Fall TV Preview
SWAT Preview

Fall TV First Impression: CBS' S.W.A.T.

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including the maiden voyage of Fox’s Orville, The CW’s soapy new Dynasty and NBC’s “true” new Law & Order. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | CBS’ S.W.A.T. (Thursdays at 10/9c, premiering Nov. 2)

THE COMPETITION | NBC’s (relocated) Chicago Fire and ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder

RELATED Read Our First Impressions of ABC’s The Mayor and The Good Doctor, CBS’ SEAL Team and Young Sheldon, and The CW’s Valor and Dynasty

THE CAST | Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), Kenny Johnson (The Shield), Stephanie Sigman (The Bridge), Lina Esco (Kingdom), Peter Onorati (Murder in the First) and newcomer Alex Russell

THE SET-UP | In the wake of a bad shooting — and in part due to optics, as Los Angeles race relations inflame anew — Marine Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson (played by Moore) is abruptly put in charge of his S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit.

RELATED Fall TV Poll: Which New Shows Are YOU Most Looking Forward To?

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Torn between two new CBS action-dramas, I first offered my First Impression of SEAL Team over S.W.A.T. because I suspected it would be the more interesting of the two. But as it turned out, the latter had a firmer grasp of my attention from its start to a finish punctuated by a nostalgic reprise of the original TV series’ theme song.

This is Moore’s show — he’s in almost every scene — and he has a commanding presence, whether running-and-gunning, consoling a victim or indulging in an (ahem) intradepartmental assignation. The rest of the cast, led by Harrington (sporting some aspirational facial hair as the presumed new team leader) and Sigman (playing Hondo’s supervisor/lover), is solid, quickly establishing a sense of long-standing camaraderie, while Russell avoids being completely obnoxious as The Cocky New Recruit (which is no small feat these days).

Exec-produced by Shawn Ryan (The Shield), penned by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (SouthLAnd, CSI: NY) and with a slick pilot directed by Justin Lin, S.W.A.T. CBSes about as hard as one can CBS, but W.O.W., does it CBS well.

RELATED Fall TV Schedule: What’s on When? And Versus What?

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Some have wondered why a Shemar Moore showcase isn’t paired with Criminal Minds on Wednesdays, and now I sort of scratch my head, too. I suspect that S.W.A.T.‘s established IP (as both a movie and the 1970s TV series) is being counted on to help it “pop” in a time slot that has troubled CBS as of late.

Watch the trailer for S.W.A.T., then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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27 Comments
  1. Anon says:

    Guess CBS already think SWAT will have an established fanbase so to speak due to the TV show and movie of the past hence the timeslot.

    I will watch the Pilot but I don’t know how long it will capture my attention after that tbh. Though I was a avid viewer of The Shield. So who knows

    The pilot (preview) looks flashy with bells & whistle for sure but those are the types of pilots that can often burn out in series, whilst the slower build pilot can gave more legs into series.

    Just my 2cents whadda I know

  2. MMD says:

    Lou Ferreira has appeared in a few pilots lately since Motive ended but then is either written out or recast (e.g. Taken, SWAT) which could be his choice.

    I’ll give this a try but I’m not too optimistic because I am sooooooooo tired of black vs blue, cops shooting civilians, civilians shooting cops, murder/suicides, and shootings and guns being the first response to a backyard bbq. Basically if this is more about societal changes and communication, then I will be much more interested

    • johnhelvete says:

      Based on the trailer/premise it seems more likely about getting a strong guest actor for the pilot (Ferreira) that is instantly credible as the SWAT leader since a pilot does not have that much time to establish that character. The pilot does not work if you have a lesser actor playing that role.

  3. kmw says:

    Still wondering why DB’S show got the better slot, but maybe just maybe S.W.AT. will do better than I think it will onThursday

    • Anon says:

      You won’t be happy until DB show fails and you can gloat that you were right, and prays he sits at home fluffing pillows until a Bones reunion.

      We get it.

