In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police and the resulting protests that have been met by sometimes overly aggressive police forces, the executive producers of CBS’ S.W.A.T. series promise to better explore the themes of race and policing in minority communities in Season 4.
“[We are] frustrated, angry, but determined to do better. On-screen and off,” exec producers Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and Shawn Ryan said in a shared statement on Twitter, accompanied by a longer reflection from their writing team.
Since the LAPD-set series’ November 2017 premiere, “as writers we examined the intersection of black communities and law enforcement through the eyes of Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (played by Shemar Moore), an African-American cop who has one foot firmly planted in each world,” the writers noted.
Now, as real-life events continue to horrifically unfold — and additional instances of police violence have a spotlight cast on them — “We are watching… in horror and sadness along with everyone else,” the writers continued, “and we will continue to mine the truth about these issues in the writing of our upcoming season as we all work towards a fairer, better system.”
Interestingly if discomfitingly presciently, S.W.A.T. had planned to end this past season with an episode that split time between present-day action and a teenage Hondo and his father during the 1992 L.A. riots. With production halted by the pandemic, that flashback-heavy hour was expected to instead land early during Season 4, which won’t premiere until early 2021.