Alex O'Loughlin and his “Hawaii Five-O” cast mates began Season 8 filming in the way that is unique to this police drama, with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. This unique start to every season has been followed since the series began in 2010 and serves to unite the crew, the cast, its writers, creators and directors in a true spirit of “ohana,” which deems that family goes far beyond blood relation.

Alex O'Loughlin is seen in his usualgood spirits alongside Chi McBride in their sacred assembly of unity. In the past, blessing ceremonies have been quietly announced, but not so with this season’s July 7 event.

The decision to keep things quiet for the uniquely “Hawaii Five-O” ritual likely relates to the furor stirred following the departure of two key “Hawaii Five-O” actors, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. Photos of the filming that began last Friday were posted July 16, to O'Loughlin’s major fan site, and the feeling of “Five-O” camaraderie seems to be intact.

There's no doubt, however, that this will be a very different season for the elite crime fighters. It's clear that the work goes on on the set of the hot police drama, with public tempers still burning.

Steve and ‘Danno’ back on duty

There is that contingent among “Hawaii Five-O” faithful who feel that Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan essentially “make the show.” The natural chemistry between the costars is a delight to the masses of those watching every Friday.

The partners will need to do extra calisthenics to carry the show for Season 8 in a greater sense than ever.

The photos show the Australian actor and his California counterpart smiling and getting serious in working through their scenes, and it's good to see the unforced “bromance” hasn’t suffered from any of the frays at the negotiating table.

Nonetheless, seeing two altogether unfamiliar stars around the “Hawaii Five-O” glass top table is going to be tough to take so late in the series run.

Alex O'Loughlin has made it known that Season 8 may well be his last, so the lion’s share of the storylines may center on the star’s McGarrett and his partner, “Danno,” since both have spared the other’s life many times over.

United in calling down the casting choices

“Hawaii Five-O” executives and show-runners have heard plenty from distraught fans following the casting debacle. Executive producer, Peter Lenkov, was on set for the shooting start, too, no doubt feeling the weight that seems to be pushing on every frame of the camera this season. Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan have not made any public comment about the recent tumult over their show’s situation. Daniel Dae Kim expressed in a statement at the time of his choice to leave that the cast and crew had been another family to him, and “nothing but supportive.” The production seems to be under a mantra of “Keep calm and carry on” at present.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition has added its support to that of numerous groups promoting Asian and other cultural diversity in the media in calling the behavior of the network “bigoted” and “reckless.” Alex Nogales, President of the coalition, was emphatic in saying that the choice to allow both pivotal actors to depart is “going to cost them with the Asian community and other communities of color.”

Blasting News previously reported that “significant” salary offers were extended to Park and Kim, but not in parity with Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.

The dispute came down to a 10-15% difference. Daniel Dae Kim was seeking status as supporting actor, which would have put him within 2% of the top-paid stars.

Season 8 is rolling, and only time will tell how it will ride the waves in the wake of public upheaval. September 29 is not far away.

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