When word leaked that Max Thieriot was developing a new series for CBS, that seemed to spell doom for his "SEAL Team" character Clay Spenser, whose fate is up in the air after a cliffhanger at the end of season 5.
CBS has announced that it's ordered Thieriot's show "Fire Country" for its fall schedule and that Thieriot will star. The good news for "SEAL Team" fans is that the network was careful to announce that Thieriot will also be returning to the military drama, which now streams on Paramount+ after moving over from CBS in the middle of last season.
Thieriot grew up in Northern California, and "Fire Country" is based on an original idea from the actor, who co-wrote the pilot with Tony Phelan and Joan Rater. A firefighter drama seems like a show that will fit on CBS, and the 2017 movie "Only the Brave" from "Top Gun: Maverick" director Joseph Kosinski and star Miles Teller certainly showed how much procedural drama can be generated by raging wildfires.
Still, there are a lot of questions for "SEAL Team" fans. Before the ill-fated mission to Mali at the end of season 5, Clay told Jason Hayes (David Boreanaz) that this would be his last mission for a while because he wanted to spend more time with his wife Stella (Alona Tal) and their new baby, Brian.
Clay took some shrapnel to the eye in the closing scenes, which leads to questions about Thieriot's "return" to "SEAL Team." CBS announced that Thieriot will begin production on "Fire Country" after he wraps "SEAL Team," which is both vague and alarming.
The announcement that Thieriot is returning to "SEAL Team" doesn't mean he survived the action in Mali. He could appear in a few flashbacks as everyone remembers their fallen comrade. Or he could be so injured that he's stuck in intensive rehab and appears only as a recurring character in the Paramount+ series.
Maybe Clay's fine, and he's off to a new life with Stella and Brian. Maybe he'll have a desk job for season 6. If "Fire Country" isn't a hit, then "SEAL Team" would probably like to have the option to bring back Clay full-time for a potential seventh season.
In the end, this news doesn't really provide any reassurances or reveal anything about what will happen on "SEAL Team" when the show returns later this year. Max Thieriot fans can be happy that, no matter what Clay's fate might be, he'll be the star of his own show and no one will have to subscribe to streaming to enjoy "Fire Country."
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