Chicago PD season 8 finally casts Vanessa Rojas’ replacement

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Center Mass" Episode 714 -- Pictured: Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas-- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Center Mass" Episode 714 -- Pictured: Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas-- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Cleveland Berto is Chicago PD’s newest cast member.

Chicago PD season 8 has finally found its replacement for Vanessa Rojas.

Cleveland Berto has been cast to play Officer Jalen Walker, according to a report from Variety. Berto will immediately be a series regular when he appears later this season, though it’s not stated when he’ll be introduced.

That’s different from Lisseth Chavez, who was billed as a recurring cast member when she was brought aboard as Officer Vanessa Rojas and then quickly promoted to regular.

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Chavez was not asked to return for Chicago PD season 8, and the show has yet to offer any kind of explanation for Rojas’ departure—or even acknowledge the character’s absence.

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Berto’s character Walker is completely opposite from Rojas, who had a rough backstory. Instead, he’s described as a “golden boy” who opted to work for the Chicago Police Department instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. He almost sounds a little too perfect, listed as “[an] athlete, smart, family man [and] scholar.”

His casting will give Chicago PD another African-American series regular; LaRoyce Hawkins‘ Kevin Atwater was the only Black main character on the show for years until Rojas, who was biracial. As race relations are once again at the forefront of the series this season, having another perspective other than Atwater’s could be beneficial.

But the actual character of Jalen Walker is a big question mark. Other than sounding near-perfect, how is he going to fit in with Intelligence, which is a very rough-and-tumble organization? Are we going to have another Hailey Upton situation, where a cop with a great reputation comes into the unit and eventually changes almost completely?

Or is Walker going to be that contrary voice that the unit desperately needs to broaden the show’s storytelling? Plus, will the fans embrace him?

Only time will tell—and hopefully he’ll be retained for more than one season.

Like Lisseth Chavez, Cleveland Berto joins the One Chicago universe in what will be his biggest role to date. This will be the first time he’s appeared in more than one episode of a TV show since 2015 when he was in The Story of Miya. His more recent credits include smaller roles in Casual, Lucifer and Terminator: Dark Fate. You can check out his filmography here.

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For the latest Chicago PD season 8 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago PD category at One Chicago Center.