Back in 1975, a television show called S.W.A.T. followed the members of an elite Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) team in an unnamed California city. I have never seen this series, although I am familiar with the theme song (if you haven’t heard it, it’s quite catchy). However, I am very familiar with the 2003 film version that was based on the original series that starred Samuel L Jackson and Colin Farrell. It’s one of those fun action movies that I just will sit and watch whenever it’s on TV. It also features an updated version of that classic theme song. So, when I got a chance to see the newly rebooted version of S.W.A.T. I was curious about what it might be like.
First of all, it uses the same thing song (an updated version), so that is a great start. On its surface, S.W.A.T. is a procedural crime drama television series. The series centers on Sergeant Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson played Shemar Moore of Criminal Minds fame (this is the role played by Jackson in the 2003 film). He’s a former marine that is recruited to lead a new S.W.A.T. team. He puts together a group of people that wouldn’t normally be considered and recognizes their unique abilities even when the upper brass doesn’t. He also has a strong tie to the community as much as the force and tries to bridge the gap between the two.
As I was saying, this series is a procedural crime show with a “villain of the week” type of set up. They range from mad bomber to rescuing an undercover officer to a gang of thieves. Those are pretty par for the course. I think it’s the actors that really carry the show. Shemar Moore is solid in the lead role. He is backed up by a great ensemble like Alex Russell (Unbroken) as Street (the role played by Farrell in 2003) and Jay Harrington (from the wonderful show Better Off Ted) as Deacon Kay, a role played by LL Cool J in the 2003 film). All of these actors give strong performances that lend credibility and reality to the world they are creating (which, interestingly, is in the same universe as The Shield). We see a lot of their personal lives and interactions. We see how Hondo deals with his father moving in with him while Street helps a friend in a domestic violence dispute. One of the team finds out their father has a terminal illness while another wants to open a food truck. One even has a brother involved in crime, which gets very serious and pulls the officer in two directions. It does a good job exploring the human side of the characters and not making it just a shoot-em-up action series.
The production value on the show is strong. The sets, stunts, and costumes are all solid. It gives the feeling that somebody really cared about it and is trying to make it look as good as possible. Between the strong cast, production value, and yes, some really great action sequences, S.W.A.T. is a really fun show to watch. Season three does have 21 episodes, which I think was fewer than intended due to the COVID outbreak, so the final episode is probably not what they intended. I did read, though, that they are starting filming on season 4 this month for the fall, so make sure you get caught up before the new season! The DVD set also includes deleted scenes and a blooper reel.
S.W.A.T. Season 3 is available on DVD August 18th