The Big Way Shemar Moore Influenced CBS' S.W.A.T. In Season 4

swat season 4 shemar moore hondo cbs
(Image credit: CBS)

S.W.A.T. was one of many big shows that came to a premature end in the 2019-2020 TV season due to production shutdowns, which meant Season 3 had to end before what sounded like a landmark episode of the series that revisited the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Now, S.W.A.T. is on the way back to CBS for Season 4 to deliver that long-awaited episode to start a complicated arc for Hondo, and star Shemar Moore explained the big way he influenced the show for its return.

Shemar Moore serves as a producer on S.W.A.T. as well as star, and he spoke to ET about how he approached starting a conversation about racial injustice with the show in its fourth season, saying:

I called [co-creator] Shawn Ryan and Jeff Frost from Sony, we had a sit-down here in my home and I said, 'Look, I know we're an entertainment show, but I don't want to call it a gift, I want to call it an opportunity and responsibility to be woke. Let's not just go out there and chase bad guys, let's go out there with something to say.’ You'll see with our first episode and many more to follow, we're talking about some real issues. We're talking about racial injustice, we're talking about the perception of police -- the good and the bad -- and I think we're going to see some powerful messages from us this year.

S.W.A.T. began filming Season 4 back in August, after a summer of protests against racial injustice and police brutality following the deaths and aftermath of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Shemar Moore shared that he met with showrunner Shawn Ryan and Sony Pictures Television Studios President Jeff Frost about what S.W.A.T. could accomplish with its upcoming episodes.

Hondo has functioned as a bridge between the LAPD and the community from the beginning, so his perspective could be more valuable than ever with the "powerful messages" that Shemar Moore and Co. intend to send in Season 4. Moore went on to share that Hondo's "struggle bridging the gap between Black and blue" as well as "his own internal struggle" will continue throughout the fourth season.

The premiere will seemingly show Hondo's position between "Black and blue," as he'll attend a protest for racial equality to start Season 4. The first half of the two-hour premiere event will cover the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict, but not just through Hondo's eyes.

Called "3 Seventeen Year Olds," the episode will see Hondo, his dad, and teen Darryl confront the history of racial tension between the Black community and law enforcement in Los Angeles, including flashbacks to L.A. after the Rodney King verdict. The episode will include archival footage from the 1992 riots, and the original plan back before production shutdowns pushed it to Season 4 in the fall was for it to air on April 29 -- the 28th anniversary of the L.A. riots breaking out.

Check out the trailer for what to expect from Season 4:

The second half of S.W.A.T.'s Season 4 premiere two-parter won't be connected to the L.A. riots story, but Shemar Moore's comments indicate that he and the show made efforts to talk about important issues beyond the first hour of Season 4. Following "3 Seventeen Year Olds," S.W.A.T. will deliver an episode that sounds like it picks up where Season 3 left off.

Called "Stakeout," the episode will see the S.W.A.T. team acting as a domestic surveillance unit for the CIA to confirm whether or not an international crime lord has resurfaced in Los Angeles. Additionally, Tan's mom will be a victim of racial discrimination, and Hondo will encounter Nichelle for the first time since their breakup. To see Hondo and the rest back in action, be sure to check out CBS on Wednesday, November 11 starting at 9 p.m. ET for S.W.A.T. Season 4.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.