Original S.W.A.T. Cast Member Exiting the Show

An original cast member of CBS' S.W.A.T. is leaving the show. On Sunday, actress Lina Esco confirmed that she will be departing the series after five seasons. Esco has portrayed Christine "Chris" Alonso, an openly bisexual member of the S.W.A.T. team, on the show since its inception. S.W.A.T. has been laying the groundwork for Chris' departure across recent episodes, with the character revealing that she would be taking over the safe house run by Mama Pina. S.W.A.T. was renewed for a sixth season last month.

"I love the Mama Pina storyline," Esco told TVLine earlier this year. "It resonates with Chris because this is a woman providing a safe house to women who have no hope in other countries and who escape for a better life. Chris has become very invested in volunteering and being a part of that."

Alonso took to Instagram to confirm the departure, expressing that it has been "both a pleasure and a powerful opportunity" to portray the character.

"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 on instagram. "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."

"That said, she continued, "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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Inspired by the television series and the feature film, S.W.A.T. stars Shemar Moore as a former Marine and locally born and raised S.W.A.T. sergeant, tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Torn between loyalty to where he was raised and allegiance to his brothers in blue, Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson strives to bridge the divide between his two worlds. However, Hondo is forced to question his professional identity when he is demoted from Squad Leader after going public to expose racial corruption within the LAPD. The other members of Hondo's elite S.W.A.T. unit include David "Deacon" Kay, an experienced S.W.A.T. officer and dedicated family man who always puts the team first; Christina "Chris" Alonso, a skilled officer and the team's canine trainer; Dominique Luca, an expert driver who gets them in and out of high risk situations; newlywed Victor Tan, who started in the LAPD Hollywood Division and uses his confidential informants in the community to help the team; and Jim Street, the team's cocky newest member. Responsible for the management of all Metro Division S.W.A.T. units is Commander Robert Hicks, a senior LAPD official with the Special Operations Bureau. With Hondo no longer leading the charge, these dedicated men and women face an uncertain future as they bravely put themselves at risk to protect their community and save lives.

What do you think of Esco departing S.W.A.T.? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!