|First Appearance||“False Pretenses”|
|Final Appearance||“Conspiracy Theory, Part 3”|
|Played by||Noah Weisberg|
Roland Jennings is a young defense attorney that appears throughout Major Crimes.
Jennings was known to DDA Emma Rios as a public defender she had come up against several times. According to Rios, Jennings was always good at his job when he came up against her in court.
In “False Pretenses”, Jennings is assigned as the public defender for Tyler Allen, a young man who committed a series of robberies and a double homicide that he disguised as a murder-suicide. As part of a tactic created by Captain Sharon Raydor, Tyler was only charged with the four robberies they were aware of and Rios negotiated a deal with Jennings for a four year sentence in the case. Jennings allowed his client to confess and take the deal offered by Rios on the robberies.
Once the deal was made, the Major Crimes Division revealed to Jennings and Tyler that Tyler had just confessed to stealing the murder weapon in a double homicide. The protesting Jennings was informed that the crime scene had an attempted robbery that matched his client's MO and Jennings listened in shock as Julio Sanchez described the horrific murders Tyler had committed. As Tyler claimed he committed the murders in a panic, Jennings stared at his client in complete horror at what he had done and remained behind in the interrogation room as Tyler was led away. DDA Rios announced she intended to put Tyler Allen on trial with a death sentence and it is unknown if Jennings represented him.
In “Curve Ball”, Jennings is called upon to represent Luke Dalton, a man accused of double homicide and kidnapping over a year period. Jennings repeatedly argues that they have no jurisdiction in the murder of Mark Brooks which happened in Missouri, but Luke eventually confesses to his crimes in exchange for a deal of life without parole.
In “Chain Reaction”, Jennings is called in to defend a woman legally responsible for three murders, though she had only committed one herself. After the police reveal that they found the body of one of her victims in a cello case under her bed, Jennings told his client that he was trying to think up a better explanation but simply couldn't. She ultimately took a deal of life in prison rather than face a murder trial and a possible death sentence.
In “Dead Drop”, Jennings is called in to represent two drug smugglers from Arizona. DDA Andrea Hobbs agrees not to charge the two men and look the other way if they tell her about their boss. Jennings allows his clients to speak and they explain about "The Gardner" and their work for a man in Arizona. Once the information is verified, Hobbs lets them go, only to have them promptly arrested by the DEA for interstate drug smuggling. As that falls under DEA jurisdiction rather than the State of California's, Hobbs kept her word to Jennings and his clients. As his clients are taken away, Jennings can be heard loudly protesting the way they were misled.
In “Conspiracy Theory, Part 3”, Jennings appears at the public defender of a rape victim named Makisha Selby facing drug charges in Las Vegas. After the LAPD manages to get the charges dropped, Jennings encourages his client to cooperate, assuring Makisha that her rapist won't get away with it as there are also two murders involved. After she starts talking, Jennings watches her with a deep sympathy as she describes the rape. At one point, Jennings offers to finish the story himself to spare Makisha the trauma, but is informed that she has to do it.
Despite only being a public defender, Jennings is extremely good at his job, something noted by DDA Emma Rios when he first represents a suspect before the Major Crimes Division. Unlike most defense attorneys, Jennings doesn't act manipulative or hostile towards the DDAs and police detectives. Due to his youth, Jennings at times is somewhat naïve which allows him to occasionally be tricked to his clients' detriment.
When interacting with his clients and their stories, Jennings tends to show genuine emotion. He is often visibly shocked by the extent of the depravities his clients turn out to have committed and sympathetic to those who have genuinely suffered. In one case, Jennings went so far as to offer to finish his client's story to spare her the obvious trauma of reliving her rape.
- Tyler Allen (“False Pretenses”)
- Luke Dalton (“Curve Ball”)
- Melanie Jordan (“Chain Reaction”)
- Mr. Kravitz and Mr. Gerald (“Dead Drop”)
- Makisha Selby (“Conspiracy Theory, Part 3”)