If you’re still upset that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park won’t be returning to Hawaii Five-0 next season, know that you’re not alone. The series’ executive producer Peter M. Lenkov is just as gutted by the departures as you are.
Leskov shed more light on the exits of the two original cast members via a lengthly post on Instagram yesterday (July 6), where he described Kim and Park’s decision to leave as “heartbreaking.”
“Thank you for all your messages and support over 7 seasons. We are all saddened by the Daniel and Grace news and I wanted to reach out to you directly,” wrote Leskov, addressing the Hawaii Five-0 community.
The series’ head then went on to explain that the actors chose not to extend their contracts — despite the CBS’ best efforts to keep them on board.
“No one wanted to see them go — they are irreplaceable,” said Lenkov about the stars who have been with the show since it debuted in 2010.
Lenkov also offered some insight into what prompted Park’s exit (the actress herself has not yet released a statement).
“I understood Grace’s decision to leave. There was an opportunity for her to return for a handful of episodes, but for several reasons that didn’t work out,” he wrote.
The EP added that “In the end, everyone tried their best to keep the ohana intact. So much so, we were holding off from reporting the news, hoping an agreement could still be reached. Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but this happens on long-running shows. It is a hurdle we all worked hard trying to overcome.”
Lenkov closed his note by highlighting the series’ diversity and said that he’s “proud of that roster and of our show.”
In a statement released earlier this week, Kim said his decision to leave Hawaii Five-0 ultimately came down to contract negotiations.
“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. 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,” said Kim.
The actor went on to thank the cast and crew of the series, including Lenkov.
“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,” he wrote.