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Tim Kang: Who is actor who plays Det. Gordon Katsumoto on Magnum P.I.?

Tim Kang in a still from the new trailer for tonight's debut Magnum P.I. Pic credit: CBS
Tim Kang in a still from the new trailer for tonight’s debut Magnum P.I. Pic credit: CBS

The new re-imagined Magnum P.I. is returning to CBS tonight.

The series is set in lush Hawaii and is about a private investigator, Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez). Magnum is an accomplished (and a bit cocky) decorated ex-Navy SEAL who has returned home from a tour in Afghanistan.

In the action-packed series, Magnum uses his toolbox of military skills and physical abilities while serving as a local Hawaiian private investigator.  He has an inner circle of ex-military close friends that help him in his work.

The series boasts actor Tim Kang cast as Detective Gordon Katsumoto, described in the official character synopsis as an “up and comer.” No one should “get in his way, especially Jay Hernandez’s Thomas Magnum.

What we can see from the trailer is that Kang’s Katsumoto is not part of the aforementioned inner circle of pals that Magnum has stitched together, and he serves more as an adversary than a friend.

But just who is Kang, who will feature heavily in this highly-anticipated reboot?

Personal

Kang will not be part of Magnum's inner circle, at least initially. Pic credit: CBS
Kang will not be part of Magnum’s inner circle, at least initially. Pic credit: CBS

This San Francisco native is well educated. Kang attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in political science, and he went on the earn an M.F.A. from Harvard University. He also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia.

According to his CBS and IMDB bio, Kang is fluent in Korean and also holds a black belt in Taekwondo. He has a bit of daredevil DNA, and he is described as a racing aficionado. Kang is reportedly passionate about cars and motorcycles, as well as scuba diving.

His acting epiphany came when he was buying and trading stocks in the financial markets.

In an interview with Korean Society TV, Kang shared an anecdote about his “aha” moment.

“That didn’t happen until later…I graduated, my undergrad [and] I was working in finance at the time. So as I was walking to work one morning I was passing by a very famous acting school and they had a sandwich board out front that said. ‘beginning acting classes’ and I decided. ‘why not?'”

“I ran in there on my way to work, I signed up and started beginning acting class for people who just wanted to try it and never had acted before. I instantly fell in love with it and I remember going to work one day and on the trading floor… I’m putting in orders to buy and sell stock and I remember going through my a fellow monologue in my head, and I accidentally sold five hundred shares of a stock as opposed to buying five hundred shares of stock.”

“So at the end of the day, we had to reverse that whole transaction. Thankfully everything was okay with that but it was that point I kind of realized, my head is somewhere else and this is where I wanted to be.”

Priors

Kang as Detective Kimball Cho on The Mentalist. Pic credit: CBS
Kang as Detective Kimball Cho on The Mentalist. Pic credit: CBS

Kang has been cast in many police type roles. He was cast as Detective Kimball Cho on The Mentalist for CBS.

The network has utilized this talented actor often, as Kang was cast opposite Téa Leoni as journalist Neal Shin in Madam Secretary.

He has also had a recurring role on the series, Cloak and Dagger, and he has guested on FOX’s Lethal Weapon, FX’s American Horror Story, and NBC’s Chicago Justice. Kang also was seen in the Disney feature film, A Wrinkle in Time as the school superintendent.

Kang was also cast in the 2008 film, Rambo, opposite Sylvester Stallone, and in The Forgotten and Two Weeks Notice.

His work resides predominately in television credits. From The Unit and Third Watch, he was also seen in Criminal Mind, The Ghost Whisperer, plus The Vampire Diaries, The Office, The Sopranos and Monk.

On stage, he starred in the lead of Julia Cho’s Aubergine at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and went on to lead the New York City premiere of the play at Playwrights Horizons.

Kang was also cast in Marvel Comics writer and film director Greg Pak’s Robot Stories, and in the title role for the 2010 follow-up, Mister Green.

He also has a production shingle, One Shoot Films (OSF).  His 2012 premiere was a short film titled None of Them Will Collect My Soul, about human trafficking. Kang worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and is a spokesman for the organization. OSF also produced a horror short titled Room 731, in which South Korean actress Kim Yoo-Jung was cast.

Magnum P.I. premieres September 24 on CBS.

April Neale
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