Originally published on November 19, 2016
After seven years on the show, actor Masi Oka announced this week that he will be departing the cast of HAWAII 5-0. Oka, also known for playing Hiro Nakamura in the show HEROES, plays Dr. Max Bergman, the Chief Medical Examiner who assists the 5-0 Task Force with their large number of cases. He was a recurring character in the first season, before officially becoming a series regular in the second season.
In an exclusive interview done with Entertainment Weekly on his final day of filming for the show, Oka explains how he’s really the only one in the cast who commutes to work, due to obligations in Los Angeles and Japan. As a result, it’s become increasingly difficult for him to keep flying to Hawaii, which, according to him, involves about 18 round trips per year.
In addition, Oka also feels like his character has done everything, if not more than enough, on the show. His final episode, which will be the 13th episode of the season, will send off Max, as he moves to Africa with his wife Sabrina (Rumer Willis). Though this doesn’t mean that we can’t expect guest appearances in future episodes.
As a fan of the show and as a fan of Oka, this is bittersweet news to take in. Max is a very likeable character who makes it clear that he’s very passionate for his work. I also like how geeky he is for TV shows and movies with cult followings, for Oka never makes that side of Max feel forced, but rather, a natural asset of his being.
I do wish that the show has given him a little more attention and focus, but the times where it did involved Oka delivering performances with heartfelt depth. An example is the story arch dealing with the horrendous murder of Max’s biological mother, and how he struggles to come to terms with it. In a more positive story arch, we see the love he has for Sabrina, and I felt incredibly happy for him when he announced in the recent Halloween episode that they got married.
Despite his departure from HAWAII 5-0, Oka has made it clear that he’s keeping himself busy. In that same interview for Entertainment Weekly, he mentioned how he recently finished producing DEATH NOTE for Netflix, he finished up on a film called MEG, and he’s also a consultant for a number of Japanese companies, including the government. Seeing how busy he is, it’s no wonder he was absent for the first part of the current season.
Mahalo Masi Oka, for bringing the delightful character that is Dr. Max Bergman to life. We fans of HAWAII 5-0 shall miss his informative mind, his geeky demeanor, and his kind presence.