Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios is an inexperienced prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office working under DDA Hobbs' supervision, tasked with preparing the case against Phillip Stroh.
The squad, especially Sharon Raydor, dislikes her due to her attitude towards Rusty Beck in which she treats him poorly and tries repeatedly to have him removed from Raydor's custody. She also has a dislike for blood and is shown to be squeamish to their annoyance.
At first, Julio Sanchez has a crush on her, but eventually stops liking her for her attitude. After she stands up to Judge Steven Grove, Julio takes her out for a coffee, but nothing ever comes of it and the crush is never shown again.
Over the course of the series, Rios' attitude softens a little as shown with her standing up to a judge and in “Pick Your Poison”, staying out of the decision-making over Rusty's future, telling him she's trying to be "less annoying."
During “Special Master Part One” and “Special Master Part Two”, Rios deals with Phillip Stroh's efforts to make a deal by giving them the serial killer known as Burning Man. After Stroh escapes after leaving them a clue, Rios looks through Stroh's old cases and is able to identify Burning Man as Markos Christakis. Rios is the one who ultimately figures out where Christakis is located, pointing out to the police that an address in his file matches the area they believe Christakis to be operating in.
Following Stroh's escape, Rios no longer appears as a DDA working with Major Crimes.
In “By Any Means, Part 1”, Rios attends Commander Sharon Raydor's funeral and gives her condolences to Provenza. Rios reveals that she has information that Phillip Stroh has returned to LA and asks to discuss it with Provenza at a later time. Rios points out her bodyguards when Provenza worries about her safety and admits that she's more worried about Rusty than herself.
That night, Rios goes for a late-night swim, unaware that Stroh is waiting for her at the bottom of her pool in scuba gear. Stroh drags Rios to the bottom of the pool and holds her underwater as she attempts to struggle. Eventually, Rios drowns and the LAPD investigates her death. While its initially ruled as an accidental drowning, Provenza realizes that Stroh murdered Rios after their conversation at Sharon's funeral. On Rios' hard drive, the squad finds a medical report sent to Rios from an Interpol agent showing that Stroh has terminal lung cancer. However, they are unaware that the file and the "agent" were actually Stroh's accomplice Dylan Baxter.
In “By Any Means, Part 3”, after the identity and activities of Dylan are exposed, the true nature of the file planted on Emma's hard drive is discovered. The detectives realize that Emma was murdered in order to draw their attention to the file as part of Stroh's plot to get his mother's money.
- While Rios appears as the main DDA during season 2 even while working the Phillip Stroh case, her only other appearances are in “Special Master Part One”, “Special Master Part Two” and “By Any Means, Part 1”. No explanation is ever given for why Rios no longer works as the main DDA with Major Crimes in the third season and after.
- Despite their turbulent history with Rios, the Major Crimes detectives are obviously upset by her murder with Andrea Hobbs being reduced to tears.
- In her final appearance, Rios seemed to be less self-absorbed and more caring than she was during her previous appearances. Notably, she was genuinely worried for Rusty Beck's safety and not just because he was her witness as in the past. Rios even admitted to fearing for Rusty's safety above her own. Along with this, despite their previous differences, Major Crimes were deeply upset with her murder on a personal level.
- While her murder is discussed, its mentioned that Rios is an accomplished swimmer.
- “Final Cut”
- “False Pretenses”
- “I, Witness”
- “Boys Will Be Boys”
- “Rules of Engagement”
- “The Deep End”
- “Poster Boy”
- “Pick Your Poison”
- “All In”
- “Risk Assessment”
- “Year-End Blowout”
- “Return to Sender”
- “Return to Sender Part 2”
|Characters — Major Crimes|
|Sharon Raydor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • Julio Sanchez • Amy Sykes • Wes Nolan • Camila Paige • Buzz Watson • Rusty Beck • Russell Taylor • Leo Mason • Fritz Howard • Dr. Fernando Morales • Andrea Hobbs • Kendall|