Captain Maldonado is the head commanding officer of the Detective and Investigations division, city region Delta. She’s been on duty for about 20 years and was awarded and decorated for her works inside the force. She graduated from the police Academy Class of 2029 (Section 32). It has been said in performance evaluation that during times of “increasing adversity” she embodies “superior intelligence and leadership”. Her management style has led to successful arrests and convictions during the Konvex and Drowners crises, and a reduction in O.C.M.I. weapons trafficking, and avatar trafficking.
AWARDS, COMMENDATIONS, CITATIONS.
Police Medal for Heroism
Police Life-Saving Medal
Commendation - Integrity
Meritorious Police Duty
Certificate of Honours – “To protect and improve the quality of life in the district”
It’s quite difficult to talk about Sandra without talking about her officers, which I think proves she’s a wonderful boss. We can see her supporting each of them in the ways it’s needed: she knows how to talk to Kennex, how to separate professional from personal (her usual commands during office time versus her approach to his issue with the pills while they were out for a drink); when to push Valerie (sending her to talk with the chromes); how to use Paul’s best qualities (putting him in charge during the power issue and as her right hand in the field); when to trust Rudy (accepting him to work undercover and when he offered to make the fake fission igniter). And those are just the ones we get to see.
Captain Maldonado has been compared to a mother to the team (tumblr post) and has been named a sister to John (both Karl and Lili said so). I think she’s both things, and more. We’re used to seeing bosses who are annoying, who are evil even, never mind how good they are at their work. More than one cop show has portrayed this higher authority who gets in the way of the work of our heroes and is portrayed like a bureaucrat who forgot what it means to be a detective (this also happens a lot in medical shows, but I’ll not stray that far away from the point).
Sandra Maldonado is none of that.
She’s still up for field duty when the occasion asks for it (“Pilot”, “Straw man”). She’s involved in the cases, not just sitting in her office waiting to be debriefed, but actually participating in debates about what to do next, listening to the opinions of her officers and helping to put together a strategy. If you look back in the episodes, the only times Captain Maldonado actually disagrees and “pulls rank” to counter what her team wants, it’s when they’re in actual danger (as it can be seen in “Are you receiving?” when she tells Kennex and Dorian to leave the building).
I don’t think Captain Maldonado is fearless, I think she knows her fears very well but uses them as a motivator rather than letting them weigh her down. That’s why she doesn’t break easily, why she has been on the force so long and has achieved the position she has. Also, she trusts her instincts both as a person and as a cop: she wanted Kennex back, she wanted Dorian plugged in, she got both things and it worked out great. When she says to John “You saved the precinct the first week you were back.” (“Perception”) she’s praising him of course, but I see that line as a confirmation that she made the right decision. Kennex should return to service “never” (“Pilot”), but she saw past that and trusted herself and put him back to work. If you ask me, Captain Maldonado saved the precinct. But she’s too down to earth to see it like that. She’s also pretty damn good at compartmentalizing and delegating: she has the best of everything on her team, and she knows it, and she takes cares of them. As a mother, as a boss, as a person.
Scientifically speaking, woman use different their frontal lobe different from men – an easy example that made me understand: if two females were involved in a car crash, it is much more likely that, aside from some harsh words, they are able to reach a productive course of action and have a useful talk faster than two males; two males in the same situation are much more likely to try to beat each other. That’s what I see in Captain Maldonado. Her planning, her “badassery” comes from that way to see things; she’s not only smart, she’s creative, she thinks outside the box and adapts her ideas to the situation at hand (things very well shown on “Are you receiving?” and “Blood brothers”).
And Sandra does all that, while still being feminine. She’s not a female character that is described basically to be a guy but without a dick, she’s not a “manly chick”. She wears beautifully tailored black suits, that fit her like a glove, her hair is very neat up in a bun, her lips impeccable both with and without make up and her nails are always beautifully painted in bright colours (I want to confess that since watching the show I only paint my nails red or pink). Sandra balances her work with herself in a way that is refreshing to see.
There is one thing in particular that I have to comment on. It’s not a critique to Sandra per se, it’s something that, having now watched the whole season, I actually find somewhat off character for her.
When Sandra is confronted with Ethan Avery (“Blood Brothers”) he tries to get under her skin by first naming “that ordeal at the wall,” then insulting her rank in view of her age, and then calling her out for being single.
First, I have to say that I actually love Sandra’s answer (in case you don’t remember), I liked the way it was delivered, how she looked and even how she moved her hand. But I didn’t like that it was a response to the attack, to that attack. Avery does get under her skin, not when he mentions what happened with the wall (“I came out of that all right.” is her reply) but when he points out she has “no ring”. She doesn’t reply to that, she does something worst, she hides her hand. The show is happening in 2048, that’s 34 years away from now, if by that time the idea of successful woman=lonely woman is still prevailing I’m setting the world on fire (that’s a real warning, take cover).
But, let’s say it’s still somewhat all right (it’s not) that women let themselves be affected by comments such as that. We don’t know Sandra’s story, maybe that’s a touchy thing because she lost the love of her life or something. If I make a great effort, I can dislike the scene but I don’t hate it; because in a way it showed a real struggle, it showed how women are punished for being good at what they do and not having a family. That shit happens; happens in 2014 and yeah maybe it’ll happen in 2048. Sandra very much proved herself, not only with the reply but with how the whole episode played out. She was superb - inventive, creative, assertive; the way she walked Avery during that corridor was one of her greatest moments.
What I cannot accept, at all, is what happened at the end. When the lawyer complimented her on how PRETTY she looked. Excuse me, dude, Sandra Maldonado knows she looks pretty; you do not need to tell her that. I would have loved a reaction like that from Sandra, not that smile she gave (which I consider slightly OOC). She could have just nodded and left (she could also have said “I just won a case and put the bad guy away again and all you can tell me is that I’m pretty?!”).
As the show went one, I believe nothing like that happened again. Sandra kept being the Sandra I admire (honestly, I do), making smart decisions while knowing when to joke with her team and when to be serious.
When I picture Sandra’s end of the day routine I see her in her office, watching over the precinct, with a small smile on her face. Proud of her officers, of every single one of them, glad to know they’re alive and fine, pleased to have accomplished another day of work. Waiting for whatever comes next, ready to kick ass and take names, ready to ruin her nail polish if needed, ready to do whatever it takes for her team, for her position and, of course, for herself.
Every link (less Sandra’s response to Avery) goes to a gifset, thank you fandom for being so, so resourceful for someone who can’t gif for life and needed the scenes. The caps come from Grandecaps – jjverse and were edited by me. The facts at the start are from the official page; the crazy, ramble of ideas is mine and was beta’d by the lovely and wonderful creator of this whole event: Sivi. Thanks to her and thank you guys for reading.
I want to point out that the Assistant DA did not tell her she looked pretty, he told her she looked nice that day. That is a bit of a difference.
As a feminist myself, I know when I look nice and I feel nice and if someone tells me I look nice, I say thank you, as it is the polite thing to do and it does give me a warm feeling that someone else thinks I looked nice too, be they male or female. That does not diminish me as a woman in anyway and it doesn’t diminish Sandra in this moment either. I loved that moment, as she just smiles and thanks him and then walks away. It was another way to show that Avery was such a narcissist that he couldn’t see her for her, but was stuck in outmoded ideals. It can’t be called OOC I don’t think when you have only a few moments so far to try and get a handle on her.