Exclusive: Seal Team boss Spencer Hudnut breaks down devastating season six premiere
Seal Team's season six premiere launched on Paramount+ on 18 September and fans were thrown straight back into the action of the season five finale.
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Bravo team had been sent back to Mali but were ambushed, with one car hitting an IED and QRF support too far away to be of help. As the premiere opened, the sounds of gunfire rang out and we saw a heavily injured team leader Jason Hayes (David Boreanaz) forced to leave his team to help take out the enemy tangoes.
WATCH: Seal Team season six trailer
As Bravo bravely attempted to keep themselves alive, Clay Spenser was left out of action with a horrific broken leg with a compound fracture.
The team eventually received air support and the rest of the premiere saw Bravo at the army hospital Ramstein in Germany, while it was left to Lieutenant Lisa Davis back on home soil to break the news to Clay's wife Stella.
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By the end of the episode, we saw Sonny had stayed in Germany with his best friend, while the rest of the team returned to the US to be with Stella. But in the final moments, word got back to Bravo via Sonny of the devastating news that Clay had gone into septic shock and the doctors had been forced to amputate the bottom half of his leg.
Showrunner Spenser Hudnut talks to HELLO! about how this will affect the rest of season six and the Bravo team....
Season six picks up where season five ended
Season six is an immediate pickup from the events we saw at the end of season five, from a storytelling point of view, why did you do that?
There were some question marks with which actors we would have and how we could pick things up, and if things had shaken out differently we may have jumped ahead. But at the end of the day, the way that season five finale was shot, the battle was so intense and to see our guys losing in a firefight for the first time and cutting back to their families, it felt like we owed the audience to go back there.
Then, because of what happened to Clay, it felt like we had to really tell his story and show these guys getting out of this crazy situation.
Clay will be forced to confront his injury
Max Theriot who stars as Clay has a new show Fire Country premiering, and that played into some of the events we see happen to Clay in this episode. How has that affected the storytelling on season six?
When I started breaking the season earlier in 2022 Max's situation was up in the air and it's not the way I recommend breaking the season! We really didn't know until a week before shooting the premiere what would happen with Fire Country, and the writing staff had probably written half the season.
I always had wanted to tell stories about someone getting injured in the way we see Clay injured, and in not knowing Max's future or how long we would have him, that did flow into the decision. But Clay, since the end of season five, had said that he wants to move to Green Team and that choice has now been made for him. He has lost control and there is no going back to Bravo in the short term. That loss of identity and losing teammates, being ripped away, is what we will explore with Clay; how you deal with that trauma and how it impacts every corner of your life.
Clay is someone who is so used to overcoming every obstacle and for the first time, we will see him struggle. It's powerful and because of our short order of 10 episodes, we have been able to include him into the season before Max went off to Vancouver.
'We will explore with Clay how you deal with that trauma'
The premiere is also delving straight into Jason's battle with the possibility of a TBI, how will this play out throughout season six? What are you and David Boreanaz doing to make sure it's portrayed sensitivity?
Getting it right is hugely important, and this is why I have two former SEALS on my staff and we talk to experts. Going back to season two with Brett Swann, when he took his own life, it has been important to shine a spotlight on an area where we are falling short for our men and women in uniform.
David also talks to vets that work on the show, and unfortunately some of them have dealt with these real life problems that Jason is working through.
But for Jason, he had made such progress with asking for his teammates help and realizing he can take this head injury on and try and manage it, but also fighting for a relationship with Mandy. We got him to a place where we had never seen him, having a balance, but the threat this year is the traumatic events of the first episode and will he be able to maintain the balance, and will he let people in?
We have seen him wall himself off so will he let the people who care about him help?
Jason and Mandy will continue to explore their relationship
How do you know where to balance the action with the personal in a show like this?
I don't know if I do! I feel like people are telling me there is not enough action or not enough personal story, but people keep watching.
I think the more you're invested with what happens at their home it makes the stakes more higher when they are on the battlefield.
Will Cerberus warm up to Mandy?
It is a big question! Mandy is a former spy and knows how to work assets, I think she has the tools in her toolkit to win him over. But Cerberus has had Jason to himself and he very much feels that threat.
How about Sonny and Lisa, where will their relationship develop in season six?
I think that scene at the end of season five hinted that they both have never lost sight of a relationship. But the challenges of working in command together are a real issue that puts their career in jeopardy so I think they will continue to support each other.
They clearly care about each other; I think they are star-crossed lovers, there would need to be a real change in one of their lives to be together.
Sonny can be 'reactive'
Will Clay's injury be a changing point for Sonny?
Sonny, like Jason, has evolved and has worked on himself, and having a daughter forced him to grow up. But Sonny, like we saw in Colombia, can be reactive and there is a question looming of, 'will Clay's injury drive Sonny to bad behavior?'
Or will he continue to grow up and help his brother? That is one question we will answer in season six.
Season six will feature the show's 100th episode, is there anything special planned?
We had a cake on set! But because these episodes are a continuation of the last season, and we have a short order, we didn't approach it from the point of view of 'let's do something fun that feels like a 100th episode'.
And when you work with David who has worked on multiple shows with over 200 episodes, it's not as impressive.
So, how many wives does Blackburn have?
I will say the writers room has a whole block of fanfiction about Blackburn and his wives.
I'd love to do some webisodes on Blackburn. But that was just a line in the script that amused me, and I don't think we will answer that question this season.
Any plans to bring characters like Brock to the foreground and give them backstories?
We would love to continue to dig deeper with those guys, and Tyler and Justin have done a great job and are so comfortable on camera, and have brought them to life. But we only have 48 minutes and there is a lot going on.
Any update on the movie?
Now my focus is on season six. I just got back from Jordan - which was so amazing. We have shot parts of the last four episodes there. We made the move to Paramount+ and the fans came with us; they have always fought so hard for us and kept us on the air, and we want to keep raising the bar for them and that's where my focus is.
Seal Team is available on Paramount+