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S.W.A.T. Boss Shares Big Hondo/Nichelle News, Teases Plan for ‘Wonderful Farewell’ Season

When it comes to CBS’ S.W.A.T. somehow staying liquid beyond this final season, “everybody holds out hope,” says showrunner Andrew Dettmann. But if this is in fact the cop show’s swan song, the EP is planning a “wonderful farewell” for Hondo & Co.

Ahead of S.W.A.T.‘s two-part Season 7 premiering (kicking off this Friday at 8/7c), Dettmann spoke with TVLine about the “final season” outlook, while also sharing some big news about Hondo and Nichelle….

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TVLINE | Did you approach this as a definitively final season, or as a possibly final season?
Look, it was presented to us as definitively final. But I’ve always said, as I talk to the actors and the other writers here, everybody holds out hope. Your show’s not gone till your show’s gone, right? So, we’re approaching it to make it a wonderful farewell if that turns out to be what it is.

TVLINE | And how many episodes are we getting?
We’re going to be doing 13 episodes.

TVLINE | Cool. I know that was the original plan, but CBS wasn’t confirming the episode count [after the strikes].
Yeah. Yeah. I’m proud to say that we have such a well-honed machine of a crew that, with the strikes ending, we were able to get up and running really fast, so we’re able to get all 13 in. That would’ve been a challenge had we not been able to start so quickly, but we’ll get all 13.

TVLINE | Alex Russell and Kenny Johnson will be recurring this season. What’s the bright side you can offer to the fans of Street and Luca?
Looking at it being the final 13 [episodes], I wanted to give everybody their proper sort of “curtain call,” so the episodes that we have for them are really focused on their characters, the evolution of their storylines. I’m really excited about the episodes that we have for them. The idea for the final 13 was that, if this was the end for us, nobody feels like they were underserved. There are some really good episodes fo Alex and Kenny, for Street and Luca.

TVLINE | What pulls Hondo & Co. back to Mexico City for this season’s two-part premiere?
It’s a promise that Hondo made 10 years ago, when a fugitive escaped in Los Angeles. [The fugitive] has now been caught in Mexico City, so Hondo, Hicks, and Powell (played by Shemar Moore, Patrick St. Esprit and newly promoted series regular Anna Enger Ritch) head down to Mexico City to extradite this prisoner back to the States.

TVLINE | Sounds simple enough!
[Laughs] Of course, it’s not simple, Matt. Things go awry and it becomes a wonderful manhunt in Mexico City, and we got some really spectacular visuals there. It’s a really nice premiere.

TVLINE | What sort of character arcs can we expect during this final season?
A lot of it is about the challenge for Hondo to keep this team together as we face some real hardships, and coming back to our idea of “SWAT is a family.” The arc is keeping that family together under the stress and the strains that we’re going to encounter.

TVLINE | And what kind of series finale are you building toward?
It’s still on the boards. We’re not quite there yet. But obviously, if this is our finale finale, it’ll be Billy Gierhart directing it — he directs all of our premieres and finales. We’ve done some pretty spectacular stunts and things along the way, so we’re trying to figure out a way to outdo all of them. As much as we’re all about that sense of family and the challenges that Hondo faces as a police officer and everything else, we also want to live up to our reputation for spectacular stunts.

TVLINE | Lastly, a reader question from Adriana: “What’s up with the Hondo/Nichelle relationship when the season opens?
I guess it’s not a secret — you’ll find out right away that things have progressed. You’ll notice a ring on Hondo’s finger, and on Nichelle’s finger. They have gotten married during the time away.

We did such a spectacular proposal at the end of Season 6, one that was very much like wedding vows, so I didn’t want to retread that. You’ll see right away in the very first scene that there are some rings there, and a reference to maybe trying to figure out a honeymoon.

TVLINE | Well, wait — will we at least glimpse a framed photo of how pretty they looked?
You know what? I think there is one on the set somewhere. I have not made a point of zooming in on it, but I think there is one. So, now that you mentioned that, we’ll have to include that!

Want scoop on S.W.A.T., or for any other TV show ? Email InsideLine@tvline.com, and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line!

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