Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hawaii Five-0: CBS announces replacements for Kim and Park

New to Hawaii Five-0: BEaule Koaala, Meaghan Rath and Anthony Dale.

THREE LEAVE, THREE COME IN: When Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park left Hawaii Five-0 coupled with the earlier departure of recurring regular Masi Oka, CBS had three roles to fill and a huge PR problem to overcome.
Hawaii Five-0 producers today (July 19) announced new cast members to replace the three Asian/American and Pacific Island actors who left, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Masi Oka.
After being roundly crushed in the media and social media for their shoddy handling of the AAPI stars, it was not surprising that the three new cast members are Asian/American and Pacific Islander: Ian Anthony Dale is half-Japanese, Meaghan Rath is half-South Asian and Beulah Koale is of Samoan descent.

Dale has recurred on Hawaii Five-0 since season two as the husband to Park’s Kono — Adam Noshimuri, a former Yakuza and trusted resource for the team who will now be recruited by McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) to work for Five-0. The casting keeps Dale in the CBS family after his lead role on the network’s little-watched summer drama Salvation. He is also starring in this summer's sci-fi show Salvation.

Rath (Being Human, Rogue, New Girl) will play Tani Rey, who McGarrett recruits after finding her working as a lifeguard at a hotel pool after she was kicked out of the Police Academy, despite being a first-rate candidate.

Koale (the upcoming Thank You For Your Service) will portray Junior Reigns, a former Navy SEAL who just returned from serving his country and asks McGarrett, a fellow SEAL, for a job, hoping to repurpose his skills as a member of Five-0.

Aloha, (from left) Daniel Dae Kim, Masi Oka and Grace Park. 
The absence of the characters played by Kim and Park, Chin Ho Kelly and Kona Kalakaua will be explained in the show's season 8 premiere in September.

CBS said that Kim and Park were offered "substantial raises," but even with the raises, they were still not on parr with their costars, who also were receiving a portion of the profits of the show's profits and revenue from reruns, which is basically offering them a lifetime revenue stream.

Kim and Park could easily have accepted the contract terms and lived a comfortable life, but at some point they decided to take a stand. While Kim has been outspoken about the need for representation in the entertainment industry, Park has yet to issue a statement and has remained silent since her departure was announced.

On his Facebook page, Kim issued a statement thanking his fans and CBS. "As an Asian American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all," later adding, "The path to equality is rarely easy."

Costar Oka, who decided to leave the show in January, emailed a statement to NPR:

"I was as saddened as anyone to learn of Daniel and Grace leaving Hawaii Five-0 but I, probably more so than most, understand their reason for doing so. Sometimes you have to draw the line in the sand for something you believe in and something for which you stand. While pay equality was not my personal primary decision to leave ... I support [Kim] and [Park] in their decision to stand up for what they believe is right."

The Kim/Park departures also put a spotlight on CBS paltry efforts to reflect America and the tendency for the white decision makers to always put white characters in the lead and - if we're lucky - actors of color playing second fiddle.

Of CBS new shows being presented this fall, only one - S.W.A.T. - will feature an actor of color in a lead role. No women will headline a new show.

Dale, Rath and Koale are all talented actors and I wish them well. CBS and the show's producers think that replacing the departing actors might placate Hawaii Five-0's critics and dampen the uproar and stem a growing movement to boycott the show. What the CBS execs must learn is that the issue wasn't simple a salary dispute. It was about respect and equality.