Already have an account?
Get back to the

Shemar Moore Talks ‘S.W.A.T.,’ ‘The Young and the Restless’ & Daughter Frankie (EXCLUSIVE)

With ‘S.W.A.T.’ returning tonight, Shemar Moore reflects on his career and what comes next

After taking a break in March, S.W.A.T., starring Shemar Moore, returns for its final run of episodes tonight, April 5. With fans of the high-action CBS procedural clamoring to know whether Luca will survive being shot and how it all ends for Sergeant Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson and his 20 squad, FIRST for Women sat down to talk to S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore – who isn’t counting out another last-minute save for the series.

The actor, who got his start on The Young and the Restless and spent over a decade on Criminal Minds, talks about taking the lead, fighting for S.W.A.T. and what comes next. Plus, having won a string of NAACP Image Awards and a Daytime Emmy for his run as Malcolm Winters, would Moore ever return to CBS daytime?

MUST-READ: ‘Criminal Minds’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With The Agents of the B.A.U.

Shemar Moore is fighting for S.W.A.T.

The actor in S.W.A.T.
Shemar Moore in S.W.A.T.Pepe Molina/Sony Pictures Television/CBS

When CBS and Sony cancelled S.W.A.T. last season, Shemar Moore took to social media and led the charge to save the high-octane drama – and it worked! In less than 72 hours, S.W.A.T. was picked back up for a final, 13-episode season 7. The CBS procedural also skyrocketed up the Netflix charts, taking the top slot, and this year, new episodes of S.W.A.T. are performing well on network TV.

“We’re all approaching this season like, ‘If this is the end, let’s embrace it, and let’s give them all we got,’” Moore says. “The show deserves to have a proper send-off. But I’m just saying, maybe it is the end…and maybe not.”

The S.W.A.T. reboot premiered in 2017, with Moore’s character at the center of it all as Hondo – a Black man trying to change the Los Angeles Police Department from within. Like many procedurals, the show’s crimes of the week and interpersonal side stories tackle socially relevant and topical issues ripped from the headlines.

While Moore is proud of that, he says it’s the family-friendly action that set S.W.A.T. apart from the rest.

“The biggest compliment I get is when people say this is the show they, as a family, sit down to watch together,” he says. “I don’t care how old you are, what color you are, where you’re from – everybody likes watching superhero cops chase down bad guys. And normally to see this kind of action, you gotta go see Diehard or Fast and Furious, but we’re doing it!”

S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore talks fatherhood

Rochelle Aytes and Shemar Moore, S.W.A.T.
Rochelle Aytes and Shemar Moore, S.W.A.T.Bill Inoshita/Sony Pictures Television/CBS

Amid all the action, Hondo is still grappling with his place in the LAPD, but he has grown from a bachelor with commitment issue to a married father who’s made peace with his own parents – and the same might be said for Moore, who at 53 years old, has become a family man with a 14-month-old baby girl of his own!

“Art imitates life,” Moore chuckles. “Hondo has a daughter, a wife and a tumultuous but loving relationship with Mom and Dad – which is very similar to my own life. I bring a lot of my sensibilities and life experience to the stories and to the way I portray badass Hondo with fairness and integrity. Because Hondo don’t take no mess!”

Shemar Moore and Jesiree Dizon with daughter Frankie Meleine, 13 months
Shemar Moore and Jesiree Dizon with daughter Frankie Meleine, 13 months@jesiree/Instagram

Of course, being Dad to Frankie does come with SOME mess, but it’s a mess Moore is loving.

“Losing my mother was very hard on me,” shares Moore, whose mother Marilyn passed in 2020. “She was my best friend, my mentor, my partner in crime. But she blessed me and didn’t let me stay alone too long. Her spirit was a large part of me reconnecting with my girl, Jesiree, and having this beautiful angel, Frankie.”

“Now I need to be the best version of myself for Frankie,” he adds. “I want to show her that Daddy’s kind of cool, but he’s doing all this to protect her. I’m gonna love her with everything I got and just like my mother, I’m going to say, ‘Jump and the net will appear. If you want it bad enough, go get it.’”

The actor talks taking the lead on S.W.A.T.

Shemar Moore, S.W.A.TBill Inoshita/©Sony Pictures Television/CBS

Moore credits his mother and the perseverance instilled in him for his success, professionally, as well. Having been a team player on Criminal Minds and The Young and the Restless, however, the leading man can’t help but see S.W.A.T. as an ensemble of sorts.

MUST-READ: ‘The Young & the Restless’ Star Hayley Erin Talks Rejoining the Newmans & Being Mom to Twins

“For me to be the lead of a show is a testament to being hungry by any means necessary, but I’m humble enough to know it’s not all about me,” he explains. “I’m not just trying to be PC. It takes the writers, the producers, the cast, the crew. We really are secondary family for each other, and we all play our positions.”

That said, Moore has been thrilled to step into the lead as Hondo.

“When I saw those billboards, posters and buses with my face on it riding around LA and in Times Square in New York City, I was just pinching myself,” he recalls. “I had no idea that this would be my life – even when I got on The Young and The Restless.

MUST-READ: ‘The Young and the Restless’ Star Trevor St. John Talks New Movie and Playing Tucker

S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore remembers his early years on The Young and the Restless

The young actor on daytime
Shemar Moore Monty Brinton/CBS

It’s been 30 years since Moore broke into the business as Malcolm on The Young and The Restless, and he can still remember the day his life changed.

The Young and The Restless, the place where I was born in Hollywood,” he cries when asked about his start. “Even though payphones don’t exist anymore, every time I drive near the CBS studio in LA, I remember that payphone on Fairfax Boulevard – where I called my future first agent and was told that I got the part of Malcolm Winters.”

Moore admits, however, he still had a lot to learn when he landed the role.

MUST-READ: ‘The Young and The Restless’ Star Colleen Zenk Talks Villainous Jordan & Her Newman Vendetta (EXCLUSIVE)

“Those first couple of years, I was so scared somebody was gonna tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘Ha, joke’s over! You gotta go,’” he says. “I was told I had good instincts, but I was green. I was nervous. I was young. I was also hungry, so I was like, ‘Okay, I gotta get to work.’”

The former model hired an acting coach, took classes and spent time laboring over his scripts at the local Starbucks – and while that tap on the shoulder never came, a Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy and numerous NAACP Awards did!  

The actor reveals whether he’d return to The Young & the Restless

Moore last brought Malcolm back to Genoa City as part of The Young and the Restless’ 50th anniversary in scenes honoring his late onscreen brother, Kristoff St. John, and his character Neil last year.

“I definitely did it for my dear brother, may he rest in peace,” says Moore. “Kristoff was such a supporter of mine. When I was scared or nervous, he just put his hand on my back, sat with me, instilled confidence in me, and told me to keep practicing, keep trying. He rooted for me to grow, and when I left Young and The Restless, he told me I could make it.”

Kristoff St. John and Shemar Moore, 2014
Kristoff St. John and Shemar Moore, 2014Sonja Flemming/CBS©2014

St. John was right. While Moore’s popped in and out of Genoa City since leaving in 2002, he’s also built quite the resume.

“In 30 years, the longest I’ve gone unemployed is four months — at whatever level, I stayed in the game, hustling,” says the former Soul Train host, adding that no amount of success can keep him away from Genoa City.

“If The Young and the Restless called me today, I would go,” Moore says. “If Criminal Minds asked me to come back, I’d go. Because you never forget where you came from. It sounds cliche and maybe cheesy, but it’s also true.”

Would Shemar Moore join CBS’ upcoming black soap, The Gates?

Shemar Moore as Sergeant Daniel 'Hondo' Harrelson, Brigitte Kali Canales as Alexis Cabrera, David Lim as Victor Tan, Jay Harrington as David 'Deacon' Kay, and Alex Russell as Jim Street
Shemar Moore as Sergeant Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson, Brigitte Kali Canales as Alexis Cabrera, David Lim as Victor Tan, Jay Harrington as David ‘Deacon’ Kay, and Alex Russell as Jim StreetCBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc

While Shemar Moore is always game to come home to The Young and the Restless, we haven’t heard any news about the cast of CBS’ upcoming Black soap opera, The Gates. That said, we don’t get the impression Moore would be interested in sticking around daytime for the long haul again.

“I’m being busy with S.W.A.T., right now,” he says. “Now…when I’m unemployed, you might get me on Young and the Restless a little longer. But will I go back for a contract? No, probably not. Because if this is indeed the end of S.W.A.T., I want to continue to grow and evolve. There’s a lot in me that people don’t know that I’m capable of. I know it’s in me, but I got to dig deep to bring it out.”

As for whether or not this is REALLY the end of S.W.A.T., Moore is not giving up.

“If this is our swan song, rock with us,” Moore tells FIRST, “but I’m gonna try to make CBS and Sony rethink that by the time we get to number 13.”

In the meantime, S.W.A.T. is winding down. The 20-squad has already said goodbye to Alex Russell‘s Street and Jay Harrington’s Deacon has started talking retirement. When S.W.A.T. returns to CBS tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, we should learn whether Kenny Johnson’s Luca survived being shot – and the manhunt for the robbery crew behind the shooting will get personal for Hondo and his team. With the S.W.A.T. series finale set to air in May, Shemar Moore and fans are holding out hope for a S.W.A.T. season 8. 

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.