Shemar Moore Shares His Pride and Gratitude as “S.W.A.T.” Secures Season 8: 'I'm Not Done Being Hondo' (Exclusive)

Moore tells PEOPLE he's looking forward to continuing Hondo's story in season 8 alongside his team: "It's still a dream job... people are gravitating to this show season after season"

Paul Archuleta/Getty Shemar Moore
Paul Archuleta/Getty Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore is proud that S.W.A.T. will see another season.

Earlier this month, CBS renewed the police drama for an eighth season after what was supposed to be the series' season 7 finale, which airs in May.

Speaking with PEOPLE after news of the series' renewal by the network, the actor, 54, looked back to when he first started the role of Sergeant Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson.

"When I first got hired to be Hondo for the pilot in 2017, I knew I was working with heavyweights," he recalls. "I was working with Justin Lynn, the director who's done so many amazing movies — a bunch of Fast and Furious movies, and other things. There was Sean Ryan, our showrunner for six years — and then handed over the torch to Andy Dettmann — who did The Shield. And then Neil Moretz, who was a big-time producer for Fast and Furious and Sonic the Hedgehog and all that."

"I got to be superhero-like," he continues. "I didn't want to wear the red and blue tights, like Spider-Man and Superman, but I feel like Hondo and the team, we play these super police. And we are heroes, in a sense."

Moore says he's always felt attached to "what the show is about."

"I called it a dream job and here I am, after just finishing season 7, that we almost didn't get, and it's still a dream job," he notes. "It's a family show and people are gravitating to this show season after season."

Sonja Flemming/CBS Shemar Moore on 'S.W.A.T.'
Sonja Flemming/CBS Shemar Moore on 'S.W.A.T.'

Related: Shemar Moore Flashes Abs — and Kisses Fan! — During Wild Talk Show Appearance: 'This Is for All My Grannies'

Noting the series' successes streaming on Netflix and recent praise from celebrities like Howard Stern, Charles Barkley  and Conor McGregor, Moore says, "I just like that we're such a fun, entertaining thrill ride of a show, but we also added a little humanity and heart to it."

"And then we're topical, but we're not a heavy show. We don't talk about politics. We don't talk about religion, but we do talk about Black Lives Matter. We do talk about human trafficking. We do talk about school shootings. We do talk about suicide by cop," he explains.

Moore knows there's a future where he'll eventually have to walk away from S.W.A.T., but it's important to him that a show that's meant so much to him ends on just the right note.

"I know nothing lasts forever. But last year, when they tried to cancel this and I put up my little video, it wasn't for me. It was for us — the show, the crew, everybody from top to bottom," he recalls. "It was like, 'Okay, nothing lasts forever, but we shouldn't finish like this. We deserve to bow out gracefully.'"

Shemar Moore in S.W.A.T.
Shemar Moore in S.W.A.T.

Related: Shemar Moore Says 'Canceling 'SWAT' Is a F---ing Mistake': 'I Don't Think We're Done'

Expressing his gratitude that "the powers that be allowed us that and let us have 13 episodes of season 7," he continues, "I told everybody in the family of S.W.A.T., 'If this is the end, hold your head up high, but work really, really hard and give them something to think about because maybe it's not.'"

"And maybe I was the only one saying that. Getting canceled the first time was like a sucker punch and in boxing, it put us to a knee — and my mama raised me to always get up. So I told S.W.A.T., 'Okay, we're on a knee. But we're gonna fight and we're gonna get up. We may lose in the end, but we're gonna lose standing.' That's why I'm so passionate about this show."

"I got S.W.A.T. to say 'Maybe it's not the end,'" he says. "It is not going to last forever. There will be life after S.W.A.T. for me and many others. But right now, I'm not done being Hondo and bringing this show to life."

Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Pictured (L-R): Lina Esco as Christina Chris Alonso, Shemar Moore as Daniel Hondo Harrelson and David Lim as Victor Tan
Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Pictured (L-R): Lina Esco as Christina Chris Alonso, Shemar Moore as Daniel Hondo Harrelson and David Lim as Victor Tan

Related: CBS Walks Back 'S.W.A.T.' Cancellation After 3 Days, Renews Series for Seventh and Final Season: 'Found a Way'

S.W.A.T. has themes of community and family that are familiar to longtime followers of Moore's work. The actor says it's important to him to "give people something they can relate to."

"Even playing super cop Hondo ... if he was just a tough guy superhero, he's boring. If you just talked to us and saved the day — I mean, that's fun, but where's the human element of it? You get that tough guy stuff, you get the super cool stuff, but then you also get the camaraderie and the chemistry and the sense of family between the teammates," he explains.

Noting that Hondo is now a husband and dad, he prides himself in bringing "the human element that helps you relate to characters and root for them" to every role.

"What I love in any role that I play is asking, 'Can I be a character and perform in a way that can reach the fans on the couches? Can I reach your emotions? Can I make you feel?'" he asks. "And if I can do that, then I'm doing my job."

Related: Shemar Moore Says He’s ‘Baby-Stepping’ His Way to Figuring Out Fatherhood with Daughter Frankie

Moore also loves physical, action-led roles and says he's managing to keep up at 54.

"I joke all the time that I'm trying to keep my Black from cracking," he laughs. "The physical element of S.W.A.T. is no joke. All the actors, we all want to stay in shape in the gym so we can look cute and look good on TV, but, but we also have to stay in shape just to do this — the chase scenes, the fight scenes, flying around on helicopters, car chases, running up and down stairs, wearing that gear all day, carrying a gun around. It takes its toll, but in the end, it's almost like we're an action movie made for TV."

He continues, "It's our signature, and you know you're going to get cool stories and chemistry. It's like when you’re kids in the backyard playing cops and robbers. Now we're grown up and we're still playing — and we get paid to do it, so it's a good time."

Shemar Moore/Instagram Shemar Moore
Shemar Moore/Instagram Shemar Moore

In the downtime between now and season 8, Moore is looking forward to "getting back in shape and getting my Hondo swag back together. Then, just enjoy my family and friends."

As he gears up for season 8, it's important to him that he "thank the fans."

"Just know, believe that anything is possible if you want it bad enough, if you're passionate enough. You can't do it alone. You can't do it alone, and if you do it alone, it's boring and it's lonely. I just thank the fans for supporting me for supporting S.W.A.T. Without them, we wouldn't have the chance to sit here and talk about the exciting news of S.W.A.T. season 8."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

S.W.A.T. airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, with the season 7 finale scheduled for Friday, May 17.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.