“Everyone’s Going to Get Their Time to Shine,” Shemar Moore Previews the Final Season of S.W.A.T. (Exclusive)

shemar moore swat season 7 interview

Shemar Moore marks his 30th year not just on television, but on the CBS and Global networks in the U.S. and Canada respectively, as the actor prepares for the final season of the hit series S.W.A.T.

The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to speak with Moore to discuss the opportunity the series was given to end the show “the right way,” getting the chance to visit The Young and the Restless to honour “the place he was raised,” and who’d win in a fight: S.W.A.T.’s Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson Jr. or Criminal Minds’ Derek Morgan.

shemar moore swat season 7 interview

Not a lot of shows get the opportunity to plan out their final season, but S.W.A.T. was able to get a reprieve as CBS ordered a seventh and final season last May. What was it like getting the opportunity to end the show on your terms?

Yeah, I’m grateful that we get to do it the right way. The proper way. I think we’ve earned it. Not just for the cast or the writers, but it’s a village. It’s a whole family. I may be the face on the poster and billboard, but I’m not stupid enough to know this is bigger than me. There’s about 300 of us that make up the S.W.A.T. crew and bring this show to life!

It’s bittersweet that this is the end.

I make the joke that if these 53-year-old knees can still run around being bad ass Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, I don’t feel like the show is done! I think there’s proof in the excitement that it’s [last minute renewal] generated. We’re even trending in the Top 15 on Netflix for some time. We’ve also got Howard Stern talking about us. Charles Barkley loves the show. Stephen A. Smith, who I spoke with from ESPN, even he’s making noise about the show. We’ve got fans all over the world enjoying the show.

I put out a video when we briefly got cancelled and just asked the question, “Why?” I spoke from an honest, and passionate place. It wasn’t the right way to do it. Then the decision was made to let us say goodbye the right way. But, you know, this business is crazy. Hollywood is crazy. And it’s all about the numbers. So, as a family, we are saying that if this is goodbye, then let’s give the fans everything we got.

But if we give them everything we got, and the fans show up, then is it possible that this might not be goodbye? So, we’re aware that this may be the end, but we’re also optimistic and hopeful. Who knows? Let’s just see what happens. Regardless, we’re going to give our best, in a graceful and powerful way.

shemar moore swat season 7 interview

Criminal Minds is enjoying a second life on Paramount+ as Criminal Minds: Evolution. If you build up enough momentum, do you think there could be some type of future for S.W.A.T. in the streaming world?

The game has changed in Hollywood. Network TV is very different. We’re not a Netflix show, but they did give us a shot and a non-Netflix show made some noise [on that platform]. So, that’s a lesson to everybody involved. Maybe CBS will change their minds? Maybe we go to Netflix? Or Amazon?

I don’t know… That’s above my pay grade. But all we can do is make the best show possible and let the fancy execs and powerful people make decisions. We’ll let them think about it… The last time I checked, everybody loves money and numbers equals money. We’re on autopilot [at our show]. We know how to make our show and it’s proven itself.

Nothing last forever and if my next chapter comes sooner rather than later, I’m excited to continue evolving and seeing what the next move of my career [will be]. I’ve been blessed to be doing this for 30 years and I’m far from finished. I just feel like there’s a little more left in the tank with this show. But again, that’s just me talking from a passionate place because in my heart, I love what we’ve done, and I’d rather not say goodbye just yet. But if we must, we’ll smile, we’ll hug it out, and we’ll take our bow and keep moving.

shemar moore swat season 7 interview

What are you the proudest about S.W.A.T.’s seven season run?

I’m just proud of the show because we were the show that, I don’t want to say that wasn’t [necessarily] going to work because we were a new entity. There were a lot of questions [at the beginning] about how is this going to work? Because it was something different, something new. I was very motivation to be in the position to be a lead. I’m not going to lie, it was a really good feeling to see my face on the billboards in Times Square and the bus posters around L.A., with my my big old mug up there! I was like, “Hey Mama, I made it!”

And then with that, came a lot of responsibility and pressure. I’m proud of myself. I take a lot of pride in not just being the lead actor, but I take a lot of pride in being Hondo, leading the team. I take a lot of pride in that! I represent diversity in television, and I hope that opens doors and proves that it’s possible, necessary, and needed.

