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Why Detective Sumners From Chicago P.D. Looks So Familiar

As part of the One Chicago franchise, "Chicago P.D." follows the police unit as they navigate their personal and professional lives in the Windy City. The crime procedural show focuses on the officers and detectives in the Intelligence Unit of the 21st District and often includes crossovers with characters from "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago Med."

If fans were to make a list of all the crossovers, guest stars, and recurring characters on "Chicago P.D.," it would be miles long and boast many impressive names. Among these characters is Detective Mia Sumners, who joins the Intelligence Unit in Season 1 (via IMDb). Sumners isn't a typical detective. She is assigned to spy on Detective Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) by a corrupt member of Internal Affairs. After her true intentions come to light, she is removed from the team and replaced by Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins).

The undercover detective is played by Sydney Tamiia Poitier, the daughter of legendary actor Sidney Poitier and actress Joanna Shimkus. In addition to her recurring role on "Chicago P.D.," the younger Poitier has appeared in other notable film and television roles.

Sydney Tamiia Poitier's early TV roles included a stint on Veronica Mars

While Sydney Tamiia Poitier found early success with minor roles in the TV movie "Free of Eden," which co-starred her father, and Clint Eastwood's 1999 mystery thriller "True Crime," her early TV roles were hit-or-miss. She once described her early roles as typically being "the nice girl or the sweet girl or the girl next door" in a 2007 blackfilm interview.

According to her IMDb profile, in 2001, she landed a main role in the NBC legal drama "First Years." The show, a reboot of BBC's "This Life," follows a group of law school graduates at the start of their careers. Poitier portrayed Riley Kessler, who moves in with three of her former classmates. Her main storyline involves her longtime boyfriend, Egg (James Roday). "First Years" was canceled after just three episodes had aired and received negative reviews (via SFGATE).

Things seemed to turn around for Poitier when she scored the titular role in the UPN sitcom "Abby," which follows a former couple living together in their rent-controlled San Francisco apartment. However, the 2003 show was canceled after one season and received negative reviews for its raunchy humor (via Variety). Then, from 2003 to 2004, Poitier had recurring roles on two popular TV shows. On the first season of "Joan of Arcadia," she portrayed reporter Rebecca Askew, who dated the main character's older brother. Then, on "Veronica Mars" Season 1, she played journalism teacher Mallory Dent but was phased out when her character became pregnant.

She had a role in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof

Following her appearances in the ensemble drama "Nine Lives" and Snoop Dogg's "Hood of Horror," Sydney Tamiia Poitier was cast in Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof." The 2007 thriller is a double feature with Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror," released under the title "Grindhouse."

Poitier portrayed Jungle Julia, a radio DJ famous for her long legs and snarky attitude. In the Tarantino-directed feature, Poitier's free-spirited character offers listeners a free lap dance from her friend on their night out as long as they follow her specific instructions. This proposition attracts a stalker (Kurt Russell), who ends the night by killing Julia and her friends in a gruesome car accident.

The actress revealed that Tarantino had written the role with her in mind, and it was a chance to challenge herself. In that same 2007 blackfilm interview, she shared, "[Julia's] so different from the parts that I usually get cast in that it was an incredible opportunity and I was just so excited," adding that she rarely got to play "the tough girl roles or the b****y girl roles or the really sexy girls."

Poitier also explained to blackfilm that she got into character by heavily researching rock and blues bands and digging through deep-cut R&B tracks that she thought Julia would play. Poitier called it "the best acting experience," and it's by far her best-known film role.

She had recurring roles on Knight Rider and Homecoming

In 2008, Sydney Tamiia Poitier starred in "Knight Rider," a reboot of the popular '80s series of the same name. The NBC reboot follows Michael Knight II (Justin Bruening), the estranged son of David Hasselhoff's character from the original series, and the return of an upgraded K.I.T.T. As FBI agent Carrie Rivai, Poitier is all-in on the action. From arguing with Knight to being kidnapped by a suspect, her time on "Knight Rider" ends in Season 1 after sustaining severe injuries from an explosion while investigating a terrorist group (via IMDb). The show aired for only one season.

After a string of appearances on shows including "Private Practice" and "Hawaii Five-0," Poitier landed a recurring role on the Amazon Prime series "Homecoming." The psychological thriller follows Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts), a social worker who uncovers the dark truth about her secretive government job. In Season 1, Poitier portrays Lydia Belfast, wife of Homecoming Transitional Support Center supervisor Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale). The first season of "Homecoming" received a near-perfect 98% rating on the Tomatometer and has been praised for being unnerving and compelling (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Sydney Tamiia Poitier starred opposite Jerry O'Connell in Carter

Most recently, Sydney Tamiia Poitier starred on the Canadian comedy-drama "Carter" as Detective Sam Shaw. The show follows Harley Carter (Jerry O'Connell), a disgraced actor best known for portraying a detective on television. He returns home to decompress, but his former community struggles to separate him from his on-screen character. Detective Shaw is Carter's childhood best friend, and the two work together on the cases their community pressures him into researching despite his lack of qualifications. 

To be comfortable portraying a police officer, Poitier had to undergo special training and learn how to handle a gun (via Mandy). Poitier also explained to Mandy that filming the show is fast-paced and called it "exhilarating and exhausting." However, she admitted that she instantly connected with her character: "[Shaw] is somewhat similar to me, and I was able to bring a bit of myself to her so that the process of becoming her felt easy and natural and continued to evolve over the course of the season," she said.

From "Chicago P.D." to "Carter," it's clear that the actress has a knack for portraying powerful detectives.