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Why Valerie Gilchrist From Chicago P.D. Looks So Familiar

If you caught Season 6, Episode 3 of "Chicago P.D.," titled "Bad Boys," you may have noticed that the wealthy teenage "foodie" who detectives are tasked with rescuing looks awfully familiar. In the episode, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and the team help a rich entrepreneur named Evan Gilchrist (Rob Morrow) locate his missing daughter, but politics put a strain on their initial meeting when Gilchrist reveals he helped fund the Police Transparency Initiative. 

When detectives initially find the victim, she's suffering from a gunshot wound in an abandoned building. After receiving treatment for her wounds, she explains that she was kidnapped at gunpoint, but managed to escape her captors. Of course, as is so often the case in police procedurals, not everything is as it seems. Ultimately, Voight and co. discover that the teenager is in a naive relationship with (and being manipulated by) the suspect, a killer named Jorge Luna (Damien Diaz) whose escape she's attempting to facilitate. Though she initially agrees to cooperate with detectives, the young Juliet makes a last-ditch effort to warn her "bad boy" Romeo and ends up with a charge for felony obstruction. When the department decides to drop the charge, her father gives a press conference praising law enforcement, despite his previously strongly held political beliefs. 

But just who is the actor around which the episode revolves, and where have you seen her besides the extra-large missing posters attached to a $500,000 reward? As it turns out, Valerie Gilchrist is played by none other than veteran "stock wealthy teen" actor, Katherine Reis.

Reis launched her career with a role in Unforgettable

Though Reis' career kicked off just eight years ago, she's landed plenty of roles in the short time since she made her debut on CBS and A&E's "Unforgettable." The four-season series was created by John Bellucci and Ed Redlich and starred Poppy Montgomery as protagonist Carrie Wells, a detective whose photographic memory for every single detail she's ever encountered gave her "Monk"-esque levels of perception. Wells' partner was played by none other than "Nip/Tuck" and "Blue Bloods" star Dylan Walsh, while the all-important M.E. of the police procedural, Joanne Webster, was portrayed by veteran television actor and Emmy winner Jane Curtin (via IMDb). 

In Season 3, Episode 9 ("Admissions"), Reis slid seamlessly into a role she'd continue to take on and reinvent for several other projects over the course of her career. As entitled prep school student Lacey Chambers, Reis' screen time may have been limited, but her ability to imbue the stock character with an air of realism and dimension would serve her well in future appearances. 

Reis flexed her comedic muscles in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

In 2015, Netflix debuted Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." The series followed Ellie Kemper's upbeat, guileless, and seemingly "unbreakable" titular character as she made the confusing and inevitably absurdist transition from a sheltered existence in a doomsday cult to a small apartment in New York City. The "fish out of water" premise contained a hefty dose of hilarious social commentary, and its dynamic cast of NYC caricatures grew to be as endearing and multi-dimensional as the wide-eyed protagonist herself. One of these extreme versions of NYC's finest archetypes, Kimmy's exorbitantly wealthy boss Jacqueline White/Voorhees, was portrayed by Jane Krakowski of "30 Rock" fame, and her under-supervised and over-funded stepdaughter Xanthippe Voorhees (Dylan Gelula) was a consistent source of befuddlement and learning for the inexperienced Kimmy. 

As Xanthippe's BFF Simone, Katherine Reis put a satirical twist on her usual character. Though she starred in just three episodes, Reis managed to steal her fair share of scenes as a messy and reckless "mean girl" who's two parts Blair Waldorf and three parts After School Special parody. She talks the talk (to the point where, as Kimmy points out, she's actually a pathological liar) but she has some difficulty walking the walk and often gets herself and everyone around her in over their heads. Essentially, Simone is a foil for Xanthippe, who, despite her best efforts to appear otherwise, might actually be a halfway decent kid. 

In All We Had, Reis brought intrigue to Ruthie's subplot

For Reis' next iteration of the too-mature-for-her-age, know-it-all high school party girl, she put her comedic skills on the shelf and embraced a more dramatic incarnation of the dark underbelly of teen life. In Katie Holmes' 2016 directorial debut, "All We Had," Reis stars once again as a kind of mean girl, this time of a more sinister and small-town nature. Though her character, Sally, isn't necessarily a prominent figure in the film, she's an integral part of one of its protagonists' development, and an element of one of the film's more interesting subplots. 

