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Say aloha to perfect role
Daniel Dae Kim is Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-0. Picture: Supplied.

Viewers would be hard-pressed to find a TV series with more high-octane action than Hawaii Five-O. Now into its third season, the reboot of the classic police procedural that starred Jack Lord and ran from 1968-1980 features car chases, stunts and explosions of the calibre usually reserved for Hollywood blockbusters.

It's a fact not lost on Daniel Dae Kim, the South Korean-born star who plays Det-Lt Chin Ho Kelly, part of Steve McGarrett's (Alex O'Loughlin) Five-O task force.

"It is hard work, we have movie-scale stunts on a TV schedule and budget so it requires a great deal of creativity and ingenuity and attention to detail," Kim says during a break in filming.

"Generally crime procedurals aren't acknowledged come awards time but there isn't a show on television that has stunts on a grander scale or on a more regular basis that we do.

"If there is any award or any way that our show should be recognised, it should be for the stunt work."

Kim, who was raised in Pennsylvania and New York, is one of the most popular and high-profile Asian American actors on US television.

His credits include CSI, Angel and 24 but Kim is probably best known for playing Jin in all six seasons of J.J. Abrams' Lost.

Kim is surprised to hear there are few Asian faces on Australian television other than news presenters.

"We should change that, shouldn't we? I am not going to say it was easy because it most certainly wasn't," Kim explains of breaking into acting. "At the same time it is not easy for any actor regardless of colour or race.

"This is a difficult business and it takes a lot of perseverance and you have to develop a kind of tough skin and be able to handle rejection. I do feel being Asian American has added a few more hurdles to that journey."

Kim is particularly proud that Hawaii Five-O employs more Asian actors than any other series on US TV and is ethnically authentic by employing many Asian Pacific Islanders.

"I actually moved my family out here when Lost started, wow, that was nine years ago now," he reflects.

"I felt at the time even if Lost had been cancelled in the first six months, I could at least give my young family a Hawaiian vacation. Little did I know that would turn out to be a nine-year-long vacation."

Kim, who lives there with his wife and sons now aged 10 and 16, says there is a difference to how things work in Hawaii.

"I think the saying island time really does mean something different. There's a different style of driving, a different style of dressing for work, a different approach to life.

"It is definitely a far cry from places like New York City where I spent a lot of my career."

Kim loves that Hawaii Five-O is not the typical crime procedural and allows the audience to become invested in the characters by exploring their personal lives.

Kelly's world was rocked at the end of season two when he was forced by crooked cop Frank Delano to choose who would live, his wife Malia (Reiko Aylesworth) or his cousin Kono (Grace Park).

He chose Malia but she died of her injuries; little surprise then that when given the chance, Kelly got revenge by shooting Delano dead rather than arresting him at the end of the season three premiere.

The impact of Kelly's unexpected "bad cop" moment will likely be felt later this season.

"I think that is true, whether it is supported in the writing or not it is something I as an actor will keep in my head at all times," Kim says.

"I look forward to exploring it further and I am hoping we do get an episode or two down the line where the ramifications of this big decision he had to make come to the fore."

He says the best thing about playing Chin Ho Kelly is he is a fully realised character who is integral to a very popular TV show and he is Asian.

"He is not stereotypical, you sense his emotions and his feelings.

"He gets quality lines that are fun to play. That to me is my favourite thing."

Hawaii Five-O airs today at 9.30pm on Ten.