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How S.W.A.T. Season 8 Changes Everything About Jay Harrington's Deacon

It's hard to imagine how 20-Squad would ever get along without David "Deacon" Kay (Jay Harrington), but Season 7 of "S.W.A.T." has begun to posit just that scenario. During "Family Man," audiences watch as Deacon contemplates retirement; in particular, Dominique Luca's (Kenny Johnson) decision to leave the squad after nearly dying in a shooting gives him some pause. However, these plans might very well be walked back now that Season 8 of "S.W.A.T." has officially been greenlit.

During "Family Man," Deacon admits to Hondo (Shemar Moore) that he's been holding back, waiting to make sure Luca will be all right before explaining his plans. Hondo himself is surprised but learns that Deacon promised his wife, Annie (Bre Blair), that he would retire soon. The many touch-and-go travails that 20-Squad have pushed through over the years have left their mark on Deacon; he doesn't want to prioritize the team over everything else and lose his family and soul in the process. He tells Hondo he's putting his notice in, leaving his friend upset. Though Deacon plans on guiding Hondo and the team through this loss before leaving, he's out.

That leaves Hondo to grapple with losing three major team members, as Jim Street (Alex Russell) has also recently left the squad to head up the Long Beach team of S.W.A.T. members. These changes have understandably left Hondo uneasy, but there was a real-life reason why these squad members were ostensibly written off — the show's supposedly imminent cancellation after seven seasons.

It remains to be seen if all of S.W.A.T.'s missing members will return

In case fans were wondering about the somewhat apocalyptic tone that has enveloped the final episodes of the 7th season of "S.W.A.T.," many of these big developments were sculpted by the show's writing staff in preparation for it being the show's absolute last. No one anticipated CBS to pull through with a surprise renewal, but an 8th season lies ahead for the drama.

There's no word as to how far the show's writers will pull back the exits of Jim Street, Dominique Luca, and Deacon Kay in Season 8 — or indeed, if the characters are gone for good and will be replaced by fresh, possibly cheaper cast members when the show reconvenes for filming. But we can confirm that nothing has been changed for the Season 7 finale, per an interview conducted by TVLine with Shemar Moore in April. "What's crazy is we've had to change nothing—absolutely nothing. We wrote this show to where it could be a farewell goodbye. When you get up to the finale, you'll see when you watch it, you'll go, oh, this was their way of saying goodbye. But it was also our way of saying we could still keep going. We said, this will either be our goodbye or this will be our new beginning," he said at the time. 

Viewers will find out how this new beginning goes when they watch Season 8 of "S.W.A.T." sometime this fall.