Grace Park is finally answering questions on why she and Daniel Dae Kim abruptly left Hawaii Five-O, but the answers are still rather murky.
Park and Kim surprisingly left the show in June 2017 after seven seasons. Reports at the time indicated the dispute was over pay parity with other series cast members. Then a statement was issued that Park wanted to spend more time with her family.
But now, Park – who is talking to the media about her role as ambitious attorney Katherine in ABC’s A Million Little Things – is finally being forced to address the real story. Park told Entertainment Weekly that pay wasn’t the only issue: “There were a number of factors spanning the show that affected the non-renewal of my contract. I’m grateful for the lessons learned, but I chose what was best for my integrity.”
Specifics? “CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue,” Park said. She has largely avoided expanding on that, ducking out on a Television Critics Association summer press tour appearance where she knew she would likely be asked about the situation.
Park and Kim were arguably the best-known cast members in the reboot of Hawaii Five-O, both coming off hit series (Park in Battlestar Galactica, Kim in Lost). They are also two of the best-known Asian-American actors, a key to a show set in a largely Asian-American state. That they left the show so abruptly caused raised eyebrows and sparked rumors beyond the usual salary disputes.
While Park is still cagey about the exact situation, she does say that Hawaii Five-O showrunner Peter M. Lenkov’s tweet suggesting she left Hawaii Five-O to spend time with family “wasn’t cool.”
“The whole situation was just a bit too charged for me,” she said. “I let him know, ‘That wasn’t cool that you made a statement on my behalf.’ … I know he did it to be helpful, and I care about Peter as a person, but I didn’t leave for that reason.”
For Hawaii Five-O, Lenkov has said that both actors departed even though they were offered “unprecedented raises.” He added: “No one wanted to see them go – they are irreplaceable.”
Park’s ABC ensemble drama A Million Little Things premieres Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 10 PM.