S.W.A.T. is coming to CBS this fall and it's going to look a little bit different than other shows you've seen on the network.
The cast, headlined by Criminal Minds grad Shemar Moore, are aware of the network's struggles in the diversity department and are proud to be bringing a show that adds a new dimension to people of color and women to the channel's calendar this fall. TV Guide asked each of the cast members how important they feel the diversity of the show is and what it means to be airing particularly at this trying time in the social discourse.
"I think it's great for CBS. I think CBS is opening their horizon," Moore explained. "[S.W.A.T. depicts] real life today 2017 — Trump is president with the fear that's going on in this country, with the issues that are going on this country laced with some tough gals and guys chasing down some bad people."
His costar Lina Esco is also excited for audiences to see the badass women members of the team and to show them that women are capable of fighting like Wonder Woman and Charlize Theron in this summer's Atomic Blonde.
"More than ever, thank God, I think people feel a responsibility in playing women in a way that we want to be portrayed," she said. "The fact that this show has that and is empowering women in that sense, it's amazing to watch."
The show isn't pulling a diversity card for the sake of meeting a quota or quieting critics, though. Having a dialogue about race and sexism is inherent in the premise of an African-American S.W.A.T. team member being thrust into the spotlight when his community is put at the front lines of Los Angeles' criminal tension.
"The bonus for CBS is the diversity. The story is true to the characters," said Peter Onorati. "What we're trying to do is take a snapshot of modern day life in L.A. and the struggle that a person like Shemar would have coming from a community of color and crossing the line — that blue line — to be an enforcer of the law over that same community."
S.W.A.T. premieres Thursday, Nov. 2 at 10/9c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)