Shemar Moore on the 'Miracle' Renewal of 'S.W.A.T.' and Why the Season 7 Finale Didn't Change

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore is walking on air with the Season 8 renewal of S.W.A.T. and unlike the Season 7 renewal, which was only for 13 episodes to supposedly wrap up the series, Season 8 is for a full 22 episodes.

“I haven't even thought that far, I really haven't,” Shemar tells Parade in this Zoom interview when asked about future plans for the series. “I have no idea because we didn't think there was going to be a Season 8. We hoped and we believed, so in the very near future, I'm going to be sitting down with Andy Dettmann, our show runner, and Jim Scura our line producer, and some of the writing staff.”

With the loss of Jim Street (Alex Russell) and Dominique Luca (Kenny Johnson) from the team already, we had to ask if the announcement of the pickup was in time to possibly save Deacon (Jay Harrington), who has been talking about retirement.

“I don't want to give anything away, I'll give you this, Deacon's journey is not over,” Shemar says. “I know people are screaming and yelling in the comments. They’re saying, ‘Bring back Chris [Lina Esco], bring back Street, bring back Luca.’ Change is hard. I'm not about to sit here and guarantee that they're all coming back but I will say they're not dead, and so when you're not dead in the world of Hollywood, anything can happen.”

Shemar Moore<p>Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS</p>
Shemar Moore

Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS

It didn’t happen in time, though, for the filming of the Season 7 finale. That episode had pretty much already been filmed when the announcement was made to the crew —three days before the series was supposed to wrap but thanks to stellar planning there was no need for rewrites or reshoots.

“Kudos to Andy,” Shemar continues. “We all sat in my backyard just as the strike was ending and we talked about, ‘OK, what are we going do for Season 7?’ We said we know we have to say goodbye to cast members, but we're going to write it in a way that there's going to be trouble in paradise, Hondo's going to have to struggle to keep his team together, but by the time we get to the 13th episode, it'll either be our last hurrah and we'll go off into the sunset, or you'll be able to feel that it could be our new beginning. Like S.W.A.T. ain’t over. So, honestly, even with the announcement, we changed nothing."

Related: Kenny Johnson on How He’s Being Written Out of S.W.A.T.

Happily, it turned out that S.W.A.T. wasn’t over and that is in large part because Shemar asked for nothing for himself when CBS and Sony approached him about the possibility of an eighth season. His concern was for keeping jobs for his cast, crew and writing staff.

“I said, ‘Look if I make a deal, how much closer does that get us to picking up the show?’ My instincts kicked in and I asked for nothing because I've been fighting for the show, so I did not want any appearance of it looking like I was being selfish or fighting for myself. I just asked that if the show came back that they would allow me to announce it to my crew before our last day [and it was agreed upon].”

Jessica Camacho<p> Photo: Bill Inoshita/©2024 Sony Pictures Television/CBS</p>
Jessica Camacho

Photo: Bill Inoshita/©2024 Sony Pictures Television/CBS

Tonight is a new episode of S.W.A.T., entitled “Honeytrap,” in which a female robbery crew “honeytraps” and kills several rich VIPs, but then some not so rich, which breaks their pattern. FBI Agent Jackie Vasquez (Jessica Camacho) turns to Hondo and 20-Squad for help in capturing the fugitives when her job is on the line.

“It's cool when we have female criminals to see that women can play outside the box and be the badasses and we’ve got to take them down,” Shemar teases of the episode. “Trust me, these last episodes are poignant, and they will move you, they will excite you and now knowing what everybody knows, we don't know what's going to happen with Deacon, we don't know what's going to happen to this team, but trust me, the way we go out will be remembered.”

During our Zoom chat, Shemar talked more about how they managed to save S.W.A.T., what he’s feeling now and how being a girl dad made it even more important.

Related: Who Left S.W.A.T. in the 'End of the Road' Episode?

