Tensions run high between the Harrelson men in a powerful sneak peek from the return of CBS’ S.W.A.T.
In the episode “3 Seventeen Year Olds” — which was originally eyed as the Season 3 finale, but due to the pandemic pausing production will now open Season 4 this Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 9/8c — Hondo (played by Shemar Moore), his father Daniel Sr. (Obba Babatundé) and his teen charge Darryl (Deshae Frost) must confront Los Angeles’ history of racial tension between law enforcement and the Black community, partly through flashbacks to the city in 1992 following the Rodney King verdict. (In said flashbacks, Donald Dash and Rico E. Anderson play younger versions of Hondo and his pop.)
In the clip above, Daniel Sr. — at an event commemorating the anniversary of the 1992 L.A. riots — has some strong, emotional words for his LEO son, partly regarding the defiant-to-change world that Darryl is now growing up in. Press play above to hear out Hondo’s response, and see why his father has just cause to deem him “naive” about things.
So much transpired in the real world this summer with regard to Black Lives Matter and civil unrest, the S.W.A.T. writers promised to “do better” in exploring race and policing. And in putting together this extra-topical episode after the fact, EP Aaron Rahsaan Thomas told TVLine, “We’re still telling the story of current-day S.W.A.T. dealing with the current political unrest, that tricky dance between the police and the community, and also telling the flashback story back to 1992 of some of the same parallel elements that the police and the community were dealing with at that time. That is all still very much in place.”
Elsewhere in the season premiere, the S.W.A.T. team pursues El Diablo’s scattered drug cartel hiding in the city, picking up a storyline from last season’s ersatz finale.
A second new episode follows at 10 pm, in which the team acts as a domestic surveillance unit for the CIA and Tan’s mother is a victim of racial discrimination.