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S.W.A.T. Seasons 1 & 2 Review

Explosive
4

Summary

For fans of the actors (most of who are from Criminal Minds or The Shield) and the mandatory police raids, you get what entertainment you expect with occasional surprise plot twists.

Plot: A S.W.A.T. leader and his team are torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to their fellow officers. A reimagining of the popular ‘70s show done in the style of the movie versions, the latter of which was also produced by Neal H. Moritz (Prison Break). It was developed by Shawn Ryan (The Unit) and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (CSi: NY).

Season 1 Review:
Sgt. Daniel “Hondo” Harrison (Shemar Moore, Criminal Minds), the only black officer and born-and-bred Angeleno in his team has his life take a sudden turn when his team leader, Sgt. Spivey (Louis Ferreira, Travelers), gets fired from the job for gunning down an innocent black teenager and Hondo gets promoted to replace him. Soon enough, Hondo realizes thus promotion was a PR stunt and not really a recognition of his abilities. Nonetheless, he tries to lead his team despite the strain his promotion has put on his relationship with Capt. Cortez (Stephanie Stigman, Spectre) and the hostility shown to him by both his community and team at times. Rounding out his talented field crew are Officers Jim Street (Alex Russell, Unbroken), Alonso (Lina Esco, Kingdom), Luca (Kenny Johnson, The Shield), Tan (David Lim, Quantico) and Sgt. Kay (Jay Harrington, The Division).

This show is off to a rather grand start as while CBS is obviously ordering this so as to appeal as another generic crime show, the showrunners obviously did put some thought into this formula. Promoted as another “Heroes that keep us safe” propaganda, it’s anything but that. The creators know you’ve seen every crime show before as after all they’ve written for the likes of Southland, The Shield and even Nash Bridges. So they proceed expediently, while somewhat cautiously at first, to showcase some police politics, hard-boiled robberies and logical covering up of questionable workplace ethics, in addition to the police raids that everyone came here to see. Moore is always game for drama and shoot-outs, and appropriately leads the cast quite well. His Hondo character as well as the hot-headed Jim Street have plenty of distorted and messy family melodrama to deal with but it’s never unorganized and gives the viewer some gritty content to come back to every week. I still prefer Colin Farrell’s portrayal of Street in the 2003 film version best but Russell held his own ground here, as did whoever composed the new theme song rendition.

Season 2 Review:
The team encounters natural disasters as well as kidnappings, cartel disputes, terrorism and personal troubles. It concludes with the wrath of Internal Affairs regarding a questionable raid gone wrong.

I didn’t find this as compelling or explosive as last season but after mid-way through some filler, it became rather engaging once more.  I guess there were some leftover episodes? Maybe a tad bit of network interference?

Once again, the team never appears monotonous or comparable as they all have their own issues that are still eating them alive. It sounds formulaic but this show is the right kind of cliche, especially considering it’s not trying to be mindless or the greatest, only beneficial for someone wanting engaging entertainment.

This will never go down as a groundbreaking show but it does set out what it claimed it wanted to achieve which was an involving police drama with some hostage rescues and some unusual detective work. And it does just that without committing any foul.