Portraying State’s Investigator Laura Nagel, Joelle Carter brought both toughness and a degree of vulnerability to Chicago Justice. The former Justified star had the biggest task in front of her, too, as Nagel went through the most transformation between Justice’s backdoor pilot and the show making it to series.
When One Chicago fans first met Laura Nagel in the original pilot, she was the lead investigator working with a rookie partner, played by Ryan-James Hatanaka. However, part of the change that happened when Hatanaka was dropped from the ensemble and producers brought Jon Seda over from Chicago PD was that Antonio Dawson became the new lead investigator. So Laura not only had to work with a new partner, she wound up taking a demotion.
That became a through-line for Joelle Carter’s character in Chicago Justice season 1. The in-show explanation for her being the junior investigator was an addiction problem that was caused by her being shot in the line of duty, and that was something Nagel hated herself for and thought had possibly ruined her career for good. One of the unresolved threads from the show was Laura being able to regain her confidence and sort out her personal demons.
Though Joelle Carter gave a fantastic performance going through all of that, things have been a bit quiet for her since the conclusion of Chicago Justice. The good news is that she booked a series regular role in the ABC pilot Salvage (alongside Philip Winchester’s former The Player co-star Charity Wakefield!), but the bad news is it ABC passed on the series when it announced its fall schedule on Tuesday.