Rochelle Aytes is no stranger to working alongside S.W.A.T. leading man Shemar Moore having previously acted together as husband and wife on Criminal Minds and now the two are reunited as Hondo has a new love interest in the form of Nichelle. Nichelle was born and raised in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Baldwin Hills but developed a desire to give back and help those with fewer resources. She runs a neighborhood community center in South L.A. and bumps into Hondo during a chance encounter following a traffic accident that leads to sparks flying between the two.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Aytes about reuniting with her former on-screen husband and where she sees this character going in the future.
MW: Hi Rochelle, how are you doing today?
RA: I’m doing great, how are you?
MW: Doing well, super excited to talk to you today, I would love to hear your thoughts about being a part of S.W.A.T.
RA: Oh honestly I’m super excited to be a part of it. It’s been quite a few years since I worked with Shemar and when I got the call that I got this job, I was just so excited to be working with him again.
MW: You were husband and wife on Criminal Minds, now you’re back together. What’s it like to come on set and already have that chemistry with someone?
RA: You know the work is easy and fun, there’s just a sense of comfort there and we just know each other. I think it was just ‘ok let’s do this’ kind of get right back into where we left off.
MW: Obviously you two are very familiar with each other, what about the rest of your cast mates, what’s your experience been like meeting everyone else in the cast and the crew?
RA: I actually haven’t met too many cast members. My scenes so far have only been with Shemar, but the directors are great, the crew, everyone there just seems to have a lot of fun and they’re relaxed, but they get the work done. They make me feel really at home.
MW: That’s great, that’s so great to hear. I want to talk to you about your character a little bit now, Nichelle. She seems like a very strong, a very charitable woman, runs a neighborhood community center in South LA, what can you tell us about Nichelle?
RA: Well there you go. She’s from Baldwin Hills, she’s like you said very smart, travels a lot, but she cares. She cares about her community and she wants to do something good. She works with children and she just so happens to be in a situation where she’s in an accident and that’s how she meets Hondo.
MW: What drew you to the role initially?
RA: When I got the audition for S.W.A.T., I actually loved everything that you said about it. I loved that this isn’t just a random connection, a hook-up, it was a person with a history, with a genuine love for people, someone who’s smart and I love playing characters with some type of depth as well. I was excited to be a part of it and it didn’t hurt that we already worked together.
MW: To have that familiarity there must be an amazing thing to walk on set day one…
MW: Last question before I let you go, obviously you’re new on the show, but where do you see this character going, do you think this is long term. You don’t have to give any secrets away, but do you think Nichelle will be a recurring character in the series?
RA: There’s definitely some more stuff between Hondo and Nichelle because she’s very hesitant and guarded with him, but she lets her guard down and she allows herself to get to know him a little bit. I think the audience can imagine that there will be more to come of these two.
MW: I’m sure audiences will want to see more of that chemistry so we’ll be looking forward to that. Thank you so much Rochelle and all the best with the show!
RA: Thank you so much!
Catch new episodes of S.W.A.T. Wednesdays at 10PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.