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A short lived 1970s TV series featuring the adventures of a unnamed city's police department Special Weapons And Tactics unit, starring Steve Forrest and Robert Urich.

The series was notorious for its violence, which led to its early cancellation in its second season. However, its theme music is a classic that became a #1 hit single and the title sequence, where the cops jog in lockstep to grab their rifles and get to their transport van was the epitome of 1970s American TV cool.

Remade in 2003 as a feature film starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Tropes shown:

  • Artistic License: In reality, SWAT troopers do not simply wait at headquarters for a muster signal; they operate as detectives doing that position's expected duties until called up to suit up for SWAT duty. Of course, the Rule of Cool dictated the title sequence be otherwise.
    • Also, the missions in the series, which appeared to happen once a week in the series, was derided by real cops as being once in a lifetime things.
  • Cop Show
  • Moral Guardians: The show was one of the targets as unlike The A-Team later SWAT would storm in and shoot to kill. Steve Forrest addresses this understanding where the guardians were coming from, he just felt they were wrong about his particular show.
  • Spin-Off: From The Rookies

The Film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: When the movie starts, Brian Gamble started out as a Type III. After he gets kicked off SWAT, he becomes a villain.
  • Based on a True Story: The opening shootout was modeled after the real life North Hollywood bank robbery, and as a cut scene showed police actually did run off to a gun shop to get rifles that would punch through body armor. A lot of work went into the scene, as no bank would allow a robbery to be staged and many wavers had to be signed for the use of military helicopters to fly overhead.
  • Black Guy Dies First / Vasquez Always Dies: Averted. The team features two black guys (guess who one of them is?) and Michelle Rodriguez, and all three of them make it to the credits. The rest of the team is made up of white males, not all of whom survive.
  • Celebrity Paradox: One of the characters is watching the show on which the movie is based when he gets the call to mobilise, and the team sings the theme song when informed they have passed selection, clearly establishing that the TV show exists within the world of the movie. How is it, then, that no-one ever remarks on the fact that four of the members of the team have exactly the same names (and sometimes nicknames!) as characters from the show?
    • The names could be regarded as a coincidence and the nicknames might be given to each other in-universe as an acknowledgement of this coincidence.
  • N Word Privilages: A cut scene had Hondo's Black Best Friend introduce him as "making his first stealth entry, incog-negro."
  • Race Lift: In the series Hondo was played by Steve Forrest. In the film Forrest is the team's driver, and cameo's in a commercial where he plays the character. Hondo is instead played by Samuel L. Jackson, much the same as what happened with Nick Fury.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: The Big Bad's reaction to being told that he cannot get out of custody: "Who do we have to pay?" When told that it doesn't work that way, he responds "Then who do we have to kill?"
  • The Cameo: Steve Forrest appears as the driver of the SWAT transport, and the director, Clark Johnson, appears briefly (Credited as "Deke's Handsome Partner").
  • Turn in Your Badge: Averted, partially. First, Street and Gamble's commander convinces the Chief not to remove them from the Force entirely; both are promptly assigned to work in the gun cage. Gamble blows up and walks out: Street accepts the demotion calmly, but won't sell his partner out to get back on the team.