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Why Amanda From Will Trent Looks So Familiar

From "NYPD Blue" to "The Rookie," ABC has given us some great cop shows over the years. The network's latest offering is "Will Trent," a police procedural based on a successful novel series by Karin Slaughter. "Will Trent" follows the titular character (played by Ramón Rodríguez), an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who possesses a unique perspective thanks to his upbringing. Due to a rough background in the foster care system, Trent has a way of viewing the world that allows him to see things at crime scenes that most investigators miss.

The pilot episode sees Trent called to the home of a family who thinks that their daughter has been murdered. Just because the investigator is there to help doesn't mean he will get a warm reception from the Atlanta Police Department, however, as his last investigation uncovered a lot of corruption within the department. The pilot episode stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("Saved by the Bell"), Jennifer Morrison ("Once Upon a Time"), and Erika Christensen ("Traffic"). There's one more familiar face that fans of cop shows and movies will no doubt recognize. The actor playing Trent's boss has had an illustrious career in the industry. Here is where you may have seen her before.

Sonja Sohn charmed Shaft

Created by author and screenwriter Ernest Tidyman, no-nonsense detective John Shaft has been around for decades. "It's difficult to overstate how monumental the original 'Shaft' is," said Mel magazine. "Released in 1971, starring newcomer Richard Roundtree and his perfect afro, the film sparked a cultural revolution." Roundtree went on to star in several sequels, but younger viewers probably associate the name Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson, who led the 2000 reboot. He plays the nephew of Roundtree's character and works to bring a racially motivated killer (Christian Bale) to justice. Sonja Sohn appears briefly as a bartender at Shaft's favorite establishment.

In the years since the reboot was released, people have come to question how beneficial a character like Shaft is for African Americans. Jackson reprised the role for a sequel in 2019, and Shaft's attitude towards his son's behavior — which he perceives as not being masculine enough — drew scorn from critics. Speaking about her role in the 2000 film, Sohn revealed that she wasn't exactly thrilled to be playing such a stereotypical character. "Sometimes you want a paycheck and pay your bills, and when you're an actor, you might have to take what is being offered you," she told Curve magazine. "Some people have the luxury of turning down parts because they are degrading. I've been very fortunate because I've just had one role, the one I played in 'Shaft,' where I wasn't jumping up for joy to play it, but I knew it would be good tape for me, and good exposure. So I did it."

She was the most moral character in The Wire

Set in Baltimore, HBO's "The Wire" focuses on the different institutions within the city and their relationships with law enforcement. A handful of actors who appeared on the show have gone on to have stellar careers, including Dominic West ("The Crown"), Lance Reddick ("John Wick"), Wendell Pierce ("Suits"), and Idris Elba ("Luther"). Sonja Sohn starred in all 60 episodes as Detective Shakima Greggs, one of the most honorable characters in the show. While her colleagues are mostly open to bribes, Kima sticks to her moral code without question.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Sohn spoke about the importance of the series and why people responded so well to it. "Being a part of the show, we all were very conscious of the importance of the stories that we were telling," she said. "There was a point when I was questioning whether or not we were perpetrating a stereotypical image. Very quickly, within a few episodes, I saw that the depiction of the type of behavior — let's say, the lifestyle in Black urban communities — was actually a deeper depiction that showed the reality of those lives from many different vantage points, which made the show all that more important."

She played another detective in Body of Proof

Because there are so many cop shows out there, each one now feels like it needs a hook to get people invested. "Blue Bloods" uses the legacy of a New York family of cops. "The Rookie" focuses on the oldest rookie to ever join the LAPD. The now-canceled ABC show "Body of Proof" took a similar approach to "Bones," partnering police with a brilliant scientist who assists them in solving crimes.

Dana Delany starred as Dr. Megan Hunt, a neurosurgeon who suffered a life-altering automobile accident and moved to the medical examiner's office. Sonja Sohn appeared in the first two seasons as Samantha Baker, another detective character. She is the more optimistic half of the partnership between her and Bud Norris (John Carroll Lynch). Baker is also much nicer to Dr. Hunt, appreciating her straightforward demeanor. Between the second and third seasons, Sohn's character quits and heads to Virginia to work for the FBI. In truth, the creators ran out of storylines for her.

In an interview with TV Line, showrunner Matt Gross gave a little insight into why Sohn and two other stars were axed between seasons. "Well, you know, these are very difficult conversations to have, because we really enjoy collaborating with them as artists and have gotten to know them personally over the years," he said. "Some of those characters sort of had played out, and other characters would be marginalized with these new dynamics. Nothing they did wrong at all; it's just we're taking the show in a different direction."

She rose to the level of Captain in Luke Cage

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last decade and a half, you are well aware of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its impact on the world. Before Disney+ became the home of MCU TV shows, Marvel used to release associated shows on Netflix. Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Iron Fist (Finn Jones), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) all got their own shows, and Sonja Sohn appeared in the latter as Captain Betty Audrey. As Detective Misty Knight's (Simone Missick) superior officer, she tried to warn Knight that her partner was under investigation and told her to keep her informed if she saw anything. Eventually, Knight's partner, Detective Rafael Scarfe (Frank Whaley), was shot and confessed before he died, leading to Cottonmouth's (Mahershala Ali) arrest.

With so many detective roles under her belt, Sohn sat down with Black Girl Nerds to discuss the difference between being a Black cop on TV in 2002 and now. "Today, we're in a new landscape around race and culture and the participation of those without access," she said. "Back then, I felt incredibly grateful to have a well-paying job, and there's the survival aspect." She went on to say that getting an agent was an achievement in itself when she first started out on TV. "For people of color, the eye of the needle was so small, and if you got a shoulder in, got representation, and got a real audition for a network television show, you were incredibly blessed and fortunate."

She became the Red Angel on Star Trek: Discovery

"Star Trek" is a sprawling universe that spans six decades and contains numerous TV series and movies. "Star Trek: Discovery" is one of the newer shows, beginning in 2017 and kick-starting the "Star Trek" content on CBS All Access, now known as Paramount+. Taking place 10 years before the events of the original series, "Discovery" follows Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), a Starfleet officer who unintentionally sparks a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Due to her actions, she is stripped of her rank and assigned to work on the Discovery, where she eventually becomes captain.

Sonja Sohn appears as Gabrielle Burnham, Michael's mother. She was feared dead after a Klingon attack that killed her husband, but she used the Red Angel suit to travel through time. However, instead of going back an hour as she planned, she went forward nearly a thousand years. The two meet again later, and her mother gives her some sage (if slightly blunt) advice. It was a great moment, one that Martin-Green enjoyed. "That was the classic 'mother knows best,' even though we spent so much of our lives apart," she told Shondaland. "She's still my mother." Martin-Green went on to say that their conversation "ended up being exactly what Michael needed in the moment."