Eighteen months ago the actor, who has played Lt. Comm. Steve McGarrett since the start of the series, swore he'd be done once his contract ended following the current season after eight years of being No. 1 on the call sheet and playing an action star while a real-life back injury has plagued him for years.
"I don't know that I'd say I got a 'second wind'...," O'Loughlin told TVLine in advance of his directorial debut episode about a potential exit at the end of Season 8. "But is there a way that I can realistically see a Season 9 being a part of my life? I think so."
The actor would still need to see some concessions from CBS to make him consider re-upping his contract for the show, but he's at least open to the conversation now instead of being steadfast in walking away.
"I am still very tired at the end of the season, and after almost 200 episodes of television," he also said to TVLine. "But I can sort of quietly and sensibly sit back and go, 'There's a version where if CBS can make a deal and be reasonable, then I'm prepared to be reasonable, too.'"
Regardless of whether O'Laughlin stays, show creator Peter Lenkov will move the show forward if CBS picks it up for a Season 9.
"As long as people are watching the show, we would keep going," Lenkov told TV Guide in November 2016 shortly after O'Loughlin made his initial comments about leaving. "If Alex elects not to come back, that's obviously going to be his choice. But we're moving forward as if the show's going to keep going."
Hopefully, fans won't have to decide if they want to watch their show with a new lead character.
Hawaii Five-0 continues Fridays at 9/8c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS)