Lina Esco Exits ‘S.W.A.T.’ After 5 Seasons

Lina Escao as Chris Alonso in SWAT
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Officer Christina “Chris” Alonso is handing in her badge as original S.W.A.T. cast member Lina Esco confirms her exit from the CBS procedural drama.

Esco, who played Alonso for five seasons, said that leaving the show was “one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make.” Her character was originally one of the two female cops assigned to S.W.A.T., where she served as the Squad’s sniper. Alonso is openly bisexual and, in the second season, enters a polyamorous relationship, though she later breaks it off.

“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,” Esco wrote in a statement on social media. “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.”

She continued: “That said, this is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. 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!”

 

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In the current season, Esco’s character decided to leave S.W.A.T. to take over the duty for Mama Pina, the woman who runs a local safe house that helps and houses illegal immigrant girls seeking asylum in the U.S.

S.W.A.T. showrunners Shawn Ryan and Andy Dettmann issued their own statement, saying, “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. 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.”

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The pair's latest conversation about their feelings came after she made a major decision about her career.

The statement continued: “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.”

S.W.A.T., Sundays, 10/9c, CBS