'Hawaii Five-O' faithful fans have been fretting for months over the situation with the major cast members. Alex O'Loughlin, who portrays Steve McGarrett, has more than hinted that Season 8 will perhaps be his swan song. Rumors circulated weeks ago that the Grace Park, whose beauty, brains, and feminine ferocity bring Kono Kalakaua to life week to week, also seems to be departing. According to sad news confirmed July 4 and 5, not only Grace Park, but also Daniel Dae Kim, who were founding members of the 'Hawaii Five-O' force from the beginning of the 2010 incarnation of the series, will be leaving.

The saddest blow of all is that the parting seems to all come down to saving a few bucks in the budget. Both these premiere actors have brought so much of themselves to this drama, and they both deserve to be paid as talented, essential cast members that they are.

Seven years means something

Reports indicate that the 'Hawaii Five-O' show runners wanted both Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim to accept 15% less in their salary than Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan and, understandably, this became a sticking point. Both stars decided to leave the negotiating table and the show.

Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim breathed life and depth as true "ohana" into the 'Hawaii Five-O' series reboot and on-screen mission from the start. Besides the considerable credits to their resumes, both brought considerable fan following with them to the islands.

Daniel Dae Kim had a seven year run altogether as Jin Kwon on ABC's 'Lost', and as Chin Ho Kelly bringing credibility and history to the whole re-creation of the force, reaching back to his history with Steve McGarrett's father and his own wrongful dismissal from the police department. Not only were his skills integral to the "Five-O" mission, but his invitation to the team embodied the crime-fighters' purpose of enforcing justice outside the books.

Grace Park hails from Canada, but her roots are also extraterrestrial. The actress brought her bold on-screen presence to Sharon "Athena" Agathon before a prior identity on the series as Sharon "Boomer" Valerii of 'Battlestar Galactica' during five years before becoming Kono of 'Hawaii Five-O'. One of the most memorable episodes for most fans is the one in which Kono works a case with the team on the day she is supposed to graduate from the Police Academy.

Her team members gather to offer her salute and support, together with her official badge as an officer.

Executive producer, Peter Lenkov revealed that Grace Park brought "beauty and sincerity" to each episode and that she had built her character since the first episode. Lenkov also praised Daniel Dae Kim as "instrumental" to the success of the series, and that there was no other actor considered for his role. Kim brought so much presence and moxie to his part that he managed to take over an entire prison in an unforgettable episode, and also brought his directing talents to the screen.

Is saving dollars in salary worth it when the fate of the series is at stake? Fans will let their feelings be known, and choice may come through in the ratings.

There are enough revenue streams for television these days that should eliminate any sense of "less than" in a long-running hit.

Words from Daniel

Daniel Dae Kim stated his first public words on the situation in a Facebook post. "Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren't able to agree on a new contract," the star states. He added that it was a difficult decision to walk away.

Daniel especially gave thanks to the cast, whom he says "have been nothing but supportive" through the whole painful process. He continues that they and the show's crew "have been [his] second family" for over seven years, and sends best wishes for Season 8 and beyond.

The storyline has Kono setting off for Carson City and rescuing young girls from the sex trade, while Chin bounding to head a new task force in San Francisco.

Will fans still be bound and devoted to 'Hawaii Five-O' with these two favorites gone from the force? Only time will tell and Season 8 begins September 29. Fans will see Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park again, although not on the island.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!