Season 8 of “Hawaii Five-O” will have two big holes to fill, with Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim not bearing their badges, or bringing their presence to the police drama. Daniel Dae Kim recently revealed that his ultimate decision to walk away from the negotiating table with the network weighed much more on his self-worth than dollar amounts. As the actor moved from portraying Chin Ho Kelly to taking an executive producer chair on ABC's “The Good Doctor,” Grace Park must be pondering her future while she spends some well-earned time in her hometown of Vancouver with family and friends.

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Both prominent stars brought the most significant screen presence to the “Hawaii Five-O” cast when the 2010 reboot raced off the ground like McGarrett driving Danny's car, as well as well-established fanbases.

Seven years makes for a lot of fond memories, and Grace Park brought grace, skillful prowess with a weapon, and a kick that no crook could ever forget as Kono Kalakaua. As she reminded in one famous scene, she was “Officer Kalakaua,” due all the respect that her loyalty and ranking commanded on “Hawaii Five-O.” Fans were asked by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to share their favorite unforgettable moments from Grace Park, and critics point out that her departure may pave the way for lasting change for diversity in the industry, and the perfect place for her.

Best wishes and best memories

The sense of loss in losing Grace Park is sure to sting for much more than a season, and her presence on-screen often conveyed so much more than any page of dialogue written into a script. She could move seamlessly from SWAT gear to gorgeous evening gown, and make every movement absolutely believable in the context of the case. The actress and her character would feel honored that the feedback of appreciation flowed in from all points on the globe, and in numerous languages, according to the newspaper feature.

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Several comments marveled at Park’s moxie in countless scenes of hand-to-hand combat. She provided not only “cover” for her “Five-O” teammates in endless gunfire barrages, but she could also aim and take down a perpetrator in her scope even while hanging from a helicopter. She demanded honesty, even when it came to the man she loved, Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), and once she knew his heart was true, she followed him to the ends of the earth, with Chin’s admonition to “follow your heart.”

Only Grace Park could mix sass and playful sexiness the way she did with art dealer turned crime scene cleanup man, Gerard Hirsch (Willie Garson), and inmate turned informant, Sang Min (Will Yun Lee).

No one ever delivered the simple line of “He had a knife,” with a perfect justification than this actress.

Many viewers were rapt in ecstasy with the bride as Kono and Adam consummated their love in a wedding that was on the brink of disaster until a fateful helicopter landing. The most memorable adventure that Grace Park took viewers and her character on was even more personal, fulfilling her mother's lifelong plan of taking a solo outrigger journey “by the stars” at sea.

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The waves took her vessel, but the strength and wisdom of that cherished mother-daughter bond never allowed her to surrender. The episode from Season 5, “Mo’o ‘olelo Pu,” (Sail) remains a cherished journey of never surrendering and redefining the soul with every viewing. It is a timeless classic, and only a talent with the tough and tender fortitude of Grace Park could breathe life into every frame.

One submission put it best, saying that Grace Park “showed everyone what ladies can do.” Feminine fierceness in the best screen combination was consistently demonstrated by Park’s “Hawaii Five-O” chutzpah.

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Standing firm for the future

Television industry editorials continue to call out the consistent trend of offering what network executives consider “good,” yet not equal or comparable, compensation and recognition to ethnically diverse cast members. It has come to light that the salary that Grace Park sought was “less than half of a full season of episodes.” Her request was deemed “financially challenging “ for the network. She and Kim were the authentic Hawaiian characters who brought “ohana” to the drama. That consideration is worthy of more than just a dollar amount, and more than just being seen as “supporting” cast. There will be new faces alongside leading stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan in Season 8, and even a canine cast member.

Grace Park has not publicly discussed her future projects, she has a roster of beloved, long-running roles to her credit, and the perfect part for her is waiting on some set. Just as with her character, her courage and grace will inspire actresses of every ethnicity to stand tall and stay true, and hopefully inspire entire productions to understand the value of pure talent, in every cultural heritage.

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