CBS' S.W.A.T. Has Lost One Character Ahead Of Season 6, And The Star Responded

Chris in uniform in S.W.A.T. Season 5 Finale
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers below for the Season 5 finale of S.W.A.T., so be warned if you didn't yet watch.

While the line has been in the sand for some weeks now, the CBS drama S.W.A.T. officially bid a fond seeya later to Lina Esco’s Christina “Chris” Alonso with its Season 5 finale, which was appropriately  titled “Farewell.” Much as viewers may have hoped that the episode would flip expectations around regarding Chris’ future for the already confirmed Season 6, especially after she and Street finally hooked up, her fate was sealed as soon as she made the decision to leave the S.W.A.T. team in order to run the local safe house. To be expected, the character’s final appearance inspired the star herself to share a thankful goodbye message.

After S.W.A.T. fans witnessed Chris turning in her badge and gun at the end of the gift-giving episode — which is currently available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription — Lina Esco took to Instagram with a farewell to the fans, saying: 

Bringing to life a strong, smart, bi-sexual character like Chris Alonso has been both a pleasure and a powerful opportunity to increase visibility for diverse women everywhere. Five years later — I'm leaving S.W.A.T. to pursue new creative endeavors. Chris never backs down from the unknown and as an actor/writer/director — I'm excited to step out of my comfort zone and embark on a new chapter, too.

Lina Esco sounds ready to take her career to a new level upon exiting S.W.A.T., which could definitely be tied to her work directing a Season 5 installment — Ep 515, “Donor” — assuming she wants to continue showing off her talents behind the camera as much as in front of it. (She also helmed, wrote, and produced the 2014 feature Free the Nipple.) Not that she’s only been resting on her laurels in the midst of her S.W.A.T. work over the past five years, as she also starred the 2018 comedy Porthole, the mindbending 2019 drama Full-Dress, and the sci-fi anthology film Doors (in a segment opposite Josh Peck). 

Not that Esco’s message was all about the future, and she continued with a big thank you to everyone for the past five years, saying:

That said, this is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make. I'm forever grateful to my S.W.A.T. family — my fellow cast, the crew, the writers, and the producers — for an incredible journey. To the amazing S.W.A.T. fans, you are the heart of the show. I can't think you enough for your support and for walking beside me through all of Chris' journey!

S.W.A.T., which celebrated its 100th episode on CBS this season, will hopefully find a way to bring Chris back in the future, since she’s leaving on a non-lethal note. And not only to follow up on her and Chris getting busy, but that’s definitely a big part of it. It’s partly a bummer to have them go there only for her character to be gone before fans can enjoy that afterglow. Granted, we might still hear about her through verbal updates, but it won’t be quite the same.

To that end, star and Street portrayer Kenneth Johnson commented on Lina Esco’s post with a loving comment, saying:

I miss you so much already!!!! And I saw you 10 hours ago. It’s going to be so so tough without you. Beyond words.

It wasn’t only the on-screen talent who got in on the Esco-focused adoration. The Twitter account for the S.W.A.T. writers room also chimed in with the following:  

For five seasons and 106 episodes, we’ve had the pleasure to watch Lina Esco bring Chris Alonso to life on S.W.A.T. When Lina came to us a year ago to express her desire to eventually pursue other endeavors, we all worked hard to give Chris a proper, season-long sendoff, knowing what an important, iconic character she’s been to our audience. Lina rewarded us this season with thrilling performances as well as a terrific job directing an episode. What Lina brought to the show, and what Chris represented to our audience, are hard to replace. We’ll miss Chris, but we’ll especially miss Lina, as we wish her the best of luck with everything she chooses to do next.

It's wild to realize that Chris Alonso's exit has been an impending factor for an entire year, but it makes sense to know that, since her actual exit was telegraphed ahead of time, and in a way that was more meaningful than just a simple write-off or ill-timed death. Until next time, Chris!

While S.W.A.T. wrapped up its fifth season on a Sunday night, where it’s been airing since changing things up for the midseason, the drama will be flipping back to Friday nights for CBS’ Fall 2022 schedule. So be sure to take note, so that you won’t be fooled into thinking the entire series ended when Lina Esco left. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.