The S.W.A.T. Season 3 premiere left us with a lot to dwell on. "Fire in the Sky" marked the arrival of two new characters: the rock-solid, well-spoken Lieutenant Piper Lynch (Amy Farrington) and Hondo's (Shemar Moore) estranged father (Obba Babatundé) who managed to stir up a good bit of trouble right upon arrival.
Although there was no shortage of fast-paced, action-packed storylines, this didn't satisfy some fans. Why? We were too busy asking: did Cortez leave S.W.A.T. for good?
Did Cortez leave S.W.A.T.?
Jessica Cortez (Stephanie Sigman) was first rumoured to take a brief break from the hectic and unpredictable everyday of the Los Angeles Police Department during the season 2 finale, "Kangaroo." At the time, it was indicated that she would go on a few-day long training course organised by the FBI. This left die-hard fans of the show to hold onto the last, faintest ray of hope, thinking that the character will make her due return.
Alas, we have bad news for the Cortez-heads out there: As a recent Instagram story posted by Stephanie makes clear, her character was offered a rare, long term opportunity at the FBI. In other words, Cortez will vanish from the show. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.
What will happen next to Stephanie Sigman?
On a slightly more positive note, the reasons behind Stephanie's departure could not be more heart-warming. The actress announced that she and husband Brian Andrew Mendoza were expecting their first baby back in June 2019. The departure was inevitable, as Stephanie needed to take time off and be with her family for a while.
Playing Cortez was a big personal and professional achievement, Stephanie explained in a recently published Instagram post. "Thankful and proud of the strength of this character gifted me throughout the intense learning experience it was playing Captain Cortez," she wrote, before wishing the best for creators of the show and her endlessly supportive fans.
The Mexican-American actress had her first breakthrough with a role in the 2013 television show, The Bridge, after which she went on to feature in cult-classics like the 2016 American Crime, the 2015 Narcos and the 2017 Once Upon a Time in Venice. Cortez was one of the most popular characters she played so far, but we're certain that it can only be an uphill curve from here onward.
What can we expect from S.W.A.T. Season 3?
A lot of action, a good bit of drama, and a handsome number of explosions. The arrival of Lieutenant Piper Lynch and Hondo's father is bound to cause some heightened tensions and a great deal of conflict down the line. What's going to happen next? There's only one way to find out.
S.W.A.T. airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.