Congratulations on Season 8. What are you feeling?

I'm very tired, but it's a great kind of tired, emotionally, physically. Last time we talked, I said we got slapped in the mouth, or in a boxing analogy, punched in the gut and put on a knee. They canceled us on a Friday at 6 p.m. and I said a little something on social media and people took notice. Then a lot of powerful people talked to each other, and they said, ‘OK, we'll give you your swan song.' I'm so proud because this is a lightweight miracle.

I pinched myself because this type of stuff doesn't happen. I'm not saying it's never happened before, but two years back-to-back uncanceled and to see the uncanceled headlines twice, raised up from the dead, avoiding death, all that stuff, it's just a testament to the fans because the fans made noise and watched and kept the numbers going and Netflix going and all that.

Patrick St. Esprit, David Lim, Shemar Moore, Anna Enger Ritch, Jay Harrington, and Brigitte Kali Canales<p>Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS</p>
Patrick St. Esprit, David Lim, Shemar Moore, Anna Enger Ritch, Jay Harrington, and Brigitte Kali Canales

Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS

It's a huge testament to the crew, the supporting cast, the writers because all I said is, “They say we’re done.” And if we're using a boxing analogy, if we're on a knee, let’s just get up and let's keep fighting. At the end of the fight, we might lose. That's OK. We can hold our heads high. We had a good run; we made a cool show. We might lose but what if. I just kept saying to anybody who would listen on the show, I said, “What if we don't,” and so for us to get the announcement 10 days ago that not only are we coming back but we're getting 22 episodes, it's just incredible.

I'm proud of myself for speaking my truth and for believing, but when I went to the wrap party last week at a bowling alley and saw 250 people and their families genuinely happy, smiling, giddy, tears in their eyes, that's what it's about. Nothing lasts forever. This could have been it but the fact that it's not—it could end next year, but because we won this fight, this will be remembered forever, and we will all be a part of it and then we walk away. But we're not done yet.

Related: Shemar Moore Says in His Heart, Despite Being Canceled, He's Ready for More Seasons of S.W.A.T.

Since the wrap party was last week does that mean that this renewal came after the finale was shot for Season 7 so that no changes were able to be made?

For those who have seen Season 7, you’ve got to watch what is left to come now with the exciting news of Season 8. But we literally changed nothing. We approached it like this was the end, but we wanted to perform and deliver it in a way that the suits could rethink it and realize that it doesn't have to be the end and that's exactly what happened.

Shemar Moore, Jay Harrington<p>Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS</p>
Shemar Moore, Jay Harrington

Photo: Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS

One of the major points for Hondo this season is he's a baby girl dad and you are in real life as well. Does that affect your performance? Is that also part of the reason why you fought so hard for the show because keeping it filming in LA, you can be a hands-on parent?

All of the above. What's crazy about this industry is so few shows are shooting in LA. I've been blessed most of my career. I've done some things out of town and out of the country, but my mainstays from The Young and the Restless to Criminal Minds to Soul Train to S.W.A.T. have all been here in LA, so I get to play with my dogs, I get to come home to my daughter, I get to drive my cars and sleep in my own bed. But on S.W.A.T., art has imitated life for a while. I'm half black, half white, Hondo’s full black but Hondo’s father was a Black Panther. Shemar’s father was a Black Panther. When my mother was alive, she would watch the show and she would even acknowledge that the rapport between Debbie Allen and me was very similar to me and my real mother.

Being a girl dad, Hondo fighting for his team, Hondo dealing with the pressures of proving himself, I felt that my entire career let alone my life, so to answer your question, having a girl, having Frankie, my daughter, makes it easy to be a girl dad at work but the tough-guy part is not Shemar. That's just me having a good time. The family part and the lovey-dovey part, that's easy. Been there, done that.

S.W.A.T. airs Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Next, Shemar Moore on the Importance of Tackling Everyday Issues on S.W.A.T.