David Boreanaz Says ‘SEAL Team’ Season 4 Starts Off ‘With a Bang’ (Exclusive)

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“We’re starting with a bang — and it’s big.”

SEAL Team returns on Wednesday with a two-hour season 4 premiere as Bravo Team enters enemy territory in the snowy mountains of Afghanistan with their latest mission: capture Al-Hazred, the leader of a terrorist group and son of a terrorist Jason Hayes and his crew took down years earlier, which made him Bravo One. When Jason and Cerberus, Bravo’s canine companion, are separated from the team after something goes awry, Jason’s harrowing experience may force him to re-evaluate his future with the team.

With last season cut short by a few episodes due to COVID-19, the first two episodes wrap up the arc that was meant to close out season 3. For series star and executive producer David Boreanaz, who directed Part 1 of the two-hour premiere, the episodes kick off a new chapter for Jason and the team, and may bring about significant change. 

“We had to maintain a sense of where we were back in March, when we didn’t finish the last two episodes of season 3. Because of that shutdown, we were pushed to use that as our season premiere for season 4, that was the biggest shift as far as a big pivot was concerned,” Boreanaz tells ET. “It worked out on our behalf because the shows are so big and shooting on the side of a mountain with an actual snowstorm, those elements alone create such a great environment for these characters to explore their own struggles that they have internally. Being blown off the side of a mountain. The dog gets lost. There’s unification and we don’t know who makes it, we don’t know what will happen to Bravo One.”

“There are a lot of things that will happen. People will retire. We’ll lose people,” he hints of the new season. “The first two episodes… what a way to go. We discussed those developments and made some positive pivots and moves, and we’re excited that we’re back up.”

SEAL Team
Erik Voake/CBS

Flashbacks to that initial raid that transformed Jason’s life nearly a decade ago act in concert with Bravo Team’s present-day mission, the parallels between both greatly affecting Jason’s frame of mind.

“We see Jason when he was Bravo Three and we see a young Neil Brown when he was Bravo Four, so you see the two in different worlds, what their attitudes were like and what they were all about,” Boreanaz says of exploring his character’s younger, gung-ho self. “It becomes this journey — almost a character study — for [Jason] to find his resolve as to why he wants to possibly step down from Bravo team, which gives us a whole different light.”

“It’s full circle and I think one of the most important parts of the episode. Jason Hayes questioning that this merry-go-round is not going to stop. I hunted down this major terrorist and now we’re hunting the son of the man I killed eight years ago? Nothing’s changing, so does he step off? Does he step aside? Does he continue on?” he continues, adding that the flashbacks were a trip to film. “We did a couple of screen tests where I had the big beard, and that’s really what they were like years ago. They were these burly guys. This beard, it’s huge, right? I decided to do that look physically and mentally, and get a sense of innocence of how to approach the character from a Bravo Three perspective. Not so much of a leader and not all in, really looking up to his superior Bravo One as someone who taught him and showed him the ropes. It’s exciting to see these characters years ago where they were, attacking the innocence of him and the gullibility and that’s how I approached it. It was fun to shoot, and it was a lot of work to get done as far as looks were concerned. But, man, it was a good time.”

There was unfinished business between Jason and CIA liaison Mandy Ellis (Jessica Pare), who hooked up in the makeshift finale, potentially introducing a new SEAL Team romance. Whatever happened between the two and the immediate aftermath will be addressed by the second episode. (It was reported in mid-November that Pare will no longer be a series regular in season 4.)

“Things happened and we will pick them up and address that,” Boreanaz plays coy. “We’ll see how that unfolds.”

As for what he’s proudest of accomplishing thus far this season, it’s the strong start to the new year amid a pandemic.

“Those four days on the mountain were tough, and shooting with a dog is always tough in that type of environment. Safety being our first and foremost, always has been with a show like this, having the veterans that work on the show in front of the camera, behind the camera, by your side was a big strength and something in a show of this magnitude. The elements forced our hand to be very real in the moment,” Boreanaz says. “We shot eight scenes in one take and we didn’t stop moving. If we hadn’t done that, I don’t think we would’ve made the day. I know we wouldn’t have made the day because the snowstorm came in at 12 and pounded us. It was hard physically and mentally. We just got through it and it shows. It’s the best cable show on network television. You don’t see this type of production in network television. And I’m proud of the character developments and how they deal with their own home battlefield. That’s what we’ll be examining a lot this season.”

This article contains quotes from two separate interviews.

SEAL Team returns with a two-hour premiere Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For more on the series, watch the video below.

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