David Boreanaz on How 'SEAL Team' Finale Invigorates Paramount Plus Move (Exclusive)

Sonja Flemming/CBS

'I do believe that this platform allows us to go dive deeper into these places in the storytelling,' Boreanaz tells ET.

Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Wednesday's season 4 finale of SEAL Team

SEAL Team lost a key member in the season 4 finale, but it forced the members of Bravo Team to make some major life decisions. For Jason, that meant contentment in his newfound clarity operating as team leader and as Jason Hayes. For other members, that meant marriage (congratulations, Clay and Stella!) and the difficult decision to finally facing their pain (Ray acknowledging his PTSD). 

But while Jason seems to have his feet firmly planted on the ground (for now), Wednesday's season 4 finale left us a bit worried about Bravo 1's health. As he and the crew celebrated Scott Carter's, aka Full Metal's, life, Jason was hit with a nagging headache that he brushed off as a symptom of an RPG attack. Could it be that? Or could it be something far more serious? "That's going to be a deeper dive going into next season," series star and producer David Boreanaz tells ET.

With SEAL Team making the move to Paramount+ for season 5 -- not after a special four-episode run on CBS this fall to kick things off -- Boreanaz discusses the season closer, that nagging health issue and why he's invigorated by going to streaming.

ET: Full Metal's death forces the team to make really drastic life decisions. How do you think this loss shapes the team moving forward?

David Boreanaz: For Jason, he's definitely become a little bit better, more aware of his own pain and struggles that for many years, he's really ignored a lot of stuff. And I think what he's been through this season is he's really gone through the ring of fire and come out better after the rings, can mix through all of the ashes. He's going to be a stronger leader. Definitely someone who is maybe a bit more stable and balanced and not so "all in" all the time. The metaphor for that is the representation of what a true leader is. As far as the others are concerned, I think they've all gone through the season, and I won't speak for their characters, but I'll say they've come out a little bit better throughout the season. Jason kind of goes inside the wire with Ray, all those things kind of built to go ahead with the season finale. We've all gone through major changes. How we're going to come back with them? Again, it represents how we did the show and that's real. Full Metal's death will affect the team, and that's the nature of the reality.

The therapy scene between Jason and Ray as Ray's dealing finally with his PTSD was a particularly moving moment. Can you talk about filming that scene?

You'd have to be able to ask what Jason has learned before that was, you have to be able to open up the doors and not just if you can override it. You have to kind of open up and that's how you deal. That's their self-care. The breaking him in, stubborn as he may have been, he is now to the point where he's got to recognize it and work on himself. It may change in a better, older person because he's working on himself and that's just the casualties of war, married with how they're treated when they come back home and how they deal with it. Shooting that scene, to us, it was the ace in the way that Chris [Chulack] -- I thought Chris did a remarkable job directing. The way he engaged us while we were shooting. We had some cameras set up and bringing out the emotions of both characters, and how they were a bridge to each other to get to that place. Especially for Ray was, "Hey, I'm here, this is what I suffer from," to really opening up. He had started that process of healing. It was a very emotional day.

While Jason seems to be figuring out how to exist as Jason Hayes and also Bravo Team leader, there are the nagging headaches he's been getting that implies he's not 100 percent healthy. What is that all about?

Yeah. I think that's the reality of these guys and what they suffer from, the side effects and what type of treatments [they get]. They will get into exactly how that works. That's going to be a deeper dive going into next season, which I think is very exciting. It just represents, this is what really happened. That's what probably these guys... this is what happens to them. Whether that's from a RPG that hits and it rings true to their mental health and how it may have triggered something. It's just the start of unfolding that and opening up those doors. You can become a fuller leader if you're more in tune with pain rather than burying it. That's where he is right now. If he had done that, he ultimately would've just destroyed himself. I don't think that Jason Hayes would have been able to deal with all of that without having the outlets that he's gone through this season and people that have helped him. I think we'll see more of that.

There are also exciting changes on the horizon for SEAL Team with the move to Paramount+. Have you had conversations about what that would mean creatively? 

It's a word that's kind of fluid right now. I do believe that this platform allows us to go dive deeper into these places in the storytelling that's going to be better for our type of show. Network television allowed us to do a lot of great things, especially CBS has allowed us to really push the button. Now it's like, "OK, the shackles are off. We rework it to be able to really get into some great storytelling." You get 18 more minutes of screen time. If you took our show today, this is a network show you would probably say really fits better on cable or streaming. I would tend to agree with that just because of how we've told these stories. You always walk away saying, "I wish we could show that or I wish we could do that." Well, now that wish is coming true, and I think it'll benefit us.

What are you excited about in terms of this move? Are there things you hope to be able to do or say?

We have to all earn those moments. I love the format of network television. The show allows us to open it up even more. I'm just excited though with that pivot and being able to go through those challenges of being able get even more into these stories and be even more honest with them. The emotional component of the season finale, you see Jason break down after Metal's death, we'll be able to get even deeper into that. That's exciting for me, especially as an actor to continue on with that character.

Do you have an early idea of what the broad strokes are for next season?

That's being worked on. We are working on that right now, so I won't give away anything specifically because we're in motion with that. I will say that it's going to be exciting and even better. I can say that because A) the platform we're going to and B) the richness of the characters now. Season 4 was a little bit more emotional than we've ever done. Now, we'll be able to strike that balance even better with the action and the emotion. It'll help us open up the show and take you to places that we didn't think were possible.

ET and Paramount+ are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.

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