      • kmw says:

        Hello where do think I want his show to fail( and on no planet do I think Bones will reunite ANY time soon)? Seriously all I am saying is that CBS has an actual relationship to Shemar Moore and they don’t with DB. But it has been pointed out elsewhere that maybe the reason DB’S show got the better time slot is because CBS owns his show and not S.W.A.T.. I DONT want his show to fail at all. I watched Bones for Booth and Brennan and me pointing out why his show got a better time slot doesn’t mean I want his show to fail nor does it mean I dislike or hate DB. And FYI his show is most likely NOT going to fail because of the time slot is good. If it fails it wont be because of DB AT ALL!!! Also I don’t expect actors of shows to sit on their duffs waiting for jobs or a reunion after their long running show goes off the air. how petty do you think I am. I want nothing but the best for the Bones actors

  4. Sarah G. says:

    I’m gonna give this a try for an ep or 2, even tho as Matt said it DOES look verrrrry CBSy + I’m not usually a CBS person. But even tho it was hella CBSy the trailer did keep me entertained + pickings are slim for me among fall newbies so I can spare a couple of hrs, lol.

  5. Iris says:

    Isn’t SWAT a WB production, whereas Seal Team is fully owned? It would explain why the latter got the better time slot.
    The trailer was a pleasant surprise. I like the cast very much. It sounds more complex and with better character development than your usual CBS procedural.

  6. Kevin Tran says:

    I’m looking forward to it. Hope SWAT is destined to breakthrough in the 10 pm Thursday night time slot for CBS.

  7. makparis says:

    “S.W.A.T. CBSes about as hard as one can CBS, but W.O.W., does it CBS well.” – This made me laugh very loudly!!

  8. btm says:

    If it Blue Bloods more than it Southlands, then I think CBS will have an instant hit. There are ways to make a popular cop show and ways to alienate more than entice viewers, but I generally think CBS knows what it’s doing in this space — while still remaining topical.
    .
    I expect a hit. Moore is a very popular actor and this figures to be a showcase for him. CBS already has a built-in viewership for this kind of show. It may be a haven for cop procedurals, but they keep making them because people keep watching them. The gendarmerie spin on the typical cop show is just different enough, I think.

  9. Angela says:

    Fair explanation for why they might’ve put this show on a different night. And who knows, there’s always a chance they could do some rescheduling down the line depending on how successful (or not) certain nights wind up being for them.
    .
    Good to hear the premise sounds intriguing enough. Looking forward to this-will be nice to have Moore on TV again :).

  10. Peggy says:

    This seems more like the show than the movie in the respect that the show was all about the Hondo character whereas the movie focused more on the Street character. Of course it will be a far cry from the tame TV show but I will give it a try since I was a big fan of the TV show.

  11. Larc says:

    Too bad it’s on Thursdays at 10. I’m a fan of HTGAWM and won’t desert it for this show, although I would try S.W.A.T. otherwise.

  12. Gospino says:

    Looks like yet another formulaic procedural. Boring, skip!

  13. clintbrew says:

    it be cool if they can crossover with NCIS LA cus LL cool J was in the movie version

    • lrdslvrhnd says:

      Oh gods, let’s please not put more random shows in the NCISverse, they’re running out of guest stars *g*

  14. claudiagail says:

    I wonder if CBS would have put SWAT in the Thursday slot if they had known that NBC was going to put Chicago Fire there instead of the L&O Mendenez Brothers slot? I think Fire might hurt this more than the L & O show demo wise.

  15. Maryann says:

    Time slot does not matter to me. I have been looking forward to this and will definitely check it out. In past years, it would not stand a chance with me because of Chicago Fire. Now, thankfully, that is a non-issue.

  16. meatwad says:

    As a big fan of Shield i give anything Shawn Ryan does a good look. Plus the trailer wasn’t just a bunch of running and shooting so i’m very interested

  17. KLS says:

    Are both S.W.A.T. and Seal Team full season (21-23) orders? Since the Thurs@10 slot is a late starter (due to football), maybe CBS put the shorter series there. Otherwise, I have no clue why it’s not on Wed@10 (with CM staying in it’s 9pm slot).

    • kmw says:

      As has been pointed out to me by others( including one who thinks I hate DB) CBS owns Seal Team and not S.W.A.T and maybe that’s why they put it there or maybe they really believe Shemar Moore’s fans will watch him anywhere. I hope it succeeds just like Seal Team, but it has a slot that has been awful for CBS lately and I don’t have a clue about episode orders

  18. grazelled says:

    I have a feeling that ABC is going to feel a lot of heat on Thursdays at 10pm. Not sure who’s going to win but I really like Chicago Fire and this show looks good too so probably going to DVR it.

    • KLS says:

      TGIT has been taking a hit in the ratings for a while now. It’s an aging line-up and is ripe for decent shows to make a move.

  19. Storm says:

    The preview looks good. The only problem S.W.A.T. is against How to Get Away with Murder. I will be watching Viola Davis.