How Jay Harrington and ‘S.W.A.T.’ balance reality with escapism


Jay Harrington knows “S.W.A.T.” looks a lot like the news.


But that’s kind of the point.


The new CBS show, a reboot of the 1975 television series — which was also adapted into the 2003 movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeremy Renner and LL Cool J — has been updated for 2017, and it doesn’t shy away from exactly what that means: The pilot opens with the shooting of an unarmed black boy by a white police officer.


The episode is spent trying to reckon with what that means, to the boy and his family, to the officer and the S.W.A.T. team, to the reeling community.

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“One of the characters on our show is the community of Los Angeles,” Harrington told the Daily News.


The “Better Off Ted” alum plays Sgt. David (Deacon) Kay, the senior member of the S.W.A.T. team who’s passed over for a promotion that eventually goes to Daniel (Hondo) Harrelson (Shemar Moore). The title bump looks like a move to appease the enraged residents.


“He thinks promoting a black man on live TV is going to fix that?” Hondo responds to a question about calming the neighborhood after the third police shooting in three months.

The show takes on a racially charged power struggle after the shooting of an unarmed black boy by a white officer.

(Monty Brinton/CBS)


And maybe it can’t, but “S.W.A.T.” is determined to find out; the starkest difference between the show and reality is the swiftness with which action is taken.

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The action, too, is swift — the stars went through extensive tactical training with real S.W.A.T. officers and SEAL team officers to learn sequences and movements.


The hardest part was learning that “you can’t fight age,” the 45-year-old actor joked.


“In real life, these guys can be on a site for hours just waiting. They don’t get to take a Hollywood five minutes,” he told The News.


So the cast trained, and they studied, and they trained some more so they could provide the most realistic portrayal possible.

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“It’s our chance to give people an idea what it is really about for these men and women in S.W.A.T. To give a personalized edge. On the surface, they look like…

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