New CBS Show S.W.A.T. Is Grappling With Black Lives Matter


The events of the last few years have cast a new light on traditional police procedurals. For example, CBS’ recent TV adaptation of Training Day was roundly slated for offering an unpleasant vision of a rogue cop violently breaking the rules to get the job done and was subsequently excoriated as out of step with the times. By and large, contemporary audiences simply don’t see trigger-happy rogue cops as heroes – you need some critique of the consequences of their actions. Thankfully, it looks as if CBS got that memo, as this new trailer for upcoming show S.W.A.T. tackles Black Lives Matter and its surrounding issues head-on.

Opening with the titular SWAT team accidentally shooting a teenager in the back, the show seems to explore the tug-of-war that faces an African-American cop in 2017, with lead character Sgt. Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrison (Shemar Moore) being pointedly asked “What color are you? Black or blue?” The trailer promises a show that’s not afraid to grapple with some highly-charged issues, amongst them the militarization of the police force, loss of trust in institutions and the way in which communities and individuals react to fear.

Of course, it’s all that and some totally sick car chases, rocket launcher fights and SWAT officers clotheslining punks that get out of line. After all, the series premiere is directed by Fast and the Furious alumni Justin Lin, and it’d be a shame to waste his kinetic talents on a purely talky show.

Overall, it all looks quite promising and kudos to CBS and the producers for stepping into a political minefield. Let’s just hope they deal with the issue with the seriousness and thought it deserves. We’ll find out one way or another this fall, when S.W.A.T. premieres.