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The Drama Behind The Action

S.W.A.T. is a character-driven action-adventure built around a story of redemption, about men and women whose mission is to defuse the most volatile situations faced by policemen in the line of duty.

S.W.A.T. is also a study in personality contrasts and how they shape an individual's destiny. Two devoted S.W.A.T. officers, Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and his partner, Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner), are reprimanded and demoted after making a controversial call during a bank robbery and hostage crisis. Gamble quits the L.A.P.D. in disgust rather than submit to punishment, while Street decides to stay on, laying low, hoping for another shot someday.

Their respective decisions will alter the course of their lives.

For Street, the demotion becomes a path to salvation when he meets Sergeant "Hondo" Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson), who has returned to S.W.A.T. from another division with a mandate to create a new team. Like Street, his motive is to redeem his past. His longtime nemesis, Capt. Thomas Fuller (Larry Poindexter), is doing everything in his power to ensure that Hondo fails. As with Street, Hondo refuses to let detractors get in his way. He doggedly moves forward, putting together the best team the L.A.P.D. has to offer.

"Like Street and Gamble, Hondo and Fuller were partners at the beginning of their careers," says S.W.A.T. producer Neal Moritz. "They were both good cops but Fuller was much better at climbing the political ladder. Hondo, though, was just the kind of officer you want on the street protecting you."

Hondo begins his selection process by choosing two established S.W.A.T. officers, Michael Boxer (Brian Van Holt) and T.J. McCabe (Josh Charles). Also on Hondo's short list is an outstanding beat cop with an impressive arrest record, Deacon "Deke" Kaye (James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J).

When he selects the disgraced Street as part of the new elite team, Hondo makes a choice that tells us volumes about his character. "Hondo decides on Street," says Farrell, "because he can see how hungry he is for a second chance. They're alike in that way. Hondo was pushed out of S.W.A.T. by Fuller, so he's essentially saying to Street 'I'm getting a break, so I'm giving you one too.'"

Another reason Hondo chooses Street, according to Moritz, "is that he senses that Jim has good instincts. I think he sees in Street what people had seen in him when he first started out," he says. "There is also a mutual respect they have for one another based on their pasts in the military."

Hondo's fifth and final candidate is Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez). She is the first woman to ever be chosen for S.W.A.T. in L.A. "In part, Hondo does it to piss off the captain," laughs Rodriguez. "He recruits this kick-ass chick who has tried out for S.W.A.T. three times but has been passed over just because she's a woman."

Sanchez also happens to be a first-class policewoman bringing a unique dynamic to the new team. "She's a tough, no-nonsense team player," Rodriguez adds, "and Hondo senses her potential."

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