Back on television more than 42 years after the debut of the original series, CBS’ November 2-premiering S.W.A.T. reboot is exactly the type of testosterone-juiced police procedural the revival-friendly network proliferates throughout its primetime lineup.
As all those billboards, bus posters and ads have made clear, Shemar Moore fronts the new Aaron Thomas- and Shawn Ryan-EP’d show playing South L.A.-raised and newly minted Special Weapons and Tactics leader Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson. Trying to straddle the world he came from and the LAPD world in which he works, Harrelson is put in charge of a team of cop-show-standard misfits to soothe political tensions after an African-American teenager is shot by Hondo’s white predecessor.
From its Justin Lin-helmed pilot onwards, this S.W.A.T. also tries to weave in social commentary on race relations, the incarceration industry, community relations and illegal immigration. But, of course, once you get past the optics, the real drama here is bringing the bad guys down. It’s a task S.W.A.T. takes on with clear vigor, a lot of guns and bullets, and a high body count. That’s its job. At times visually flat and with stilted scripts, this inclusion-rich series can be pretty routine, yet at the same time it delivers and sometimes exceeds genre expectation. The show also possesses a well-timed and understated sense of humor, which pops up just enough to deflate the cop-show shtick that pervades.
So, click on my video review above for more of my take on the series starring ex-Criminal Minds star Moore, Stephanie Sigman, David Lim and Alex Russell. And by the way, that iconic theme song is back for the Los Angeles-based show, kinda. And, go Dodgers!