Welcome to the 20th installment of our 2020 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Officer Christina “Chris” Alonso, played by Lina Esco from S.W.A.T., is the LAPD’s only female S.W.A.T. officer on the series. She uses that to motivate herself, even more to be a better person, finding out who she is and standing up for what’s right along the way. Between working up the ranks at S.W.A.T., her personal and professional relationships, and speaking out about what she believes in, Chris Alonso is a badass female LGBTQ+ icon that needs recognition.
Season 1 has Chris trying to prove to herself and her colleagues that she’s meant to be part of S.W.A.T. In the sixth episode of the season, she does a routine test at headquarters, but an officer doesn’t take her seriously throughout it. Teammates Hondo and Deacon try to reason with the officer, but Chris tells them not to; it doesn’t matter. However, while trying to rescue teammate Street during an undercover op successfully, she goes up the side of a building to get a better look, with no harness. She doesn’t even think twice about it and scales the building, running and jumping discreetly to get into position. After taking down a high-end car theft ring and rescuing Street, Deacon wonders if they should tell the officer from earlier how much Chris kicked ass, but Hondo tells him it’s not necessary. They know how much Chris does for the team and how important she is.
Towards the middle of the season, Chris is asked by S.W.A.T. candidate Officer Erika Rogers to help her prepare for joining the team. Chris initially declines to help, believing that the only woman in S.W.A.T. helping the only current female S.W.A.T. candidate wouldn’t do either of them any good. She arranges for Street and Luca to help instead, so Officer Rogers gets a fair play from the members. Chris knows that being the only female S.W.A.T. officer is tough work, but she loves it and loves her team. She is always willing to help, even if it’s not directly.
Something that is important to Chris is her friends and family. She thinks of her squad as her family, opening up to them. In an early episode of season 1, Chris reveals to Street that she’s bisexual. Her large, extended family had initially struggled to understand her bisexuality but now embrace it. Chris feels comfort with her team because they are her family, and they accept her no matter what. Throughout the series, she and Street have a complicated relationship. They have feelings for each other and deeply care for one another, but they don’t date one another because they don’t want to ruin the great friendship they already have. She even gets an offer to join Sergeant Mumford’s team, which would come with a promotion, but turns it down so she can remain on Hondo’s team. She feels secure with the team she’s with, even if that complicates things sometimes between her and Street or someone else.
The beginning of season 2 sees Chris start a relationship with a woman named Kira. All seems to be going well for her until Kira admits that she has a fiancé, Ty. However, she and her fiancé have been looking for someone to be with them in a polyamorous relationship. Chris contemplates the decision since it’d be completely new for her. She has feelings for Kira but isn’t so sure she wants to be with her and Ty. A few episodes later, Chris tells Street she needs to decide whether the relationship is something she wants or not, and after having to think about it for some time, she meets up with Kira and Ty, telling them she’d like to give the relationship a try. The team immediately supports Chris when she tells them about the new relationship, knowing that if she’s happy, they’re happy. Ty and Kira soon offer Chris to move in with them; since they’ll be getting married soon, they don’t want Chris to feel left out. She knows that it’s a big step and she’s been really happy with them but doesn’t know yet if she should.
In the season finale, Chris officially introduces Ty and Kira to the team while at an event. One of Deacon’s daughters asks Chris about them, and Chris tells her they’re her boyfriend and girlfriend, and it’s okay to have that. Deacon’s wife, Annie, who doesn’t necessarily have the same beliefs Chris does, comes over and tells Chris not to tell her daughter something like that. Annie knows that Chris is happy in her relationship but doesn’t want that for her daughter. Chris meets up with Street later, and they both talk about their problems; Chris mentions that Ty and Kira asked her to move in with them, and they kiss. Realizing that there’s not really anything with her and Street, feeling bad, she tells Ty and Kira she wants to move in.
Throughout the season, Chris slowly tries to get used to her new relationship and takes on more at work. Whether it’d be going to Mexico in an undercover mission with the chief or working an LGBTQ pride parade and worrying about her community, she feels close to the family she’s made with S.W.A.T. while also feeling close to Ty and Kira and them accepting her for the relationship means everything to her. It hurts her when just one member of her chosen family doesn’t support her, but the majority of them do because they know her. They know she’s happy with Ty and Kira.
In season 3, Chris has officially moved in with Ty and Kira, and the three seem to be really happy. Towards the end of the first half of the season, Chris confronts Ty and Kira about her not feeling like she’s really part of the relationship since the two are getting ready to get married. She’s worried that once they say “I Do,” she will feel like a third wheel. They assure Chris that she’s just as much part of the relationship as they are. However, in the following episode, Chris realizes she likes Kira more than Ty. There’s just something there with her that she doesn’t feel with him. She talks to Kira and admits her feelings for her. Kira reveals that she feels the same way and promises they will talk to Ty together about it. Later that day, though, Chris comes home, and there’s no indication that Kira doesn’t want to be with Ty. Kira apologizes to Chris when they’re alone, saying she loves Ty, but they can make it work. When Chris is alone at home, she packs up her stuff and makes the tough decision to leave the relationship.
You learn a little more about Chris at the beginning of the second half of the season. Lieutenant Lynch approaches her about doing an interview. Chris declines, saying that LAPD has 70 other S.W.A.T. officers they can interview. Lynch finds Chris later, wanting to talk more about the interview. She tells her she thinks she’s being singled out because she’s a woman, and Chris asks her if she knows how hard it was to make S.W.A.T. She has to prove every day that she deserves to be there, saying she slips up one time and they won’t tell her it’s because she had a bad day, it’s because she’s a woman. Lynch tells Chris that maybe some girl will read her article and think that maybe she can do it too.
But Chris still doesn’t give in, and later that day, Lynch apologizes for trying to push her. Chris asks her why she became a cop, the real reason, and Lynch tells her, asking her the same question. Chris says to serve and protect, not giving a straight answer right away but then reveals that she was attacked and raped when she was 14. She didn’t report it because she just wanted to get on with her life. Chris says she became a cop because she was tired of being afraid and that if a 14-year-old ever went through what she did, she’d find out who did it and make them pay. If she does the interview, they’ll want to know why she became a cop, and she doesn’t want to lie. She only told her family a few years ago and hasn’t told the team, that’s why she can’t do it. She doesn’t want them thinking of her differently or seeing her as the victim.
After watching a news report of a mass shooting that was inspired by the one that happened in LA earlier that day, Chris meets with Lynch in her office. She asks Lynch if it’s too late to do the interview, saying she realized she can’t let the people who hate her get to her. She has a voice of her own. In another episode, Chris pulls over the deputy mayor’s son for drinking and driving, but he doesn’t get booked because his dad pulled some strings. Chris tries to fight it, digging deeper into past allegations. Her mom had gotten into an accident involving drinking and driving years ago, and she didn’t want another drunk driver getting away. Her fight ends successfully after a tough few days, and the deputy mayor ends up resigning to deal with an addiction issue in his family.
Throughout the series, Chris Alonso has constantly proven herself that she deserves a spot on the S.W.A.T. team. She’s constantly proven that just because she’s a woman, she’s just as tough, sometimes even tougher, than the guys. She’s also constantly proven that just because S.W.A.T. is her team doesn’t mean that they can’t be her family too. She deeply cares about standing up for herself and believing in what’s right. She listens to her heart and follows it, even if she’s scared to. She’s open to trying new things, and that could either lead to happiness or heartbreak, but it’s why she does it. She risks her life and career to do the right thing, and nothing will stop her from coming out on top. It’s hard to tell with everything going on in the world what type of storylines will come in season 4, but one thing is for sure: the family that Chris has with S.W.A.T. and the decisions she makes to stand up for herself, doing the right thing, and proving that she’s meant to do this, will never change.
To see why Chris Alonso is a part of this Pride spotlight, watch seasons 1 and 2 of S.W.A.T. on Hulu and season 3 on CBS All Access. Season 4 is expected to premiere sometime during midseason 2021 on CBS.
Check back tomorrow for our next installment in the Pride series!