Why Alexa Rivera From Chicago P.D. Looks So Familiar
Throughout its nine-season run, “Chicago P.D.” has proven itself to be a major hit, joining with “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire,” and the now-canceled “Chicago Justice” to form the “One Chicago” group of shows. The show, which follows the members of the 21st District of the Chicago Police Department, is co-created by television giant Dick Wolf, who is also behind the “Law & Order” franchise.
Several characters and performers have come and gone through the show throughout its run, with some endearing themselves to fans more than others. One such character is Alexa Rivera, who made her first appearance in the seventh season of “Chicago P.D.,” in the season’s third episode, titled “Familia.” Many fans were left wondering where they recognized the performer, as it was the character’s first appearance in both the show and the larger “One Chicago” universe. Alexa was played by Lisa Vidal, an actor with a lengthy career in showbiz. Here’s where you might have seen her before.
Vidal started with a major role on a show co-created by Spielberg in the 90s
Lisa Vidal started her career in television, nabbing in guest roles on shows such as “The Cosby Show,” “Miami Vice,” and “Law & Order.” However, her first recurring role came in 1994 in the Fox series “New York Undercover,” where she played Carmen Torres, a newspaper reporter, and sister of Detective Eddie Torres (Michael DeLorenzo). Vidal appeared in seven episodes over the show’s first two seasons.
In 1996, Vidal jumped to another police procedural in the form of the ABC series “High Incident,” which was co-created by Steven Spielberg (via IMDb). Vidal joined the show as a series regular in its second season, making her debut as Officer Jessica Helgado in its premiere, alongside fellow cast member Blair Underwood. The show, however, was not renewed after its second season. The series finale was based on the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout, and Vidal spoke about how re-creating the incident hit home for her, as the shootout took place close to where she lived and where her son went to school (via The Los Angeles Times).
Vidal pulled double duty across two shows in the early aughts
Lisa Vidal went on from “High Incident” to several TV movies, including a 1998 remake of “The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three,” where she played Babs Cardoza alongside Edward James Olmos and Vincent D’Onofrio. Vidal also briefly jumped to sitcoms in 1998, playing Julie in the short-lived CBS sitcom “The Brian Benben Show.”
2001 marked a key year in Vidal’s career, as she made her first appearance in the long-running NBC medical drama “ER.” Her character debuted in Season 8, where she played Sandy Lopez. A firefighter by trade, Lopez is the girlfriend of ER doctor Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes). Weaver makes their relationship public later that same season, and the two ultimately have a child named Henry Lopez in Season 10, which was also Vidal’s last season on the show.
During this time, however, Vidal also had a leading role in the Lifetime police procedural “The Division,” which focused on a group of five women who were detectives and police officers in San Francisco. Vidal, who played Inspector Magda Ramirez, co-starred alongside Bonnie Bedelia, Jon Hamm, Amy Jo Johnson, and Taraji P. Henson throughout the show’s four seasons. The show was ultimately canceled in 2004, which was when Vidal’s time on “ER” also came to an end.
Vidal was a key part of a science fiction series in 2010
Lisa Vidal continued to appear in guest turns on major TV shows, showing up as Irma Levine on Season 2 of the ABC legal dramedy “Boston Legal.” She also appeared on procedurals such as “Without A Trace” and “CSI: Miami” and had a brief role in the 2009 science-fiction blockbuster “Star Trek” as an unnamed Barracks Officer.
Vidal landed her next regular role in the NBC science fiction mystery series “The Event,” which reunited her with Laura Innes and Blair Underwood. In the series, which focuses on aliens on Earth and the United States government’s response to them, Vidal played Christina Martinez, the First Lady, and wife of President Elias Martinez, played by Underwood.
Throughout the show’s first and only season, which began in 2010, Christina remains supportive of her husband as he discovers the presence of aliens kept captive by the government and elsewhere. When another senator brings up questions about Christina’s past to Elias, she tells him her family came to the United States illegally. However, the series finale reveals that there’s yet more to Christina’s story than she ever told anyone.
Vidal jumped over to BET for her next major role in the late 2010s
Following the cancellation of “The Event,” Lisa Vidal appeared in guest turns in the first season of FX’s “American Horror Story,” playing Stacey Ramos, and in the second season of NBC’s monster-hunting series “Grimm,” where she played DA Lauren Castro.
Vidal, however, did not have to wait for a long time for another lead role, this time on the BET drama series “Being Mary Jane.” Starring alongside Gabrielle Union and Richard Roundtree, Vidal played Kara Lynch, the executive producer of “Talk Back,” the fictional show Mary Jane (Union) hosts. Kara and Mary were good friends even out of their professional sphere and often confided in each other while Kara herself struggled to balance her work life and home life, having had two sons with her now ex-husband. Kara also had a sister named Lilly, played by Christina Vidal, Lisa’s real-life sister (via IMDb).
“Being Mary Jane” ran for four seasons, ultimately wrapping up with a film finale that aired in 2019.
Vidal appeared in two shows on ABC in the 2020s
Lisa Vidal did not rest on her laurels while working on “Being Mary Jane” and appeared in the Fox police procedural “Rosewood” in a recurring role. Playing Daisy Villa, Vidal appeared in episodes across both of the show’s two seasons and starred alongside Morris Chestnut. The duo would also appear together on “Being Mary Jane” (per IMDb).
Vidal moved to ABC in 2020 for a supporting role in the romantic comedy series “The Baker and the Beauty.” The show, adapted from an Israeli series (via IMDb), saw Vidal play Mari Garcia, the matriarch of the Garcia family, whose eldest son, a baker named Daniel (Victor Rasuk), develops a romantic relationship with a famous model.
Vidal also remained with ABC for another series, appearing in Season 17 of the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” in a recurring role. Vidal played Dr. Alma Ortiz, who ended up at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for her residency alongside her daughter, Dr. Sara Ortiz (Melissa DuPrey), as they were both in med school at the same time. She becomes a vital part of the hospital’s efforts to fight COVID-19 before ultimately taking her residency to Boston.