Are The Explosions On CBS’ S.W.A.T. Real? Here’s What The Stunts Team Says

 Team with guns drawn on S.W.A.T. Season 5 Finale
Team with guns drawn on S.W.A.T. Season 5 Finale

With the WGA writers’ strike and SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike currently in effect, fans of S.W.A.T. are going to have to wait a bit longer for it to return for its final season. However, fans are probably just happy it's returning at all, considering the CBS procedural was infamously canceled then uncanceled within a matter of days back in May. With that, 20-Squad's stories will be finished, and one would think that the producers want the show to go out in an explosive way. Speaking of explosions, the stunt team has provided some keen details regarding just how real those massive in-show moments are.

S.W.A.T. has been nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination, and for good reason. The series has done some pretty insane stuff, from semi-truck chases to plane sequences. The action even expanded abroad to Thailand, where cool scenes were filmed. But when it comes to the explosions viewers occasionally see, are they actually real? Well, as stunt coordinator Austen Brewer tells IndieWire, some of them are indeed done practically:

We really strive to do everything as real as possible. There are cases where we have to lean on our VFX guys because a location won’t allow it, but if we can stage an explosion and not use CGI and it can be safely done, we will do that.

On a show like S.W.A.T., in which situations are heightened and incredibly intense, it's natural that there'd be a few explosions every once in a while. Most recently, there was even one in the Season 6 finale, as it occurred when squad members Dominique Luca and Jim Street were ambushed. I appreciate the fact that the creative team does indeed try to craft real explosions whenever it's feasible. Of course, with any show that has stunts, no matter how big or small, you also have to take safety precautions into account. And it's good to hear that when it comes to this procedural, the team places emphasis on that.

Regardless of whether how its massive moments are crafted, the procedural has done a pretty good job of striving for authenticity, both emotionally and physically, when it comes to the lives of those in law enforcement. An example of that would be how the team was able to recreate the LA riots for Season 4. It’s definitely easy to see why the stunt experts are Emmy-nominated. Co-stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert added on to his colleague’s statement by saying:

We’re not doing action just for action’s sake. We’re trying to keep the audience from pretending like they’re watching a video game by keeping it authentic and not over the top. These characters have skill sets, but they’re within the realm of what human beings can actually do.

In addition to the stunts, there's unsurprisingly a lot of training that has to take place, which helps ensure that performers are well equipped to perform action sequences. Since there's just one season left, I'm confident the stunt team will go above and beyond to thrill audiences once production can commence. Here's hoping that 20-squad finds itself contending with some high-stakes situations -- that hopefully include a solid explosion or two.

It's going to be a while before S.W.A.T. returns, as it will not be part of the 2023 TV schedule for the remainder of the year. However, fans can watch the show’s best stunts throughout its first five seasons, which are streamable with a Netflix subscription. Season 6 will also be available on the streamer starting in September.