“S.W.A.T.” — a drama about the Los Angeles Police Department’s specialized tactical units inspired by the 2003 movie and 1975-76 ABC series — premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday evening on CBS.
“S.W.A.T.” is “the type of show you don’t see on the network,” executive producer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, who co-wrote Thursday evening’s episode, said at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“We’re going to have fun, high-octane action, we’re going to have deep character development and we’re going to explore topical issues from time to time. You’re going to be entertained and you’re going to be engaged.”
Thomas said that when he and fellow executive producer Shawn Ryan, best known as the creator of the 2002-2008 FX police drama “The Shield,” pitched the series, “the idea was that we’re going to present the coolest cast of characters of any drama on network television.”
“What makes them cool is because they’re able to handle really tough situations with humor and chemistry and oftentimes doing it in a way you haven’t seen before,” said Thomas, who had been a producer on the CBS police procedural “CSI: NY.”
“When they walk into a room, they way they do it stands out from other people — the way they dress, they way they present themselves, the way they’re able to connect with people on a personal level, to understand how to speak different languages, literally and figuratively.”
Ryan described “S.W.A.T.” as a “go-get ’em” show.
“SWAT are the officers other officers call when they are in trouble and we’re going to show that in a grounded, realistic, enjoyable, fun way,” said Ryan, who also co-wrote the episode.
Ryan said “S.W.A.T.” would feature humor, “heart, romance and emotion” and “the best stunt work on TV.”
Shemar Moore, who spent 11 seasons each on the CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds” and the network’s daytime drama “The Young and The Restless,” stars as Sgt. Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the film and Steve Forrest in the ABC series, who becomes the unit’s commander.
The CBS version of Harrelson is a former Marine raised in South Los Angeles who is torn between loyalties to his neighborhood and fellow officers.
“People are going to see Shemar Moore in a way they’ve never seen him before,” Ryan said. “There are aspects of Shemar that he’s never gotten to show off and we’re going to sides and ask him to do things as an actor he’s never done before.
Shemar thinks this is his big opportunity to show the world what he’s capable of and we’re writing for that.”
The presence of Moore was among the reasons CBS put “S.W.A.T.” on its schedule, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told City News Service.
Moore “is an amazingly popular CBS star,” Kahl said. “Men love him. Women love him.”
The cast also consists of Stephanie Sigman as Capt. Jessica Cortez, who oversees the unit and is in a relationship with Harrelson; Alex Russell as a cocky but promising new member of the group; Jay Harrington as an experienced SWAT officer; Lina Esco as the unit’s dog trainer; Kenny Johnson as the unit’s expert driver; Peter Onorati as the leader of an “old school” SWAT unit; and David Lim as a relatively new officer who uses his confidential informants in the community to help the team.
—City News Service
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