The actor finished a 12 year stint on the Fox procedural this Spring but is picking up a gun again for CBS' SEAL Team, which explores the lives of elite Tier 1 operators — badass soldiers, basically — at the forefront of keeping our country safe. Boreanaz's Bones character Seeley Booth was also a gun-toting protector of the innocent, but according to him that's about where the similarities end between Booth and his new guy Jason Hayes.
"I mean, personally in his life, Jason is struggling with a lot of flaws that he's dealing with, and Seeley Booth was a little bit more of a straight gun, shooter/sniper so to speak," Boreanaz explained to journalists at the Television Critics Association fall previews.
Boreanaz also admitted that jumping back into the weekly grind happened a lot sooner than he expected, but he was captured by the story of SEAL Team and inspired by one of the men who inspired it and is now serving as a consultant on the series. One phone call convinced Boreanaz this was a role he needed to take.
"He gauged the interest by his own experiences and what he goes through in life, and something rang true for me with that, and I respected that," the actor said. "I remember talking to Chris [Schulack, executive producer], and he was like, you know, 'I'm just happy to be involved in a show that kind of talks about the lives of these guys who go out and do these heroic things, and they come home and they're a bit lost sometimes.' We don't see that, but we see the flag going up, and we see the achievements, the safety for us, and that was very impactful for me, and I just joined on."
Like Bones, SEAL Team will have a new mission each week, but the latter will put a heavy focus on the personal toll this line of work takes on the characters and how they navigate that in the real world.
"The character lives in a very hypersensitive, fast‑paced job, and they control chaos. They're calm in chaos, where we all just freak out and run. They're very calculated, and they're very slow. And when they get home, they get very nervous in situations and barbecues or going to get a box of cereal at the supermarket," Boreanaz explains. "They can't comprehend certain things. And I think what's interesting for me is being able to talk and listen to these members and SEAL people that we have on our floor that are tech advisers — Tyler Grey, Justin, Mark Semos — these guys who have lived these experiences, and get some kind of sense of insight of how I'm going to portray that."
SEAL Team is one of three military shows premiering this fall alongside NBC's The Brave and The CW's Valor, but Boreanaz insists that the military aspect is meant to help illuminate the characters rather than be the entire premise.
"That [military] backdrop leads to an amazing understanding of what these characters go through," Boreanaz explains. "It's a character‑driven show, and we want to put that out there and show the flaws in all of them."
SEAL Team premieres Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9/8c on CBS.
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