'Hawaii Five-0': Grace Park talks Kono, moving the plot and her hopes for the character

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grace-park-hawaii-five-0-cbs.jpgThe cast of "Hawaii Five-0" has gotten quite good at delivering the show's plot-moving, expository dialogue. Which is not to say it's the highlight of their week.

"Everyone just wants to go as fast as possible," Grace Park, who plays Kono Kalakaua on the CBS crime drama, tells Zap2it. "In the beginning, I was like, what about the character? What about this, what about that? When you do it so many times in so many years, it's just like, yeah, let's get it over with."

The trick to those scenes, which "Five-0" tends to do when several members of the team are gathered around the touch-screen table at their headquarters, is to keep it simple, Park says, and not "try to make too much out of something that's not there."

"If you try to do too much, then it gets distracting," she says. "... The thing is, these guys are cops, and they've seen a lot of it. That doesn't mean it doesn't affect them on some level -- I think it does -- but they've seen so much."

Some more of our conversation with Park follows. "Hawaii Five-0" airs at 10 p.m. ET Mondays on CBS.

Zap2it: I really enjoyed the episode "Kapu," where Kono is having to chaperone Sang Min, and they end up understanding one another a little more.
Grace Park: Right. He's my new love interest [laughs].

It's nice to see that side of her, though, where she's a little more caring.
I feel like she's soft on the inside. I feel like you've seen that on numerous occasions, whether she's consoling the victim's wife -- who actually was a part of the murder, you find out later [laughs] -- or the rest of the team are initiating her at the very beginning. You do see her heart a lot. In a show where you have a lot of action, and some violence and a lot of flashy things going by, and humor, it's kind of good to have some of that, whether it's an anchor or whether it's just in the ether. The show can exist in a little bit more three-dimensional way.

Are you still discovering things about Kono now?
I feel like there's a lot to mine with this character yet, because we haven't gone very deep with her. As much as we have the action and the cool background with her being an ex-professional surfer and a rookie cop, I feel that we have a lot to discover about her, and for her to discover about herself. She's pretty young, and she still has a lot to learn about life and who she is.

Are there things you've suggested?
Only a touch. I don't want to pretend I can write. I think they have great ideas, so I just might suggest, if there's a nine-episode gap between her and her love interest [played by Ian Anthony Dale], that maybe, "Hey, should we put something in there so people don't forget?" Then I always get back, "It's not all about you, I can't do it every episode." [Laughs] I'm going, you know that sounds crazy, right? There's like a nine- or 10-episode gap. ... I understand we have to service a lot of story lines, but I spend an awful lot of time at that HQ table. I think we can stick something in.

I can't speak for all actors, but I certainly like it when there's more character. When I have a day where I do some character work, I feel like some breath went through me, some life went through me. I feel like, "Oh, this is why I signed up to do it." It kind of recharges me -- so the more I can get that, the better.

What would you like to see happen for her?
I always want her to have more character work. I guess I haven't thought specifically [about] what I want to happen for her. I feel like anything -- just give me anything, I'll do it. I think they haven't rushed to quick to give her a love interest and make her the "sexy" character right away. I mean, yes, she was in a bikini in the beginning, but I think we've gotten away from that a little bit, which I've appreciated.

Will Kono be getting a showcase episode by the end of this season?
Maybe. Either way, I'm always excited for the end, because it's going to be fun. The stories are told differently, and it's not about a case. It's usually about the team. I feel like it's more interesting and it matters more. Usually the episodes that do really well are the ones where the characters are invested -- something's happened to one of them or someone they care about.

Do your actor friends bug you to get them guest roles on the show?
No one really bugs me, but I've been trying to get -- I haven't gotten one friend on the show. ... I have yet to manage one friend to get on the show.

People would probably go nuts if you got one of your "Battlestar Galactica" co-stars to come on.
I've been trying to get Tahmoh Penikett on for a long time. I thought it would be really funny if he were like a brief love interest or a past thing, because anyone who watches the old show would be like, oh my God, but for anyone who didn't it wouldn't really matter. Plus he's a really good friend of mine.

Photo/Video credit: CBS