Actor Masi Oka is leaving the CBS crime drama “Hawaii Five-0” after seven seasons as medical examiner Max Bergman, Entertainment Weekly reports.
“Mahalo for a great seven years and thank you to all the fans for your support!” Oka said via Twitter.
Also known for playing the time-traveling Hiro Nakamura in NBC’s “Heroes” and “Heroes Reborn,” Oka joined “Hawaii Five-0” in Season 1 as a recurring character and became a series regular in Season 2.
Max took a sabbatical to work with Doctors Without Borders in Africa at the end of Season 6, then returned in the Season 7 Halloween episode, but ends up moving to Africa with his new bride, Sabrina (Rumer Willis), in Episode 13.
Now in its seventh season, “Hawaii Five-0” is a reboot of the 1960s show of the same name. The cast includes Alex O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Danny Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly, Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua, Chi McBride as Lou Grover, and Jorge Garcia as Jerry Ortega.
Oka, 41, told EW that his decision was partly due to logistical concerns. “We’ve been so blessed to work for seven years on a great show, but a lot of my business has been in Los Angeles and Japan and it’s been increasingly difficult to really commute to Hawaii. I’m probably the only one who really commutes to Hawaii, maybe 18 times a year round-trip.”
Oka had told executive producer Peter Lenkov that it was okay to kill Max off if it helped the show, but since Max is still alive, Oka is “definitely not opposed” to making an appearance in the future.
His final day of shooting was actually a happy occasion, he said. “I rarely get to say goodbye on a set. In my past shows, we’ve had the unfortunate situation being canceled many times, so I never got a firm way of saying thank you to the crew, thank you to the cast … because it’s ‘Oh, we’ll see you after the summer break,’ and all of a sudden you find out that you’re not going to see them again. So this time it was really nice knowing that there’s a farewell, knowing that this will be my ‘last day.’”
His favorite episode was the one where Max, who is adopted, confronted the killer of his biological mother. “That was kind of my moment of pride, where it was pretty much his storyline. To be able to go through that journey and learn a lot more about Max and make him more three-dimensional, I think that was one of the biggest moments of pride for him as a character and his growth.”
Regarding his other projects, Oka said, “I recently finished producing ‘Death Note’ for Netflix, which I have a part in as well. I also just finished shooting ‘Meg,’ which is a Jason Statham-starring shark movie for Warner Bros. … So ‘Five-0’ has been great about letting me pursue other opportunities. I consult for a lot of Japanese companies as well, including the Japanese government, so I’ve always been going back and forth to L.A. to Hawaii to Japan.”
Oka’s other credits include the TV shows “Scrubs,” “Reno 911!” and “Robot Chicken” and the movies “Get Smart,” “Friends with Benefits” and “Balls of Fury.” He has also worked with ILM on digital effects for such films as “War of the Worlds,” “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”