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What Happened to Vanessa Rojas on Chicago P.D. (and Chicago Fire)?

The beloved character left One Chicago after only appearing during Season 7, but left an indelible mark on the shows.

By Megan Lasher

Vanessa Rojas (Lisseth Chavez) was a beloved character in Season 7 of Chicago P.D. Her time at the precinct proved her detective prowess, and she had plenty of close relationships with the rest of the unit that slowly revealed her mysterious personal life. She also played a pivotal role in the One Chicago crossover pandemic episodes, helping to solve a city-wide bio-terrorism concern. 

How to Watch

Watch Chicago P.D. Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

But what happened to Rojas? Revisit her full story arc, including her departure that left fans wanting more.

When did Rojas join Chicago P.D.?

Vanessa Rojas (Lisseth Chavez) appears in Chicago P.D.

Fans first met Rojas when she was undercover as a bartender in Season 7, Episode 2 ("Assets.") Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) was seated at the bar with his suspect, Andre, complaining about relationships. Rojas jumped into their conversation: "No woman is asking you to save the world, and no good one is asking you to pay her bills," she said. 

Later in the episode, Atwater was able to witness Rojas in action when the suspects turned on them and started opening fire in public. One suspect hijacked a car, and Rojas shot at the vehicle, causing it to crash so that no one else was injured. 

Rojas's First Assignments 

Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and Vanessa Rojas (Lisseth Chavez) appear in Chicago P.D.

After seeing her policing skills, Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) offered Rojas a trial position on his Intelligence squad. In Season 7, Episode 3 ("Familia") she approached Desk Sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) who gave her a lukewarm welcome and her undercover documents. Rojas bemoaned her assigned undercover name, Maria Lopez, saying that it was a common, stereotypical Latina name, and Platt quickly pointed out that the thousands of Maria Lopezes would help her undercover persona be harder to search for. 

She immediately started on intense intelligence assignments, beginning with a carjacking that left a victim grievously injured and the perpetrator dead in his attempt to escape. She hadn't called for backup, which Voight reprimanded her for: "Not a good look on your first day." 

Rojas's Partnership with Hailey Upton

Vanessa Rojas (Lisseth Chavez) and Det. Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) appear in Chicago P.D.

Voight told Rojas she needed more experience with teamwork, so he paired her up with Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), splitting Upton from her ongoing partnership with Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer). Upton protested Voight's decision, but he told her "I need to evaluate Rojas and I know you'll shoot me straight. There are a lot of red flags."

He explained that, despite her red flags, Rojas tested well on policing evaluations and showed a great deal of promise. Luckily, Rojas proved to be a great selection for the team, winning over Upton and Voight's approval. 

Rojas and Upton quickly went from partners to friends: At the end of Episode 3, Upton went to tell Rojas she was officially on the Intelligence team, and found Rojas showering in the precinct bathroom. She mentioned that Rojas had not provided an address for her transfer paperwork and then said, "You don't have an address, do you?" Upon confirmation, Upton invited Rojas to be roommates. "Why don't you stay with me? We'll work it out," she said. 

Their bond strengthened throughout the season, with each of them having each other's back. Rojas was even a key factor behind Upton and Halstead's budding relationship: In Episode 10 ("Mercy"), Halstead was dealing with tragic injuries and Rojas came to accompany Upton in the hospital. "It's hard because you love him," she told Upton, seeing how rough Upton was doing in the waiting room. 

What happened to Rojas during the Chicago Fire and Chicago Med crossover?

​​​​​Throughout her time on the Intelligence Unit, Rojas had to use her keen instincts and even buddy up with perpetrators to gain their trust. She was also pivotal during the massive man-made pandemic in Chicago during a crossover episode series with Chicago Med and Chicago Fire (in P.D. Season 7, Episode 4, "Infection Part 3.")

The three-part "Infection" night began with Chicago Fire, when Firehouse 51 discovered a strange medical case while tailgating at a football game. Later, Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) was called to a gas station to investigate a woman who looked sick in her car, and they discovered that she was also a victim of the strange outbreak — thus getting the police department involved in the case. 

Voight tasked Rojas and the squad with finding the origin of the infection through the first man infected. "Until we get answers, this is the only case," he told them.

During the investigation, Rojas met a professor of research and discovered that a company called "BRT Health Industries" was connected to all of these cases in a strange way. She began diving into BRT and ultimately followed the trail to a man who had intentionally created the virus to teach BRT a lesson about investing in public health. They were able to stop the man from spreading the virus any further, saving countless victims.

Watch Rojas in Action

In Season 7, Episode 14 ("Center Mass") we witnessed an old case come back into her life, which led her to find a man who had murdered a homeless person to steal his identity. In a nail-biting scene, Rojas tried to befriend the suspect and worked to keep him safe, but ultimately had to keep herself and Upton safe. 

Later in the season, in Episode 18 ("Lines"), Rojas was part of a drug bust that led her to having to arrest her ex-boyfriend. While undercover, Rojas ran into the ex and he used her full name, causing the rest of the squad to fear for her safety. When Halstead went to intervene, Upton stopped him, saying they'd lose their lead if they pulled her out too quickly: "She can handle it." 

Rojas smartly ended up kissing him to distract him from revealing her identity.

But as the case went on, the squad realized he was connected to the larger drug ring, and Rojas tried to protect him from trouble. "I've known him since I was 8, he's always had my back," she told Upton. "He would never hurt anybody."

Unfortunately, even after Upton crossed ethical lines to try to help Rojas's ex, he could not be removed from the investigation and was ultimately arrested in front of Rojas. 

In the episode where the squad arrested Rojas's friend, Upton asked Rojas why her friend didn't know she was a cop. "People in your life know that you're a cop, right?" Upton said. "I don't really have a lot of people," Rojas told her. 

Rojas's Mysterious Personal Life

In Episode 14 ("Center Mass") fans finally got a bit more background as to why Rojas didn't have a home or big community in Chicago. After she connected with her old foster care caseworker, it was revealed that Rojas herself had been in the system and had actually lived in 32 different homes as a child. 

What happened to Rojas on Chicago P.D.?

 At the end of Season 7, it was clear that Rojas had built her way up the ranks and gained Voight's trust. Unfortunately, her earned Intelligence position did not come to fruition, as she did not return to the squad for Season 8.

Rojas's departure, however, was not discussed on the show. Showrunner Rick Eid told TV Line, "“We tried to address it in the premiere, but it felt forced." (Lisseth Chavez took on a role in another series, DC's Legends of Tomorrow.)