‘SEAL Team’s AJ Buckley on Sonny & Davis, Team Tension & More

Theory and Methodology
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Sonny (AJ Buckley) and Davis (Toni Trucks) are putting everything at risk to be together on SEAL Team — especially now that Ray (Neil Brown Jr.) has caught on.

And what’s coming up next for the couple is just one relationship that will be explored in Wednesday’s episode, “The Strength of the Wolf,” as the team trains for a mission. Like with every mission, it’s particularly important for Bravo to be at the top of its game because “there’s always that element of danger,” Buckley told TV Insider. “The one thing the writers and our tech advisers, who are SEALs, try to do is keep it based in reality. Although they’re doing super things, they don’t have super powers.”

Because of that, the advisors explain how they would approach a situation as they film each episode. “They’re like, ‘The only difference is there are real bullets being fired at you,'” Buckley said.

Here, Buckley previews what’s coming up between Sonny and Davis, a crack in the team’s communication, and more in Season 3.

What’s coming up for Sonny and Davis? Ray knows about them, which could mean trouble, even though Sonny really tries to deny it.

AJ Buckley: It gets interesting [in Wednesday’s episode]. The hard part with this relationship is there’s a definite love they have for each other. They’re put into a situation where, what are they risking at the end of the day? Is the love they have worth putting everything on the line?

Will they ever be able to get away and spend time together or will work keep interrupting like in the last episode?

With their type of job, they have to get very creative, but it creates a lot more tension and things happen that necessarily shouldn’t that puts them at risk, both with the job and in their personal lives.

(Bill Inoshita/CBS)

How’s the team dynamic this season? Any conflicts coming up between team members like between Jason and Ray last season?

Yeah, in this episode in particular, as any team that’s having some growing pains, they’ve been on several missions and they’re just tired and their bodies are beat up. There’s definitely a crack amongst the communication, so it’s creating a lot of tension.

With these characters in particular and in real world situations, one thing that would cause a lot of tension and trouble with these characters in real life is if their communication breaks down because they have to be so on point and have such clear communication at all times, on and off the battle, that there can’t be a margin of error in the communication. They really explore that with this episode, and the team has to dig deep to pull together.

There’s a new candidate joining the team. What can you say about the newbie and how everyone responds to the addition?

He’s in for it. He takes the brunt of all of Sonny’s jokes for a very long time.

Any other new characters coming up? Will we meet anyone in Sonny’s life outside the team?

Yes, there is, about halfway through the season, you’ll meet someone along the way that makes things very complicated and very interesting.

(Aleksandar Letic/CBS)

How’s Jason’s mental state this season? We see his daughter worried about him, but will we see the rest of the team be concerned?

Yeah. In part, he’s such a great leader that in a sense, you want to deny if there’s any sort of flaw in your team captain, but certain things come to a head and we can’t look past it anymore.

How would you say Sonny has changed the most since we first met him and now in Season 3?

His beard is thicker. [Laughs] He’s evolving where he has for the first time entertained the thought of being in a relationship outside of the team. For him, the team’s his brotherhood he’s always put first, and he’s never allowed himself to be vulnerable to anyone. This is a new side of him that as much as he’s fighting it, he can’t deny how he feels. He’s gotta face it.

Should we worry about Sonny or any of the others getting into an extreme situation like him being stuck in the torpedo tube last season?

Yeah, there’s a couple hairy situations in the episode we’re shooting now. Tyler Grey, an actual Ranger veteran [who plays Trent Sawyer], is shooting an episode right now and something happens to someone.

Can you talk a bit about filming that episode last season?

That was a really special episode. Mark Semos, who is a Navy SEAL, wrote that episode. I remember when he had the idea and came up to me, “Hey, I got this idea, based on your character, and it’s going to have a lot of layers and really push you emotionally.” Then when I read it, I remember calling him, “Thank you so much.”

It was such a unique take on an episode where that was the only episode we ever shot when there wasn’t one bullet fired. It was completely based on character and really explored the brotherhood these guys have.


It was tough to film, for sure, because I was in that tube and I requested the water be ice cold, which was a dumb thing to suggest looking back because of how sick I got after. I didn’t want it to be comfortable at any point. I felt it really added to being isolated and how horrible that would be to be actually looking at death in the face as the tube fills up.

I had one real freak-out moment that they ended up using. I got stuck and I freaked out, “Get me out!”

Is there a Sonny-centric episode or something you’re particularly excited to explore with Sonny this season?

Starting around Episode 16 or so, there’s some stuff with Sonny going back to Texas and meeting people from his past.

SEAL Team, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS