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Capt. Amanda Cohen is a fictional character that appeared in the second season of the television series, Forever Knight, appearing in all episodes. The part was played by Natsuko Ohama. Capt. Cohen is a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police in Toronto, currently commanding the 96th precinct. Working under her supervision are Det. Nick Knight (the protagonist of the show) and his partner, Don Schanke.
Capt. Cohen first appeared in the premiere of Season Two, "Killer Instinct", which implied that Detectives Knight and Schanke had recently transferred to the 96th Precinct. From the start, she behaves with a brisk, no-nonsense style intended to demonstrate her firm command. Unlike the two male commanding officers, Joe Stonetree in Season One and Joe Reese in Season Three, she is always addressed by rank ("Captain") and referred to by her surname ("Cohen" or "Capt. Cohen") rather than her first name, even in less formal situations. She is always professionally attired, very neat and kempt, with a rather conservative style. She carries herself with confidence but there is always a distinct impersonality in her leadership.
In "Killer Instinct", Schanke's reaction is to try to ingratiate himself with her, notably by getting her coffee from "Buckstar's". Later episodes, however, indicate that he is often late to work; and the two detectives tend to be behind with their paperwork. Nor do her complaints result in compliance with her orders. Rather, the men attempt to placate her verbally. As a result, the character comes across as both stiff, starchy (and, from a fan's perspective, difficult to identify with) and as less proficient in a command position than she should be.
From the start, it is clear that Cohen is married with a daughter, and several family photographs are in her office. Nevertheless, she rarely mentions either at work; and the personal names of her husband and daughter were never mentioned in canon.
Cohen was provided with little backstory. Mid-season, in "The Fire Inside", she reveals that she first started in law enforcement as a federal agent; and, when her department tried to break up a drug ring, there was a fire fight in which she was responsible for the death of three agents by friendly fire.
Between Seasons Two and Three, Forever Knight was sold to USA Network, who decided to make major changes to the series. Among these was the replacement of Cohen with a new police captain. In the Season Three premiere, "Black Buddha", she was written out by killing her off in a plane crash.
Fans never took to Cohen. The character presented as fundamentally distant—not so much unlikeable as unknowable. There was little rapport between the actors. While theoretically fans might have interpreted this as indicative of Cohen's difficulties as a woman in a leadership position in a traditionally male job, their lack of interest in the character meant that they never looked behind the surface. Capt. Cohen appears frequently in fan fiction set during Season Two, but usually in a minor role in scenes at the precinct.
Few fans focus their interest on Capt. Cohen more than the other characters. Nevertheless, during Season Two, when fans began to create affiliations for most of the minor characters, a faction was created for her, too. Their name, "Cohen-heads", is a pun on "conehead".
The Cohen-heads were sufficiently popular to take part as a separate faction in at least one Forever Knight War, War 5. This was fought in Oct-Nov 1995, during Season Three—in other words, after the character had been killed off. In the list of factions included in the introductory post, after the Cohenheads are linked with Amanda Cohen are added the words "(may she rest in peace)", indicating that there were at least some fans who regretted her departure.
Cohen is rarely the protagonist of fan fiction. However, she does feature prominently in the following stories:
- Since the name "Cohen" is Jewish and the actress who played the role is Asian, it may be concluded that the character is supposed to be using her husband's surname. Her maiden name was never given on the show.
- All we know of her husband is his initial (which was D); and that only because it appears in the Season Three premiere on the crash victim ID sheet that was posted by the morgue staff when Cohen died.
- Quoted from the Introductory Page to War 5, which is archived here (accessed 1 October 2011).