Luke Cage may have taken out Cottonmouth, but now Harlem is even more full of dangerous criminals than ever at the beginning of Luke Cage Season 2. The premiere episode of the show's second season introduces viewers to a whole bunch of new players in Harlem's criminal underworld, all vying for their chance to partner up with the new crime boss, Mariah Dillard. One of the new recruits seems to have an edge on the rest, though, so who is Cockroach in Luke Cage Season 2 and how is he connected to everything going on?
Spoiler alert: This post will discuss a few plot details from the first three episodes of Luke Cage Season 2. Mariah Dillard's right-hand man, Shades, first introduces her to Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton in the first episode of Luke Cage Season 2. He explains that Cockroach was fresh out of prison, and already back to making money by running an illegal underground casino that caters to rappers, athletes, and other high-end clientele. Cockroach is one of the three crime bosses that Mariah is considering selling her firearms empire over to in order to go legit, and although she initially decides to go with the drug-smuggling furniture salesman Arturo Rey, she had to admit that Cockroach made the best sales pitch.
We also soon find out that Cockroach has a particularly tense past with Misty Knight. The police detective walks past Cockroach on the street and remarks that he should not have been released from prison. Cockroach explains that because Misty's former partner, Rafael Scarfe, was convicted of corruption, his arrest records were ruled void and he got to walk out of jail early. There is clearly some strong animosity between Cockroach and Misty, which may be further explained as the season progresses. The fact that Cockroach is played by Dorian Missick, the real-life husband to Misty Knight actress Simone Missick, also helps add some electricity to their scenes together.
Cockroach is also a problem for Luke Cage. After Arturo Rey is killed, Luke deduces that either Cockroach or the Jamaican crime lord named Nigel will be Mariah's next choice for a criminal partner. He is able to track down Cockroach, and finds him beating his girlfriend and his son. Upon seeing the domestic abuse, Luke loses it and savagely beats Cockroach until he is unconscious, seemingly even dead. Claire Temple is able to confirm that Cockroach is alive, although he likely has a concussion and several broken ribs, and witnessing Luke unleash his rage like that drives a rift in her relationship with him. Although Cockroach will clearly need time to heal, it does not seem like he is done wreaking havoc in Harlem just yet.
Although it is his first time appearing on Netflix's Luke Cage, this isn't the first time that Cockroach has fought with Harlem's bulletproof hero. Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton is actually a character within the Marvel comics. During his major appearances in the comics in the '70s and '80s, Cockroach is a blaxploitation character, one of the most prominent mob enforcers in Harlem. Although he does not have any superpowers, Cockroach is shown to be an incredibly skilled marksmen and a master of ammunitions. His most iconic weapon is a six-barreled rifle that he had named Josh — we actually get to see a glimpse of Josh in an early episode of Luke Cage, in the form of the six-barreled rifle that Cockroach uses to blast Luke out of the window of his casino.
Although Cockroach is down after the first couple of episodes of Luke Cage, we can rest assured that he is not out yet. After all, he is called Cockroach for a reason: he's not that easy to kill.