Who Plays Navarro on ‘True Detective’? All About Kali Reis

Kali Reis

It’s been five years since HBO’s crime anthology series True Detective was last on the air, and the fourth season is a major departure from the first three. Original creator Nic Pizzolatto is not involved with the new episodes (except in an executive producer capacity), having been replaced by new showrunner Issa López.

The new season stars Jodie Foster as detective Liz Danvers, alongside Kali Reis as her partner Evangeline Navarro, as they investigate the disappearance of eight men at a remote research station in Alaska. “Where True Detective [the original] is male and it’s sweaty, Night Country is cold and it’s dark and it’s female,” López told Vanity Fair.

Reis, who is relatively new to acting, has drawn praise from critics and viewers alike for just how well she holds her own against Foster. Here are a few key things to know about her.

Related: Everything to Know About 'True Detective: Night Country'

What is Kali Reis famous for?

Before she made the transition into acting, Reis was already famous as a world champion professional boxer. What’s more, she was the first ever first Indigenous American female world champion.

According to a profile in The Los Angeles Times, Reis took up boxing as a teenager because she found that the gym was “the only place she could calm her mind amid a tumultuous adolescence.” Her mixture of hard work and natural talent paid off, and Reis went on to huge success across multiple weight classes.

Is Kali Reis a good boxer?

Reis is a world-renowned boxer, having held the WBC female middleweight title in 2016, and the WBA, WBO and IBO female light-welterweight titles from 2020 until 2022. And she had some significant history with HBO before joining the cast of True Detective. In 2018 she took part in the first ever female boxing bout to be televised live on the cable network.

Has Kali Reis acted before?

Reis made her acting debut in the 2021 indie thriller Catch The Fair One, starring as a young Native American boxer who infiltrates a sex trafficking ring in an attempt to find her missing sister. She was nominated for Best Female Lead at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards, and received a story credit on the movie for her role in helping to craft the narrative.

What tribe is Kali Reis from?

Reis is an enrolled member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe, and is a descendant of the Nipmuc and Cherokee Nations and Cape Verde Islands.

How did Kali Reis get cast in True Detective?

Reis didn’t audition for the role of Evangeline in True Detective: Night Country, per NBC News. Showrunner Issa López was on the hunt for a Native American actress to play the role, and was impressed by Reis’s performance in Catch The Fair One. “The more I learned about Alaska, the more I understood that the majority of the population is Native and I was writing more elements related to that experience. I felt it would be unfair to have two characters who did not belong to the culture figure out this puzzle,” she told Vogue. When she watched Reis’s performance in the movie, “she blew me away—the strength, power, and gravitas.”

Related: Strangest Unsolved Mysteries of All Time

What has Kalie Reis said about acting?

Although being cast opposite Foster was intimidating, as was starring in an HBO series with little formal acting experience, Reis told NBC News that she’s used to adapting quickly to new challenges. “I’ve always been put in these situations where I’ve had to figure it out. Like, sink or swim girl—that’s just been my life,” she said. “When I get the goal clearly, I’m going to do everything in my power to get it right. I just think that comes from, No. 1, my warrior mentality and, No. 2, the athletic background—repetition, repetition, repetition,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you practice, though. You have to be present in the moment. You have to be able to dance with your partner. You have to be able to adjust and be quick on your feet.”

In another interview with Vogue, Reis noted that there are more parallels between boxing and acting than you might expect. “The biggest is always being present,” she said. “You can practice and rehearse, but you don’t know how things will go until that camera’s in front of you. And the repetition and learning what worked and didn’t work and having somebody on the other side of the camera or a coach see what you don’t see. I’m a perfectionist, a little OCD Virgo."

Is Kali Reis on Instagram?

Kali Reis is on Instagram. You can follow her posts at @kali_ko_reis

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Are Kali Reis and Jodie Foster friends?

<p>Michele K. Short/HBO</p>

Michele K. Short/HBO

Based on the True Detective press tour, it sounds like the co-stars formed an incredible bond on set. During an interview with Variety at the show’s premiere, Reis enthused about working with Foster, who she described as a friend and a mentor.

“It was like being at a training camp with Mike Tyson in ’86, in his prime,” Reis said. “She’s a legend in the game. She’s so intelligent, so collaborative, supportive. She had a directorial eyes. She had her actor eye and she was just such a great partner to work with. Her art and her work speaks for itself but she’s just an amazing person. I went in having this goal, wanting to tell the story, but I left with a friend and such a mentor.”

Foster said that after her decades-long career, she now values the opportunity to pass on what she’s learned to a new generation of actors. “The part they don’t tell you when you turn 60 is that it’s so much fun because it’s not your time anymore. It’s someone else’s time, and the best part of getting older is realizing that you actually have something to give back” she told Variety. “You have something to contribute, to help support other people’s performances, and to help spur other voices that haven’t been heard before.”

Next, True Detective? More Like True Love! All About Jodie Foster's Wife, Alexandra Hedison