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No one would argue playing a cop on TV is as difficult as being one in real life. But being thrust into the world of criminal justice on set in a time when a large number of the nation is calling for police reform and even suggesting the institution be done away with, isn’t easy. Just ask Nicole Ari Parker who recently joined Chicago P.D. as a recurring guest star.

Parker plays the role of Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller, the face of police reform, on the show. And when it comes to stapping in those shoes, she tells us, “I was nervous because I’m a civilian so I’m on the marching side of things, the politically motivated side of things.”

CHICAGO P.D. — “Unforgiven” Episode 804 — Pictured: (l-r) Nicole Ari Parker as Samatha Miller — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

In order to do her character justice, the 50-year-old says, “I had to first respect the ladder that this character had to climb in real life, then master the reality — the physics of being a cop, the jargon, and the urgency that, you know, some of the things that are going on in the street that are going on in the show require quick decisions and there’s no time for arguing about it.”

From her Instagram page, it’s clear to see Parker already has enormous respect from the badge, remarking in one post, “I grew up in Baltimore & have seen 1st hand a brave female officer de-escalate a situation in the face of danger…without taking the life of a child, teenager or unarmed person. I salute you all.”

Asked to touch on that perspective, she adds, “I really know, from my perspective, what cops face on a daily basis and the split decisions that they have to make in the moment — split-second decisions. The cops that are on the street– there is an adrenaline there and I feel like Chicago P.D. really captures that in the writing and I just think it’s really great to be a part of something that is very realistic.”

Catch our full conversation with Parker in the video above and check out her first appearance on Chicago P.D. in tonight’s episode which airs on NBC at 10 p.m. EST.

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