Lina Esco Leaves ‘SWAT’ After 5 Seasons as Chris – Read Statement

Original SWAT cast member Lina Esco is leaving the CBS drama after five seasons, in what she says is “one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.”

Esco’s exit storyline took shape a few weeks ago when cop Christine “Chris” Alonso told co-worker and best friend Jim Street that she’d decided to leave SWAT to take over from Mama Pina, the woman who runs a local safe house for immigrant women on the run. bad situations and is now hospitalized.

“I love Mama Pina’s storyline,” Esco told TVLine in March. “It resonates with Chris because this is a woman who offers a safe home to women who have no hope in other countries and who are fleeing for a better life. Chris has invested a lot in volunteering and being a part of it.”

And on Sunday night’s season finale, Chris — after spending the night with Street for the first time — was working her last day on SWAT, giving Deacon, Luca et al meaningful gifts.

In a statement, Esco — who made her this spring SWAT directorial debut — said, “Bringing to life a strong, smart, bisexual character like Chris Alonso was both a joy and a powerful opportunity to raise visibility for diverse women around the world. Five years later, I’m leaving SWAT to pursue new creative endeavors. Chris is never afraid of the unknown and as an actor and director I am excited to step out of my comfort zone and start a new chapter as well.

“That said, this is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” she said. “I am forever grateful” SWAT family – my fellow cast, writers and producers – for an incredible journey. to the great SWAT fans, you are the heart of the show. I can’t thank you enough for your support and for walking alongside me throughout Chris’s journey!”

The SWAT showrunners, in turn, issued a statement saying, “For five seasons and 106 episodes, we’ve had the pleasure of watching Lina Esco bring Chris Alonso to life on SWAT When Lina came to us a year ago to express her desire to eventually pursue other endeavors, we all worked hard to give Chris a proper, season-long farewell, knowing what an important, iconic character she is to our audience. has been. Lina rewarded us this season with exciting performances and a great job directing an episode.

“What Lina brought to the show and what Chris represented to our audience is hard to replace. We will miss Chris, but most of all we will miss Lina as we wish her the best of luck in whatever she does next.”

SWAT was renewed for a sixth season in early April, and will return this fall to its prime Friday night spot, where it will be followed by the new drama Fireland and then reliable Blue blood

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