‘SEAL Team’ Honors 9/11 With Bravo’s Origin Story

Toni Trucks, AJ Buckley, Neil Brown Jr., David Boreanaz, Max Thieriot in SEAL Team
Michael Greenberg/CBS

We were all more innocent before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And the members of Bravo Team are no exception. The gritty military drama honors the 20th anniversary in this week’s powerful episode, set mostly the day before, September 10, 2001. Younger actors were cast to play pre-battle-weary incarnations of the heroes we’ve followed for five seasons.

“It’s an origin story,” explains SEAL Team executive producer Spencer Hudnut. “In the final act, we get to that horrible morning and see how that day impacted their lives and their future decisions that led them to Bravo.”

In the present day, the unit goes to New York City’s 9/11 Memorial & Museum for the anniversary (above, from left: Toni Trucks, AJ Buckley, Neil Brown Jr., David Boreanaz and Max Thieriot). Leader Jason Hayes (Boreanaz) is contributing an item to the collection—a plot point inspired by executive producer and former SEAL Mark Owen’s donation from the Abbottabad raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Today’s Jason is in stark contrast to his 24-year-old self (Travis James), a wide-eyed SEAL living in San Diego whose wife and baby are his priority. By the time SEAL Team started, “that marriage was on the rocks,” says Hudnut. “[Now] you see what Jason had to sacrifice because of his job.”

We meet Thieriot’s Clay Spenser at 12 (Pierce Pope), wise beyond his years. He’s visiting Virginia Beach to reconnect with his harsh dad (C. Thomas Howell), who’s retiring as a SEAL. In Detroit, Trucks’ Lisa Davis is a high schooler (Cheyenne Haynes) already showing signs of being “fierce, ambitious and loyal.”

Brown’s Ray Perry (Jaden Betts in flashback) is “getting into all sorts of trouble” after losing his shot at a college wrestling scholarship due to an injury. He lives with his parents in Queens, placing him closest to Ground Zero. Sonny Quinn (Robert Olsen, in the Buckley role), just out of high school in Texas, is also aimless.

“Out of tragedy, Sonny finds his calling,” says Hudnut, who confirms one team member does lose someone on 9/11. “[This episode is] about remembering all the people we lost.”

Seal Team, Sunday, Oct. 24, 10/9c, CBS