Things are going to be a little bit less strange on Hawaii Five-0 going forward this season. Jorge Garcia, the always entertaining Jerry Ortega on the CBS series, is stepping away from the show's main cast. Season 9 ended with a startling cliffhanger as the audience was left to guess whether Jerry or Steve was shot. The next season picks up after that bit of heartstring-tugging.
Friday's season premiere informs the audience that Garcia's character was indeed the one at the business end of the crime. Azra Hassan, as played by Yasmin Dar), is the one who shot Jerry. Series showrunner Peter Lenkov told audiences to hold their horses when talking to TV Line this summer. He mentioned that "someone definitely took a bullet," but also wanted to assuage fears as well. “Every year we have added to the cast, we’ve had cast leave, come back…,” Lenkov added.
The showrunner was adamant that the looming “goodbye” was “not as ominous as it sounds,” when talking to the publication. He was correct because Garcia's character decided to leave the Five-0 team instead of meeting an untimely demise. Jerry Ortega was introduced as a conspiracy theorist back in Season 4 before joining the cast as a series regular in Season 5.
In a strange bit of full-circle writing, Ortega gave his reason for leaving the team on the show. He's going to write a book connecting the U.S. Federal Reserve to the Titanic sinking. That is pretty far out, but hey, reality is stranger than fiction in our current moment. Fans can now rest easy knowing that the absence of the character in all the promotional materials was more for practicality than signaling some death flag.
“I’m grateful for my time on Hawaii Five-0,” Garcia told Entertainment Weekly. “I loved getting to return to the islands, and creating a character that connected with so many people. Playing Jerry was a blast, and I look forward to popping in again to play with my TV ohana.”
Television fans from over the last decade will remember Garcia as Hugo from ABC’s Lost. He was one of Lost’s central figures, and Garcia played a pivotal role in the swirling science fiction elements of the plot when it ran from 2004 to 2010.
That big break allowed Garcia to grab a number of other successful television roles. More recently, he has appeared on Alcatraz, Once Upon A Time, and a number of others. His biggest recurring role was on Hawaii Five-O, but it's hard to keep the actor down for long. He even managed to get himself some animated film work as the voice of Germur in Rock Dog back in 2016.