Chicago PD star Lisseth Chavez came into her own in Lines. Look closer at her performance as Vanessa Rojas in Chicago PD season 7, episode 18.
Since her “Assets” debut, Rojas has gone from a fresh-faced undercover officer to a sharp, caring cop under the command of Hank Voight (Jason Beghe). But we haven’t gotten to know a lot about her personally—until now.
This week’s episode “Lines” let fans get a closer look at what made Vanessa Rojas the woman she is today, not to mention gave Lisseth Chavez the spotlight she deserved.
The on-screen and off-screen stories paralleled each other in a way: Rojas came in as the newbie of the Intelligence Unit, and Lisseth is the newest Chicago PD series regular. With this episode, she proved why she belongs as a regular, and gave us more reason to love her character Vanessa.
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In “Lines,” what began as a murder investigation turned into a major sting operation that put Rojas in the thick of things when she covered for her ex-boyfriend Luis Reyes. When he was revealed to be on a surveillance wire, Rojas made a rash decision to delete the incriminating evidence.
What made the episode unique and interesting was Rojas’s journey. In the span of one episode, she went from a level-headed policewoman to a young woman stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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We’ve only briefly gotten a glimpse into her past throughout Chicago PD season 7. The most recent dive took place in “Center Mass” when she opened up a little bit to her partner Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) about having been in foster care.
But “Lines” delved deeper, which allowed Lisseth to really flesh out each side of Vanessa. This ultimately made her into a multi-faceted character that translated beautifully onscreen.
While the entire episode gave us looks into Rojas’ former self, it wasn’t so much the past that made her vulnerability heartbreaking to watch. It was the way in which that tragic past impacted her present—both as a woman who used to be in love, and for her career as a cop.
A fantastic example of this came from a scene towards the end, where Rojas broke the unfortunate news to Luis that his plea deal didn’t end up working out. When he shot daggers at her and said he didn’t know her anymore, Chicago PD viewers felt that hurt.
But what really hammered the moment home was the tearful confession that Rojas made in response to his words: “You know I never mattered to anyone growing up. Not until I met you. I took this job because of that. I wanted to matter…my life to matter.”
It was a sad reality that she had to face. She had lost the one person in her life that knew her demons and mistakes, and saw past all the flaws and imperfections. He had even taken a prison rap for her so she could walk away from prior carjackings free and clear. Now he was out of her life.
What Rojas didn’t realize was that Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) saw her importance. That’s why Upton went and planted drugs, ensuring that Luis would get his deal, and ultimately getting herself sent to New York by an infuriated Voight.
Rojas’s value to the unit is insurmountable, much like the energy Lisseth has infused into the cast of Chicago PD. Her charm and wit balance themselves wonderfully with Rojas’s gritty exterior, providing a lovely contrast that withstands each episode. Rojas is tough and vulnerable, which was brought out so well in Wednesday’s episode. Lisseth Chavez is a force to be reckoned with, and “Lines” only further cemented her talent.
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