'S.W.A.T.': Lina Esco exits CBS series after five seasons

UPI News
UPI News

May 23 (UPI) -- S.W.A.T. is losing an original cast member.

Lina Esco, who played Christina "Chris" Alonso for five seasons, has exited the CBS action drama ahead of Season 6.

In the show, Chris (Esco) left S.W.A.T. to take over for Mama Pina at a local safe house for immigrant women.

Esco confirmed her departure Sunday, the same day as the Season 5 finale.

"bringing to life a strong, smart bi-sexual character like chris alonso has been both a pleasure and a powerful opportunity to increase visibility for diverse women everywhere. five years later - i am leaving SWAT to pursue new creative endeavors," the actress wrote on Instagram.

Esco is "excited" to embark on a new chapter but said leaving S.W.A.T. was "one of the most difficult decisions" she's had to make.

"i'm forever grateful to my SWAT family - my fellow cast, the crew, the writers, and the producers, - for an incredible journey," she wrote. "to the amazing SWAT 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!"

S.W.A.T. showrunners Shawn Ryan and Andy Dettmann celebrated Esco and her "important, iconic" character in a statement on Twitter.

"Lina rewarded us this season with thrilling performances as well as a terrific job directing an episode. What Lina brought to the show and what Chris represented to our audience are hard to replace. We'll miss Chris, but we'll especially miss Lina, as we wish her the best of luck with everything she chooses to do next," the pair said.

S.W.A.T. stars Shemar Moore, Alex Russell, Kenny Johnson, Jay Harrington and David Lim. The series was renewed for Season 6 in April.

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