Under normal circumstances, the month of May usually holds a soft spot in my heart every year; birthdays and holidays being the primary reasons. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that this year is everything BUT normal. Before the month could even properly wrap up, the world was enraged and provoked to action over the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. Riots and protests spread throughout the country and the globe, undeniably shaking and resetting the tone for the remainder of 2020.
Because of that, many people were and are still left grappling with how the long-term effects of all this civil unrest will reshape how we approach relations with each other, our lawmakers, and our country—which includes our local police forces. Importantly, this extends to how police can and should be portrayed through storytelling onscreen; that’s exactly why S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore decided to have a serious conversation with the writers of the CBS primetime series to discuss what part the show should play in the nationwide conversation.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Moore, along with executive producer Shawn Ryan and co-creator Aaron Thomas, expressed how they were uniquely positioned for the task at hand and how S.W.A.T.’s writing and production teams have interwoven real-world issues for the fourth season. “We find a nice balance so you don’t feel like you are watching the news,” Moore shared with EW. “A TV show can’t fix the injustices around the world, but at least we can make you think. Our show does a good job of showing the human side of our characters, my character being from South L.A., being a Black man from the streets, and having the constant struggle to not forget where he’s come from but to also change the system...change the way the police deal with civilians and change the perception of civilians to the police.”
He continued, “It’s fun to be on an exciting, kick-ass cop show. I’m the lead actor and I’m proud to have achieved that. But I’m also a producer on the show. It’s very important to me that we come up with quality content that has integrity without getting too heavy-handed or preachy. I felt that there was an opportunity and a large responsibility to stay, as they say, woke.”
The fourth season of S.W.A.T. premieres tonight at 9 pm ET, only on CBS.