WATCH: ‘The Chi’ season 4 premiere tackles teen interactions with police
South Side native Rolando Boyce, who plays Darnell, Emmett’s dad, says the new season that premieres Sunday will be “an interesting ride.”
Fans of “The Chi,” the Chicago-based Showtime series whose season four premieres Sunday, will see the return of police storylines missing from season three and learn what’s next for some of their favorite — and not-so-favorite — characters:
- Now that Kiesha Williams (played by Birgundi Baker) has decided to keep the baby fathered by the man who kidnapped and assaulted her, how has her life changed?
- Since teen lovers Kevin (Alex Hibbert) and Jemma (Judae’a Brown) took their relationship to the next level — no explanation needed — what’s next for them?
- Why did the progressive lesbian played by show creator Lena Waithe suddenly drop out of the mayoral race, paving the way for Douda (Curtiss Cook) to win the mayoral election?
- Speaking of Douda, now that he’s mayor, how involved in his criminal organization does he plan to be?
- What will the police storylines look like given that the new season’s first trailer shows those will have a prominent role?
- And, in perhaps what aims to be one of the season’s most explosive storylines, how will Emmett, a newlywed played by Jacob Latimore, deal with the consequences of having an affair with his business partner Dom (La La Anthony)? Should he reveal this secret to his new wife?
Now, Dom is dating Emmett’s dad, Darnell, known for his wide variety of track suits and earpieces and his unique sense of time relative to location. Darnell is played by South Side native Rolando Boyce, who says the chemistry building between him and Latimore is evident.
“It’s good to play a role where I have an older son and trying to rekindle the past that we lost,” says Boyce, who in real life is the father of four children. “I came in season two, and not only was I trying to get to know Jacob in my character, I was trying to know Emmett, and he was getting to know me. But through that season, we bonded and over the years.”
Emmett “is now a young man, so I’m still his dad but it’s more of a friendship there. And we’ve gotten to bond not only on set but off-set, so I think you could see the chemistry.”
In recent months, the actions of teenagers — and their whereabouts — have been under scrutiny in the aftermath of police shootings in Chicago involving 13-year-old Adam Toledo and in Ohio involving 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
After police were downplayed last season, one of season four’s main storylines focuses on the series’ three teenage boys — Kevin (Hibbert), Jake (Michael V. Epps) and Papa (fan favorite Shamon Brown Jr.) — and their dealings with police officers.
Bringing police storylines “back in dealing with everything we had — especially last year, in 2020 — ongoing with police, the violence and injustice against young men, and now that the boys on the show are growing up, we’re able to see a little bit of that,” Boyce says. “I think people will be able to see how this season is shot so much better. It looks almost like you’re watching a film.
“We raise our kids just like anyone else raises their kids, and we all are doing the best that we can. But, again, once they leave your nest, all you can do is pray that they’ll be OK.”
And what should fans expect from season four?
“I can say that it is going to be an interesting ride,” Boyce says. “I don’t think ‘The Chi’ ever lets the fans down. I’m a fan myself. I can’t wait to see it. It’s going to be a wonderful ride, and I think, at the end of it, everyone will be surprised.”
Before the episode premieres on Showtime at 8 p.m. Sunday, it can be viewed on YouTube and on demand on many TV platforms.