“Hawaii Five-O” is feeling the heat from more than the tropical sun this week. Fans are venting hot and heavy on social media since news broke that both Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim will not be part of the “Hawaii Five-O” “Ohana” for Season 8. Loyal followers of the drama centered on the elite crime-fighting force were already crushed by the announcement last fall that Alex O’Loughlin would likely make the coming season his last as Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett. Now, with the certainty that the team is going to lack two crucial members, the outlook for the new season seems already dim.

Did the network do all they could to keep Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim? Executives insist that they made offers and negotiated in good faith, but did they miss the point?

Network nickel and diming

A statement from CBS reported today that there were “significant salary increases” on the table for both Park and Kim, but the parties involved could not come to an agreement. Bonuses always sound like a treat, but when it comes to light that any person is measured less by any standard, especially one as vital as pay for work performed, hard feelings are nearly impossible to avoid. Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim are verifiable stars with the credits and character histories to prove it. Even before taking their roles as cousins Kono Kalakaua and Chin Ho Kelly, both actors had built characters to indelible status on “Battlestar Galactica” and “Lost.” Many “Hawaii Five-O” storylines pivoted on these stars’ portrayals—they are by no means lesser cast members.

After seven seasons, they have earned the respect that comes with a commensurate salary.

The words from the network deem Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park to be “important and valued” members of “Hawaii Five-O.” The network insists that “we tried very hard” to hold onto the full-fledged and fully-staffed “Five-O.” Daniel Dae Kim was striving for supporting actor status that would bring him to within 2% of the salaries earned by Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.

The “points” on the drama’s longevity and success earned by the leading costars were not in contention for Park or Kim. Isn't it worth it to any successful series to pay its cast accordingly so that the potential loss of cast and viewers is far less? CBS is learning that lesson the hard way now, and now, coming into that 2% of the top range probably doesn’t seem like so much.

Exceeding grace in reach for equality

Daniel Dae Kim displayed nothing but exceeding gratitude and a soulful grace in his parting words to the show. He thanked his fellow cast and crew in the stoic way that Chin Ho Kelly might bid farewell. The talented actor and director made it clear through his words that the whole purpose beyond the bargaining was about far more than dollars and cents.

“The path to equality is rarely easy,” Kim wrote, “but I hope you can be excited about the future. I am.”

No matter how many line up at a casting call, that kind of character is impossible to replace.