Chicago P.D.'s Intelligence Unit was in for a big change when it returned for Season 8 on NBC, and not just because of the late start or new pandemic protocols. News broke over the break between seasons that one of the Intelligence officers wouldn't be back in the fall, leaving a hole in the team and raising a lot of questions. Fortunately, Chicago P.D. has officially cast a new series regular to play a cop, but the question is: is the newcomer too idealistic for Voight and Intelligence?
Actor Cleveland Berto, who comes to One Chicago with credits on Shameless, Netflix's Lucifer, and Terminator: Dark Fate, has joined Chicago P.D. as a series regular. Variety reports that Berto will play an officer by the name of Jalen Walker, and Walker already doesn't sound like he'll fit right in with the questionable cops of Intelligence. Described as "super idealistic" and a "golden boy," Walker is an intelligent athlete, scholar, and family man who turned down a Wall Street job in favor of a career with the CPD.
Walker reportedly made this surprising decision because he wants to make a difference. Since Intelligence isn't exactly packed with cops who stay on the straight and narrow even if they start out on an idealistic path, it's hard to imagine that he'll fit right in with them if he winds up taking Rojas' place in the unit.
That said, considering Samantha Miller's mission to enact police reform at the CPD (including Voight), Walker sounds like he could be exactly the kind of cop that she's looking for, and certainly the kind of cop she'd be interested in adding to Intelligence. But could he fit in with Intelligence and Voight, when crossing lines and operating in shades of gray comes with the job of that particular unit?
If Cleveland Berto's Walker does join Intelligence, the warmth of his welcome might depend on how Chicago P.D. writes out Lisseth Chavez's Vanessa Rojas. The Season 7 newcomer wasn't even mentioned in the two episodes of Season 8 that aired before P.D. went into hiatus, but her absence will presumably be addressed in 2021. If she gets an exit like Antonio where she's still alive but absent, then the rest of Intelligence might accept Walker sooner rather than later. If Rojas is killed off off-screen, replacing her might get messy.
Aside from the idealism, Cleveland Berto's character sounds like he could eventually be a good fit in the Intelligence dynamic. The cops of the unit wouldn't be able to do their jobs if they weren't intelligent, if not necessarily all scholarly. Halstead does enough chasing and jumping (not to mention bouncing back from getting shot) that he at least qualifies as an athlete, and none of them are exactly out of shape. I definitely wouldn't qualify any of them a "family man" (or woman) with how seriously they take their careers, although Atwater probably comes closest with his brother and sister.
All things considered, it hasn't been confirmed that Cleveland Berto as Walker is joining Intelligence to replace Lisseth Chavez (who landed a new show on a different network) as Rojas, but his series regular status combined with the hole left in the unit makes it pretty likely. If so, I'm looking forward to seeing how he fits into the Intelligence dynamic as Miller pushes police reform. I think it's safe to say that he won't be moving in with Upton like Rojas did! I'll miss Chavez and Rojas, but Berto as Walker sounds like an intriguing replacement.
Cleveland Berto will make his Chicago P.D. debut at some point after the show returns with new episodes of Season 8 in 2021. For when all three shows of One Chicago and more will premiere in the new year, be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.