Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Detective Tonie Churlish From Law & Order: SVU Looks So Familiar

Detective Tonie Churlish first appeared at the beginning of Season 24 of "Law & Order: SVU." While she comes across as Terry Bruno's (Kevin Kane) sidekick, he tells Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) that her nickname was 'The Mayor,' and she was ambitious enough that someday she'd be both their bosses. Churlish may not be very high in seniority at the department, but she's stubborn.

Even though she wants to see justice done, she refuses to play dirty to make it happen, and even turns on the recorder on her phone when she suspects Detective Velasco (Octavio Pisano) is slipping drugs to a gang member to get him to talk. After turning in the Velasco audio to Benson, Churlish further proved that she's not about to let anyone mess up her career trajectory. Now that Churlish has been moved to Benson's Special Victims Unit, it seems she's being set up to fill the hole left by Kelli Giddish's (Amanda Rollins) absence.

Like her counterpart, Jasmine Batchelor, who portrays Churlish, may not be a household name, but the Juilliard alumni has been making waves and earning critical acclaim for roles she's taken thus far. You may have seen her in a few.

She played Carter's love interest on NCIS: New Orleans

After graduating from Juilliard, Jasmine Batchelor's first screen role was in the short film "18 Actors," in which she played Rebound Girl. After playing the alien Endar for nine episodes of the New Form Digital series "Miss 2059," she started making her way into television. After a couple of one-scene roles in "The Affair" and "The Good Fight," she got the part of Audrey Spencer, Quinton Carter's (Charles Michael Davis) "friend" in Season 6, Episode 19 of "NCIS: New Orleans."

Hannah Khoury (Necar Zadegan) is surprised when she comes to Carter's home to get him for a case and Audrey answers the door. Later, Carter thinks someone has broken into his apartment but discovers Audrey has delayed her flight home and is making risotto. They talk about not getting close to coworkers and meeting halfway in Denver the next month. But before the episode is finished, she ends things by telling him that she's met someone, and while what they've had has been fun, she deserves more.

We were disappointed that Batchelor didn't stick around longer because she had a natural, easy chemistry with Davis, and her portrayal of Audrey made us feel just like Carter — that we'd already known her for years.

She earned a Gotham Award nomination for The Surrogate

In 2020, Jasmine Batchelor starred in her first film, "The Surrogate." Writer and director Jeremy Hersh wasn't a fan of auditions and instead took the advice of casting director Erica Hart, who suggested Batchelor. "Erica [Hart] had been following Jasmine since seeing her at the Juilliard showcase two years before," Hersh told Filmmaker Magazine. "She hadn't been in a movie before, but her level of craft was at this incredibly high caliber."

In "The Surrogate," Batchelor plays people-pleaser Jess, who has decided to be a surrogate for her best friend, Josh (Chris Perfetti), and his husband, Aaron (Sullivan Jones). When the three find out the child will have Down syndrome, Jess begins researching what it would take and what it would mean to raise a child with the condition, while Josh and Aaron decide they want Jess to have an abortion so they can try again for a "normal" child. Batchelor's nuanced, layered performance as a woman determined to stand up for what she wants and believes while everyone seems to be against her earned her a Gotham Award nomination. "Played by anyone else, Jess might read as cloying, even intrusive, but Batchelor finds a well of empathy in Jess," IndieWire's Kate Erbland wrote in her review of the film. "Her attempts to navigate her way through a story that has no easy answers allow both Hersh and Batchelor to explore even more questions, including issues of racism, privilege, and financial security."

She had a recurring role on New Amsterdam

After a small part as Gwen, the sister of Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) in Denzel Washington's "A Journal for Jordan" Jasmine Batchelor took the role of Courtney, one of Dr. Floyd Reynolds' (Jocko Sims) sisters in "New Amsterdam." She's first introduced in Season 1, Episode 22, when he has Evie Garrison (Margot Bingham) over for dinner with his family. After talking and getting to know her, Courtney is excited to discover that they're sorority sisters, telling her brother, "I knew there was something I liked about her."

Courtney, along with many of Floyd's family members, is a recurring character throughout the show. In Season 3, when Floyd and Evie want to bring their mother (Leslie Uggams) to live with them in San Francisco, she is the first family member to lash out and tell him that he can't take her away from everyone she knows and loves. In Season 4, Floyd tells Courtney before the rest of the family that he's going to be a father — but two others are also involved. While Courtney is often blunt and unfiltered with her brother, he obviously values her opinion since she's always the one he discusses things with first.