The creators of Hawaii Five-0 never expected Dr. Max Bergman to become a regular. But when Masi Oka stepped into the role, suddenly they knew that both the character and actor would become a dependable, creative, and widely loved part of the Five-0 Ohana.
Seven seasons later, Masi is moving on. His final episode as a series regular is "Ua ho'i ka 'ōpua i Awalua (The Clouds Always Return to Alawua)," which airs on Friday, Jan. 13 at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.
Masi and Executive Producer Peter Lenkov shared their thoughts about his departure, including the great times shared on set and whether we might see him return.
Q: As things are wrapping up, how do you feel about the departure?
Masi: It is definitely bitter sweet. Our Ohana is just that. We are a family, and having been with them for seven years, it is definitely the longest show that I’ve been a part of. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of a successful run but at the same time, the journey for the character has gone through its full arc and like Max, I was ready for new adventures. Hawaii is a beautiful place and full of beautiful people. I am honored to have been welcomed by the islands and look forward to going to visit the islands again.
Peter: This is a tough one for obvious reasons—we all love Masi. He's been with us since Season One, so it will be incredibly tough to see him go. We're not a conventional procedural show, so we really don’t have a need for a full-time Medical Examiner, but Masi did such a good job with Max, it made us all want to write more for him—thus becoming a regular and one of our most beloved characters. He may be departing for now, but I've kept the door open, hoping he would consider coming back at some point, even if it's for a short visit.
Q: What will you miss the most about your Five-0 Ohana?
Masi: I'll miss laughing with the crew, Alex's quirky sense of humor, my intimate dinners with Daniel and Grace, my chess games with Scott and board games with Jorge, improvising with Chi. There are too many to list and I don't think there is anything I can single out to miss the "most," but I am sad that I don't have the luxury of seeing everyone on set regularly. Now to see my friends, there would be a lot of juggling of schedules.
Q: What was it like having Masi on the show?
Peter: A real pleasure. Masi is the consummate professional. Always on time, always professional, and always with an enthusiastic smile.
Q: What were some of your favorite Max moments?
Masi: My favorite Max moments are also hard to pick. Trashman, the Sabrina dates, the Halloween episodes. Those definitely pop in my mind. I liked when he played the piano and got to improvise. A lot of the improv doesn't make it on air, but it was fun knowing that it would make the crew laugh. I just wanted everyone to have fun, so whenever I can get the crew to laugh, I always tried to do so without slowing down the production.
Peter: A lot will be relived in Max's last episode, but anytime we got to see the man behind the M.E. really stood out for me. Learning about his mother's tragedy in the Trashman episode ("Ha'alele (Abandoned)," Episode 20, Season 2), the creative Keanu Reeves costumes every Halloween, and of course meeting and romancing his future wife Sabrina (Rumer Willis).
Q: How have people responded to the news?
Masi: I was overwhelmed with the responses from the fans when Max's departure was announced. It was very touching and I will miss our fans greatly as well. I thank everyone for their support and hope to see them on my next endeavors as well.
Peter: While they will certainly miss Max, they are also supportive of his decision to leave the islands and pursue his passion. He will always be Ohana.
Aloha 'oe, Masi!
Watch a preview of Masi's last episode:
Watch Hawaii Five-0 on Fridays at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.