S.W.A.T. returns tonight for its fourth season as Hondo and the squad are back at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. This brand new set of episodes will see the team addressing many of the issues that we all have dealt with so far in 2020 through the lens of LAPD’s most elite crime fighters.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore about the extra steps needed to film a show in 2020 and what fans can expect from the new season.
MW: Shemar, nice to see you today! Season four of S.W.A.T. kicks off tonight on 11/11 ,that’s probably a good sign. I’d love to know first, what’s it like to shoot a show in 2020?
SM: It’s a little strange. We’re making it happen and I’m very proud. I got the information that we were the first show to come back as far as network television; the first one-hour drama to come back. It’s different, you got all these regulations, we’re getting COVID tested constantly. It was supposed to be three days a week but literally because S.W.A.T. is so hands on with the action, cops chasing bad guys, and wrestling bad guys to the ground that we get tested pretty much every day. I’ve been getting a little q-tip up my nose then I have to spit into a cup. Before we show up to work, we get our temperature taken; it’s different.
But we’re embracing it because it is what it is and we’d rather be safe. We’d rather just keep us all safe. We’re following these protocols, hoping, waiting, being optimistic about a vaccine. Hopefully the audience doesn’t notice it, meaning the sacrifices that we had to make in our storytelling. The actions of the shows don’t change, you got the car chases, you got that “na na na na” you got that action.
What I’m really proud of is we’re being woke. We’re entertaining people but we’re also talking about real things. I’m a black man. Hondo is a black man. I’m wearing an LAPD uniform on television. if you look at the news, there’s this divide, this tension, there’s this fear between civilians and the police. You hear about defund the police and we talk about that. I just felt it was necessary for us not to ignore what was going on.
You’ll see in our first episode, we talk about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. We talk about the racial injustices. We’re not picking sides, we’re just saying, hey this is what it is. This is what’s going on, this is the conversation, this is what the debate is. All the while giving you crazy, crazy action.
We’re talking about real issues to keep people woke but we’re still having that S.W.A.T. good time. I’m proud to be a part of a TV show that is trying to promote a sense of compassion, a sense of harmony, and the sense of togetherness while having cops chasing bad guys and having a good time.
MW: During the two hour premiere tonight we have yourself and then we also have Daniel Sr. and we have Daryl who is a teenager, and we are looking at all of these things through the lenses of three men who are three different generations. Can you talk about that and what we’re going to see from that aspect?
SM: In this first episode, we take on the Watts riots. We talk about Rodney King from 1992. Then we also show you that here we are in 2020 and George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery are happening and others. We have the Daryl character played by Deshae Frost, we have my character Hondo, and then we have Hondo’s father played by Obba Babatunde who plays Daniel Sr. You have these three different generations and what’s interesting is in real life when I talk to youngsters, say 30 and younger, a lot of them don’t even know who Rodney King is; they don’t know.
The young character Daryl in S.W.A.T. even says it, it was so well written by Sean Ryan and the writing staff here. He’s like who’s Rodney King? I thought this was just Black Lives Matter against the police. They have no idea what happened 28 years ago. Then Hondo’s father, he’s very pessimistic like nothing’s changed in 30 years, look at this, Black people are being treated a certain way and nothing’s changed. Then Hondo, he’s just more optimistic. That’s why he got into the Marine Corps, that’s why he became an LAPD officer because he wants thing to change.
I think a lot of people that watch the show will be entertained. In 1 hour, you’re going to be entertained and you’re going to be educated. You’re going to be given different perspectives from different generations. I think you’re going to, whether you realize it or not, learn a lot. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what color you are, we’re telling human stories. We’re telling real stories. I’m giving you real perspectives and I’m really proud of that.
MW: Last question before I let you go here. Right now, people are just looking for something new to watch, something to entertain them. What does it mean to be able to give people fresh content, new episodes at a time we haven’t had that for a long time?
SM: We didn’t have anything for so long, I was watching the cornhole championships. I watched it so much I bought one myself and I have cornhole in my backyard. You do whatever you got to do. People want to be entertained, new content. This hit all of us. This all started when, we all got shut down in March. S.W.A.T. finished March 16 and then two days later here in LA we got put on lockdown. None of us knew what that meant.
Just to be back, making a show, hanging out with the crew. Sure, we got to wear masks and face shields, the whole thing but it’s better than sitting home all the time. We can go out and we’re making our show and everything I try to talk about. We’re trying to stay woke and relevant, giving you a thrill ride. Giving you something that can make you think or move you. Giving people, my fans on social media, I go on there all the time, they’re so excited.
I’m just proud to be able to do what I love to do. I’m grateful to SONY and CBS for giving us a platform to do our thing. We’re in a particular show that can only tell the stories that we’re telling because of the way we’re setup. We literally are LAPD S.W.A.T. We are these super cops but we also represent the men and women in real life that there’s a lot of controversy around which we’re trying to give you the optimistic approach to the humanity of these men and women that fight for our lives every day. We’re just trying to show you the good, trying to help people believe in the good. And then just have a really good time. That’s what’s about to open up.
MW: Awesome. Thank you so much for the the time Shemar and all the best!
SM: Peace out, man.
Tune in tonight for all-new S.W.A.T. at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Check your local listings for more information.