As for the show, I know that it’s resonated around the world. I know that we’ve made men and women in law enforcement proud because we pay homage to them. We portray them in a fair and in a good light. People tell me all the time that they sit down and watch this show with their family. And that’s a good thing. It’s fun too. We’re not a heavy, or preachy show. We don’t talk politics. We don’t talk religion. I think in today’s day and age in this country, in our world, people get a chance to keep their feet up and have a good time. And we’re that show, I believe.

Hondo and Nichelle (Rochelle Aytes) got married in between seasons. Will get to see some more of that family life and perhaps relationships with other members of Hondo’s family?

You’re going to see a little bit of everybody, which is wonderful, because if I just play bad ass Hondo running around saving the day, that’s cool and it’s fun, but it gets a little boring. Even though I love doing it! But I love that there’s layers to all the characters. There are layers to Hondo, so you get to see the family life with his mother, father. And you know, it’s not all just squeaky clean! There are issues! You now also get to see him as a husband and father.

Since we only have 13 episodes, I did say, “Let’s not slow down the show. We won’t do the grand Hallmark wedding. This isn’t Dynasty. This is S.W.A.T. But, let’s show the ring on the finger. Let Hondo and Nichelle show that love and show the family element.” So yes, let’s bring my father back (played by Obba Babatundé) and my mother (played by Debbie Allen).

Everyone’s going to get their time to shine! The emotions will shine. The relationships will shine. I may be the face on the poster, but it can’t just be Hondo, Hondo, Hondo! I’m going to do my thing, but everybody is going to get their chance to get their due. I think that the fans are going to enjoy the stories and they are going to enjoy everybody getting their curtain call. But there’s also going to be some surprises! It’s also going to be emotional. Whether that’s happy, or that’s sad, it’s going to be the most emotional season as we ride off into the sunset.

shemar moore returning to the young and the restless

You’ve been part of the CBS and Global family for 30 years. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of Malcolm Winters’ first appearance on The Young and the Restless. What has it been like getting the chance to go back to Y&R for visits? Fans still love your portrayal of that character. Do you feel there’s still story to tell for Malcolm?

Oh yeah. You never forget where you came from! 30 years is crazy. I have to really sit with it because it’s really surreal.

I treat my career like school. The Young and the Restless was high school. Criminal Minds was college. S.W.A.T. is grad school. Then we’ll see what’s after that!

I’ve gone back to The Young and the Restless at times because that’s the place where I started. Where I got my stripes! I also went back for my late dear friend Kristoff St. John to keep his memory alive and to honour him because he honoured me so much. Especially in the beginning when I was so scared to death and freaked out that I wasn’t good enough. He really embraced me and helped me grow and helped me believe in myself. That’s the place that I started so if they ever asked me to go back, I wouldn’t hesitate. Not for long-term, because I still want to climb, continue to evolve and see how high I fly, but yeah, I have, and I would go back to The Young and the Restless!

Same thing for Criminal Minds. I love to see that show continuing [as Criminal Minds: Evolution] because that place was so good to me. Without Derek Morgan, there’s no Hondo! Hondo is just Derek Morgan on steroids – just physically and emotionally! If Hondo and Derek got into a fight, I pretty much think that Hondo would kick Derek’s ass! And if either one of them got into a fight with Shemar, they’d kick my ass! That’s why it’s fun to play. I get to play a superhero without wearing tights!

But yeah, you always honour the source. That’s where I was taught. That’s where I was raised. I’m so grateful for every step of my journey.

shemar moore and susan lucci at the daytime emmys

What was it like reuniting with Susan Lucci at the Daytime Emmys recently? You got to present her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

That was great! Yeah, I was so honoured. I was told that she personally requested that I be there to present that. It was just a flashback to 1999 when I said, “The streak is over! Susan Lucci!” Which went viral, caught fire, and even became a question on Jeopardy!

[It was great] to see her again. She looked great and it was so well-deserved, and I got to get up there and bring that all back full circle!

Season 7 of S.W.A.T. premieres Friday, February 16 at 8 p.m. ET on Global and STACKTV.


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