S.W.A.T. (1975 TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

GenrePolice procedural
Crime drama
Created byRobert Hamner
Developed byRick Husky
StarringSteve Forrest
Robert Urich
Rod Perry
Mark Shera
James Coleman
Theme music composerBarry De Vorzon
Opening theme"Theme from S.W.A.T."
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes37 (list of episodes)
Executive producersAaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg
ProducerRobert Hamner
CinematographyTim Southcott
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 mins
Production companySpelling-Goldberg Productions
Original release
ReleaseFebruary 24, 1975 (1975-02-24) –
April 3, 1976 (1976-04-03)
S.W.A.T. (2017)

S.W.A.T. is an American police procedural action crime drama television series created by Robert Hamner, developed by Rick Husky, and produced by Hamner, Aaron Spelling, and Leonard Goldberg under Spelling-Goldberg Productions. The series aired for two seasons on ABC from February 1975 to April 1976. A spin-off of The Rookies, developed from a two-part pilot aired on February 17, 1975, S.W.A.T. follows a police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team operating in an unnamed Californian city. The series stars Steve Forrest, Robert Urich, Rod Perry, Mark Shera, and James Coleman as the titular team's officers.

S.W.A.T. was filmed in and around Los Angeles. Richard Kelbaugh, a former LAPD Metropolitan Division SWAT officer, served as a technical advisor. The series' opening theme was composed by Barry De Vorzon; an official rearrangement by Rhythm Heritage reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States on the chart date of February 28, 1976.

S.W.A.T. was popular with audiences, but controversies surrounding its depictions of violence ultimately led to the cancellation of a third season. However, its legacy spawned a 2003 film adaptation directed by Clark Johnson for Columbia Pictures, and a 2017 television series remake developed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and Shawn Ryan for CBS, both of the same name.[1]


S.W.A.T. is set in the same fictional universe as The Rookies, in an unnamed Californian metropolis loosely based on Los Angeles, and follows the newly-established SWAT unit of the Western California Police Department (WCPD). The series specifically follows Olympic SWAT, a five-man SWAT team assigned to Olympic Precinct, headquartered in the precinct's basement. Issued equipment ranging from weapons like the M16 rifle, Winchester Model 70, and Federal Riot Gun, to crucial tools like grappling hooks, tear gas, and bulletproof vests, SWAT is trained and equipped to resolve situations regular police units cannot, such as standoffs, crisis negotiation, hostage-takings, robberies, active shooters, assassinations, bomb threats, organized crime, and terrorism.

Heading Olympic SWAT is Lieutenant Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson, the squad leader and the series' protagonist, assisted by Sergeant David "Deacon" Kay, the team's chaplain and sole African-American officer. Under Harrelson and Kay's command are Jim Street, a former patrol officer who joins SWAT after his partner is killed by an anti-police gang; Dominic Luca, a single-but-seeking Italian-American who joins SWAT from the Narcotics Division and often serves as comic relief; and Travis Joseph "T.J." McCabe, the team's sniper who is selected for SWAT for his natural marksmanship skills. Their SWAT vehicle and mobile command center, an early-1970s International Harvester Metro Van fitted with an armory and police radio, is driven by "Sam", an unseen, mostly silent character played by an uncredited actor.

The personal lives of the SWAT officers, particularly Harrelson, were focal points of numerous episodes; Harrelson's wife Betty and their two young sons often appeared as major characters and plot points. Police officials and friends of the team were also recurring characters, such as Chief Edward Roman, the WCPD's chief of police, and Hilda, a sandwich vendor known for selling cheap sandwiches made of leftovers to Olympic Precinct.


Steve Forrest as Hondo Harrelson.

Notable guest stars[edit]


Season Episodes First aired Last aired
1 12 February 24, 1975 (1975-02-24) May 26, 1975 (1975-05-26)
2 25 September 13, 1975 (1975-09-13) April 3, 1976 (1976-04-03)

Broadcast and syndication[edit]

On October 1, 2011, S.W.A.T. began airing on Antenna TV for a period of time[2] and in Australia on 7mate in 2012. In May 2016, it began airing on getTV. In December 2021, it aired on Rewind TV.

The series occasionally airs in weekend binges on the OTA network Decades. [citation needed]

Episodes also airing on the Roku Channel for an undetermined length of time. Currently the show airs on MeTv+ weekdays at 11:00am PST.

Home media[edit]


The first season of S.W.A.T. was released on DVD on June 3, 2003[3] to tie-in with the release of the feature film. Season Two's episode "Time Bomb" was actually produced for Season One and, as such, "Time Bomb" is Episode 8 on the Season One DVD set. The Season One DVD set has a total of 13 episodes.

On February 10, 2012, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series; they subsequently released the second and final season on DVD on May 22, 2012.[4]

On January 16, 2018, Mill Creek Entertainment released S.W.A.T.: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[5]


As of March 2009, the show can be purchased on iTunes.


The violent television series premiered at a time when violence on television began to become a subject of controversy, and the actual LAPD Metropolitan Division on which the fictional SWAT team had been modeled was harshly critical of its depiction of such teams.[6]


Film adaptation[edit]

A film version of the series, S.W.A.T., was released in 2003 starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson.[1] Steve Forrest has a cameo role as a police truck driver[1] and Rod Perry (the original TV series' "Deacon" Kay) plays the father of LL Cool J's character Deacon "Deke" Kaye.[1]

In 2011 and 2017, two direct-to-DVD sequels titled S.W.A.T.: Firefight and S.W.A.T.: Under Siege were released; they bore little connection to the TV series, the 2003 film, or to each other.

Television series remake[edit]

On May 12, 2017, a new version of S.W.A.T. starring Shemar Moore as Hondo was ordered to series by CBS.[7][8] The new series premiered on November 2, 2017.[9] This remake series was far more successful with a seven season run and 120 episodes.


  1. ^ a b c d Mitchell, Elvis (August 8, 2003). "S W A T (2003) FILM REVIEW; Working Up a S.W.E.A.T." The New York Times.
  2. ^ S.W.A.T. on Antenna TV
  3. ^ "S.W.A.T. DVD news: Announcement for the 1st Season of S.W.A.T. - TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012.
  4. ^ "S.W.A.T. DVD news: Announcement for S.W.A.T. - The Final Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012.
  5. ^ "S.W.A.T. DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "S.W.A.T. - 10 Things You Might Not Know about the 1970s Show". www.get.tv. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  7. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 28, 2017). "'Criminal Minds' Alum Shemar Moore to Star in 'S.W.A.T.' Reboot at CBS". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Ausiello, Michael (May 12, 2017). "CBS Orders Boreanaz' SEAL Team, Moore's S.W.A.T., Cumming's Instinct, Piven's Wisdom, Plus 2 Comedies". TVLine. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  9. ^ CBS (May 17, 2017). "CBS Announces New 2017–2018 Fall Schedule" (Press release). Retrieved November 8, 2017 – via The Futon Critic.

External links[edit]