S.W.A.T. Shocker: Original Star Lina Esco Departs After Five Seasons

S.W.A.T. fans were left in shock while watching Sunday’s season finale.

On S.W.A.T. Season 5 Episode 22, Officer Christine “Chris” Alonso (Lina Esco) shocked her BFF Jim by announcing she was leaving the team to take over for Mama Pina.

Esco took to social media with a statement to confirm her exit from the hit CBS drama.

“Bringing to life a strong, smart, bisexual character like Chris Alonso has been both a pleasure and a powerful opportunity to increase visibility for diverse women everywhere,” the statement reads. 

“Five years later, I am leaving S.W.A.T. to pursue new creative endeavors. Chris never backs down from the unknown and as an actor and director, I’m excited to step out of my comfort zone and embark on a new chapter, too.”

“That said, this is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make,” she shared.

Last Mission - Tall - S.W.A.T. Season 5 Episode 22

“I’m forever grateful to my S.W.A.T. family – my fellow cast, writers, and producers – for an incredible journey. To the amazing S.W.A.T. fans, you are the heart of the show.”

“I can’t thank you enough for your support and for walking beside me through all of Chris’ journey!”

S.W.A.T. showrunners Shawn Ryan and Andy Dettmann shared a statement reacting to Esco’s decision to depart.

“For five seasons and 106 episodes, we’ve had the pleasure to watch Lina Esco bring Chris Alonso to life on S.W.A.T,” the statement shared on the S.W.A.T. writers account reads. 

Conversation Time - Tall - S.W.A.T. Season 5 Episode 20

“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 sendoff, knowing what an important, iconic character she’s been to our audience.”

“Lina rewarded us this season with thrilling performances as well as a terrific job directing an episode,” the statement continues.

“What Lina brought to the show, and what Chris represented to our audience, are hard to replace.”

“We’ll miss Chris, but we’ll especially miss Lina, as we wish her the best of luck with everything she chooses to do next.”

A Hint of Worry - Tall - S.W.A.T. Season 5 Episode 20

S.W.A.T. landed a sixth season renewal last month after a season of solid ratings.

In the fall, it will move back to Fridays, where it resonated very well earlier this season.

The show will understandably be different with the big exit, but the good news is that Chris was written out without being killed off.

Far too often, shows throw in a shock death to really switch things up.

Concerned Teammates - Tall - S.W.A.T. Season 5 Episode 19

The exit storyline was handled very well, so we’ll need to watch the show in the fall to see how the team functions.

What are your thoughts on the departure?

Are you happy with how it was handled?

Hit the comments.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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