Chicago Justice interview: Joelle Carter on playing Laura Nagel, joining One Chicago family

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Wednesday night marks the premiere of Chicago Justice, as it is coming at the tail end of a three-way crossover with Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. All three episodes are worth viewing, so be sure to check them out if you missed them last Wednesday night.

One of the people who’s going to be an integral part of Chicago Justice is former Justified star Joelle Carter, who is taking on the role of State Investigator Laura Nagel. She’s a character with a lot of responsibility in a wide array of cases, and it’s a role that affords her opportunities to work with several different Chicago casts across the board. Back at the One Chicago Day celebration last fall, we had a chance to speak with her about the role and becoming a part of the Chicago family. (Keep in mind that she’s obviously filmed a substantial number of episodes since this interview was conducted.)

CarterMatt – After coming off of a very successful show (in Justified), what was it that appealed to you about signing on here?

Joelle Carter – I took a little break, and then I had to start auditioning again. Dick Wolf called, and he explained what the show was going to be. I have to say, my first-ever acting job was Law & Order, so to be able to come full-circle is quite an amazing experience.

I like the idea of being a State Investigator. I’d never heard of the job. I love it! It’s great to do something so relatable, so real.

When you first starting hearing about the Laura Nagel role, was there something that made you think you could connect to her right away?

Honestly, there was a part of me that was really nervous that they’d want me to be a lawyer (laughs), but then they talked to me about a State Investigator and what that was, and that they were all going to have their personal journeys too, I wanted to give it a try.

Has it been fun becoming a part of this family, and working with so many different people?

Oh yeah, it’s great. I’d heard that it was one big family here, and it’s true. I feel like it’s a great representation of how real cities and towns work. There’s a big likelihood that we would work with medics, or we would need help from the cops, or we would need to talk with the fireman, so [the shows] kind of blend in.

I don’t know how it worked on Justified in terms of whether or not Graham Yost gave you ideas of what was coming up. How far ahead are you finding out about stories for Chicago Justice? How much are they telling you in advance?

None! It’s all a big surprise (laughs). They tell you some about your character but they’re like ‘we don’t know when these things will be revealed, but you can use them when you’re doing the episodes [to enhance the performance].’ Little snippets come out, little tastes.

Is there anybody from another Chicago show who you are especially eager to work with?

Oh my goodness. I’ve worked with a few! I’d have to think about that.

You’ve got people like Eamonn Walker [on Fire], Jason Beghe [on PD]…

I’ve worked with Eamonn and Jason. I’ve worked with some good ones already! I don’t know if I’ve worked with anybody on Med yet.

If you want to get a brief quote from Barbaro about her character of Anna Valdez, be sure to head over to this link! Also, remember that we will be covering Chicago Justice all season with reviews, previews and interviews so be sure to check in with us regularly.

As always, we welcome your thoughts on this interview in the comments! (Photo: NBC.)

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