an exit from the series as his contract expires. Indeed, the Season 7 cliffhanger boosts this notion, revealing that his character McGarrett may be dying from radiation sickness; a potentially convenient exit device, should the series continue beyond Season 8. Additionally, the exit of Kim will likely signal the end of the line for recurring actress Julie Benz, who plays Chin’s love interest Inspector Abby Dunn. However, Ian Anthony Dale, who has long-recurred as Adam Noshimuri, the husband of Park’s Kono’s, not only survived the cut, but nabbed a main cast promotion!

Hawaii Five-0, while not a buzz-worthy TV event, has endured and evolved over its seven-year existence, with a list of cast alumni that includes Masi Oka (Heroes) as medical examiner Max Bergman, Michelle Borth (Teenage Cocktail) as team member and McGarrett love interest Catherine Rollins, Mark Dascascos (Iron Chef) as villain Wo Fat, Terry O’Quinn (Lost) as mentor Joe White and Lauren German (Lucifer) as team member Lori Weston. Plus, it’s found successful new chemistry by adding Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies) as SWAT specialist Lou Grover and Jorge Garcia (Lost) as ace conspiracy researcher Jerry Ortega.

Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 still has main cast members Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Chi McBride and Jorge Garcia onboard… for now. However, the exits of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park (and the tenuous status of O’Loughlin,) could prove to be heavy straws on the camel’s back that is the show’s continuing future.

Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 Premiere Date

Hawaii Five-0 Season 8 is scheduled to premiere on CBS on September 29.

This article was updated from its originally published form.