"All We Had" follows struggling single mother Rita Carmichael (Holmes) and her fourteen-year-old daughter Ruthie (Stefania LaVie Owen) as they attempt to make a life for themselves in a small midwest town amidst the 2008 financial crisis. Adapted from Annie Weatherwax's novel of the same name, the film received lackluster reviews despite a handful of compelling performances (via Rotten Tomatoes). Although Roger Ebert's Sheila O'Malley had little to say in the movie's defense, she did note that Sally's dynamic with Ruthie held unlocked potential. "The ease with which (Ruthie) gets the approval of a Queen Bee classmate (using the tactics she learned from watching her manipulative mother)," she writes, "are intriguing, but dropped in favor of following Rita through her addiction." Reis, of course, plays said Queen Bee classmate, and though her chemistry with LaVie Owen's Ruthie was left untapped by the film, it clearly didn't go unnoticed by casting directors.

Katherine Reis helped kick off a series in 2016

In 2016 and 2017, Reis popped up in both CBS' "Bull" and NBC's "Law & Order: SVU." Though her character in the latter show's "No Good Reason" was given little screen time, and served mainly to illustrate why teenage girls (in an effort to protect themselves) will turn on a friend who's been the victim of slut-shaming in the wake of unwanted sexual assault, her character on "Bull" helped launch the series. 

Created by Paul Attanasio and Phil McGraw, "Bull" follows Michael Weatherly's unrealistically intuitive and sharp psychologist and trial-science expert Dr. Jason Bull and his team of brilliant, off-beat minds at a company called "Trial Analysis Corporation." Reis starred in the six-season legal drama's pilot, "The Necklace,"  wherein Bull is hired by a millionaire to assist in the defense of his teenage son Brandon (Luke Slattery), who's been accused of murdering his classmate and (supposed) former sexual partner, Alyssa Yang (Teresa Ting). In the episode, Reis plays the equally wealthy and equally spoiled Taylor Bensimon, a classmate of Alyssa and obsessive rival for Brandon's affections. With Bull's help, the surprisingly innocent Brandon is ultimately acquitted, and the real mastermind behind the murder is revealed. 

As it happens, Taylor's mother Adele Bensimon (Tammy Blanchard) was just as obsessed as her daughter with the idea of the two teenagers living happily ever after. Thus, in an effort to take out her daughter's "competition," Adele murdered Alyssa. But the devastating act, as it turns out, was all in vain: unbeknownst to the Bensimons, Brandon is secretly gay, and never had any romantic interest in Reis' bratty and entitled Taylor anyway. 

In 2018, Reis helped Rise put a new spin on the high school musical

In 2019, Reis shed her usual layer of entitlement and wealth for a far more grounded and fully-dimensional high-schooler in NBC's "Rise." Created by Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights," "Parenthood"), "Rise" took its inspiration from journalist Michael Sokolove's "Drama High," a book detailing a year in the life of Lou Volpe, head of the drama program at Pennsylvania's Harry S. Truman High. Unlike glitzier, grander spins on the subject such as "Glee" or "High School Musical," the students in "Rise" are, as Katims explained to the Los Angeles Times, "not kids who were going on to be Broadway stars ...they were kids that really needed something in their lives. They needed that mentor, whether they knew they needed it or not." 

The series cast "How I Met Your Mother" star Josh Radnor as the fictionalized Volpe (the aforementioned mentor), and Rosie Perez as fellow drama teacher Tracey. For her part, Reis portrayed one of the school's many skeptical and struggling working-class students, Jolene Brooks. Though she was more ensemble cast member than soloist in the series, the part gave Reis a chance to portray a different kind of teenage girl entirely, albeit one not quite as different as that of her next recurring role ...

Reis' Claws came out in 2018

When Reis joined TNT's "Claws"  for six episodes in Season 2 as mob daughter, young wife, and mother Olga Ostrovsky, she got to exchange her immature high schooler ways for a pile of furs, jewels, cynicism, criminal enterprise, and family drama. From executive producers Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, and Janine Sherman Barrois, the Florida nail salon and organized crime-centered dramedy starred a litany of familiar faces, including "Reno 911!" star Niecy Nash and Carrie Preston from "True Blood." In the series, Olga's prodigal mother Zlata (Franka Potente, of "Run Lola Run" and the Jason Bourne franchise), forces Russian mobster/criminal competitor Roller Husser (Jack Kesy) to marry her daughter Olga at gunpoint. If Husser is family, she theorizes, he won't be able to make moves against the powerful Ostrovsky family. 

"Claws" had its series finale on February 6, 2022, and its devoted fanbase was no doubt sorry to see such a good (and unique) thing come to an end. Five women rising to the top of Florida's organized crime world all while running a nail salon and occasionally coming for each other is a premise that could be hard to top. Though Reis' character was partly a pawn in her mother's power play, she gave a compelling and razor-sharp performance as the pampered criminal princess.