Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 5 of S.W.A.T.
While many rebooted series often prove to be disappointing in comparison to their predecessors, S.W.A.T. is an exception. The CBS drama was reprised in 2017 — more than 40 years after its original run in the '70s. The show focuses on Sergeant Daniel "Hondo" Harrison (Shemar Moore) after he's tasked with leading a Los Angeles division of the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit.
His team members have changed considerably since the show debuted, and many have either died, gone to jail, or decided to leave the unit due to injury.
Because the S.W.A.T. team is ever-changing, many viewers are often on-edge during the show — and during Season 5, many were suspicious that the next character to depart would be Chris Alonso (Lina Esco). Unfortunately, they were right.
The Season 5 finale of 'S.W.A.T.' captures Chris's last day at work — and Lina Esco's last appearance on the show.
Season 5, Episode 22 of S.W.A.T. kicks off with an unexpected scene capturing the latest romantic developments between Chris and her crush, Jim Street (Alex Russell). Just like a promo teases, they wake up together. The moment is swiftly interrupted by Dominic Luca (Kenny Johnson), who tries to high-five the love birds.
Stris (the couple name for Chris and Street) agree to go public with the relationship after Chris's last day at work, but Luca's abrupt appearance immediately threatens the integrity of the mission. Later on, the team heads over to a university chemistry lab ravaged by the heinous wrongdoings of Joseph Reid.
As the Season 5 finale suggests, Reid became radicalized after witnessing first-hand the political conflict between U.S. and Afghanistan. Having surrounded himself with people similarly affected, he set out on a mission to take revenge.
The chase culminates with a trip to a boat — which is thought to be Reid's hiding place. Hondo and Luca spearhead the delicate operation, putting their lives on the line in a bid to stop Reid once and for all.
Luca has a brush with death, but Hondo comes to the rescue at the eleventh hour. They succeed. At the end of the episode, Chris turns her badge in, embarking on one last trip to the nearby watering hole with her fellow team members. During her farewell drinks, she learns that Luca will be the godfather of Hondo's baby with Nichelle (Rochelle Aytes).
Chris takes up an interest in assuming a lead role at a safe house in Season 5, Episode 20 of 'S.W.A.T.'
While visiting Mama Pina (Terri Hoyos) at the hospital in Season 5, Episode 20, Chris realizes that she wants to run a safe house and starts to consider the prospect of handing in her resignation.
The unexpected turn of events is slightly overshadowed by the segments portraying the sheer mess caused by an illegal weapons dealer, the early-career crisis of a recruit named Nora Fowler (Norma Zea Kuhling), and a cheeky conversation suggesting Jim Street (Alex Russell) and Dominique Luca (Kenny Johnson) are about to go on a double date.
Elsewhere, Chris has a heart-to-heart with Hondo (Shemar Moore), announcing that she is ready to embark on the next chapter and start a new life away from the high-octane world of law enforcement.
Why did Lina Esco leave 'S.W.A.T.'?
Lina Esco, the mightily talented actress who has portrayed Christina 'Chris' Alonso since the Season 1 opener of S.W.A.T., addressed the latest developments via a heartfelt Instagram post shared on Sunday, May 22, 2022.
"This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make," Lina wrote. "I'm forever grateful to my 'S.W.A.T.' family — my fellow cast, the crew, the writers, and the producers — for an incredible journey."
Lina also mentioned in her farewell message that she would be pursuing other "creative endeavors." It doesn't look like she's currently working on any other acting projects at the moment, but she has plenty on her plate as the founder of both the Free the Nipple Movement and The Human Campaign organization.
Catch new episodes of S.W.A.T. Fridays at 8 p.m. on CBS.