Nicole Ari Parker has joined the cast of Chicago P.D. in a role that truly is the embodiment of art imitating life. Parker stars as Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller, a new face of progressive police reform in the force. She’s a Black woman in a male-dominated world and her methods aren’t welcomed lightly.
Despite what she brings to the table and her desire to enhance true change, not all of her colleagues are happy, particularly Hank Voight. Miller and Voight bump heads as Voight is resistant to change. But as time progresses, the two build a level of trust that could change the trajectory of those around them and the city, for the better.
In an era of Black Lives Matter and the political climate the country is in, Parker says her character is just what the show and the world needs.
“There’s a lot of issues in the country and a lot of ways to come at them creatively through the show," she explained. "There’s the white, male-dominated scenario and adding in this Black female character who’s the highest-ranking officer that you can become. The next person above me is the Mayor. You’ll see how difficult affecting change really is, not just administratively, but also emotionally.”
Parker grew up in the inner-city of Baltimore and has witnessed and experienced first-hand the struggle between the police and the community. With the increase in police brutality and the need for police reform, Parker is hopeful her character sparks action.
“Good drama isn’t perfect, it can get a little messy but I also hope that there is some kind of progress," she said. "If you’re going to bring a character like this up against a force like Voight, that there should be some movement, just so there’s some hope and some trust put back into the men and women who protect and serve us. There’s a lot of suggestions, we’ve all heard them. There needs to be more training, there needs to be less funding, there needs to be more funding, there needs to be psychological evaluations, there needs to be more criteria, there need to be racial bias classes...there needs to be community service with the people talking to the cops and the cops talking to the people.”
Chicago PD airs Mondays on NBC at 10 pm EST. Watch the full conversation below: