‘Chicago P.D.’ Showrunner Admits Vanessa Rojas’ Exit ‘Felt Forced’: ‘We Tried to Address It’

Chicago P.D. Season 9 is well underway, and fans are heavily invested in what goes down with the Chicago P.D. cast. But many fans are still thinking about Vanessa Rojas’ departure, as they’re unsure why actor Lisseth Chavez left the show. It seems the show’s production team also knew their way of dealing with Rojas leaving the show “felt forced.” Here’s what the showrunner had to say about the ordeal.

What happened to Vanessa Rojas on ‘Chicago P.D.’?

'Chicago P.D.' cast members Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas and LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater
Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas and LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater in ‘Chicago P.D.’ | Matt Dinerstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Vanessa Rojas entered the scene during Chicago P.D. Season 7. She initially met Kevin Atwater, a Chicago P.D. cast member loved by fans well into season 9. They were both undercover cops at a bar, and once they realized they were both concealing their true identities, they hit it off. Rojas was offered a spot in the Intelligence Unit. Throughout the season, fans learned more about Rojas’ difficult childhood, too.

So, what happened to Vanessa Rojas on Chicago P.D.? While fans saw a romance with Kevin Atwater forming, that was abruptly cut short. One of her final scenes showed her helping to arrest someone involved with a gun-running operation with Atwater by her side. Deadline reports the production team chose to quickly wrap up Rojas’ storyline and continue without her in Chicago P.D. Season 8.

“Because the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cut last season of Chicago P.D. short, Rojas’ storyline did not get a proper conclusion and the character’s exit will have to be addressed at the start of next season,” Deadline reported at the time.

The showrunner knew Vanessa Rojas’ exit ‘felt forced’ to fans

'Chicago P.D.' cast members Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas and Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton
Lisseth Chavez as Vanessa Rojas and Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton | Matt Dinerstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Fans noticed Lisseth Chavez’s time on the show as a Chicago P.D. cast member felt abruptly cut off after season 7. And it seems production knew as well. Showrunner Rick Eid talked to TVLine back in November 2020 about Vanessa Rojas’ exit.

“It’s always hard to say goodbye to a character,” Eid noted. “We tried to address it in the premiere, but it felt forced. In other words, we’re still working on it.”

It’s unlikely fans will hear more about Vanessa Rojas’ departure in Chicago P.D. Season 9. Now, Kevin Atwater found a new love interest in episode 5, and it seems to have serious promise for the character.

“He meets a dynamic young woman, and their bond is fun and really unique,” Eid mentioned in another interview with TVLine. “For Atwater, it’s a welcome, needed respite. It also becomes this safe space for the pair to be their true selves. But of course, things will be complicated, as any relationship on this show tends to be. It’ll be a great ride for his character.”

Could Lisseth Chavez return as Vanessa Rojas in ‘Chicago P.D.’ Season 9?

Lisseth Chavez as Officer Vanessa Rojas
Lisseth Chavez as Officer Vanessa Rojas | Matt Dinerstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

So, will Lisseth Chavez return as Vanessa Rojas in Chicago P.D. Season 9? While fans still want answers as to what exactly went down with Rojas in the show, we doubt she’ll return. Chavez joined the cast of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, One Chicago Center reports, so it’s highly unlikely she’s looking to come back to P.D. And the writers haven’t mentioned her at all in the new season. Instead, fans remain focused on what’s going on with Hailey Upton and Jay Halstead as well as Kim Burgess and Adam Ruzek.

Chicago P.D. cast members could certainly return in the future, though, so we don’t want to rule anything out yet. Plus, Rojas returning would add more complexity to Kevin Atwater’s current relationship situation. But for now, we won’t hold our breath.

Chicago P.D. Season 9 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.

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