By Andrea Towers
January 17, 2014 at 10:24 PM EST
Norman Shapiro/CBS

If you think you know Chin Ho, think again. While Hawaii 5-0 is no stranger to exploring the (often drama-filled) past lives of its characters, tonight’s hour dives deep into Chin’s backstory in an episode that, judging by the promos, is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.

EW checked in with series star Daniel Dae Kim to see if the actor could share some teases ahead of the episode. Read on for more!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is a big episode for your character – did you have any input in creating Chin’s backstory?

DANIEL DAE KIM: What’s ironic about this episode is that it wasn’t broken in the writer’s room. It was one of the producers who came up to [Executive Producer] Peter Lenkov and suggested this idea of Chin having something dark in his past that has to do with his wife and his family. That’s how the episode originated. In terms of input, I don’t think I had very much. Now that we’re in season 4, most of our writers and executive producers have a good grasp on who the characters are so it’s nice to just take that ride with them.

You mention that the story wasn’t broken in the writer’s room. Were you aware that you were going to get such an extensive history of Chin’s past this season?

Every season, our characters get one or two character-driven episodes. so I knew that was in the cards. But I’m in almost every scene of this episode, and that’s very unusual.

And it seems really intense, watching the preview!

It’s great. What was really unique about it for me is that a lot of it takes place on one set. And it’s supposed to take place in continuous time. In television, you don’t shoot in continuous time, you shoot all over the place. But for this episode, Robert Knepper and Brian Thompson, my co-stars, were actually completely prepared to do the entire set of scenes that took place in one room. So we shot 20 pages — 20 pages is an exaggeration, let me say 12 pages — without cutting. And so we actually shot it like a play, and I felt like I was on stage, and I felt that moment-to-moment kind of action/reaction that we don’t often get to play on television.

 What can you tease about what fans will be feeling at the end of the hour?

I think what fans will actually say is “what is it about Chin Ho’s karma that’s given him such a hard life?” Because there’s been a lot of tragedy in his life, there’s been a lot of adversity, and so the fact that he’s around and still upstanding and trying to do the right thing says something about his character.

Word on the street is that we get a flashback to teenage Kono tonight. I know this is a pretty heavy episode, but is there anything fun you can share about what we’ll see?

Two words: Frosted jeans.

Tonight’s episode of Hawaii 5-0, “*Hana lokomaika’i,” airs at 10 p.m. on CBS.