For four seasons, The Rookie fanbase has been following the relationship between characters Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neill) and Tim Bradford (Eric Winter), affectionately coined as “Chenford” (or “Tucy”) by shippers. These two captured our hearts with their opposing personalities in the very first episode.
Initially partnered as a rookie and training officer, their relationship slowly evolved into a protective and caring friendship. As fans eagerly ride along to what is hopefully a slow-burn towards a romantic relationship, we’ve decided to list our favorite Chenford moments so far.
Tim Passes His Promotion For Lucy
When Sergeant Grey told Tim he had passed his sergeant’s exam, it was Lucy who was obviously excited and beaming with pride. After all, she herself spent time recording audiobooks to help her TO prepare for the exam. However, at the end of the episode, we learn that Tim holds off on his promotion to finish training Lucy, despite Grey’s warning that this opportunity may not come again. Early during the series, we learn Tim doesn’t get attached to his rookies. He sees his role as a training officer only–it’s up to him to look out for his rookie and ensure they’re fully prepared to work patrol, something that he takes seriously. Tim halts his own career growth in order to help Lucy with hers.
This foundational moment is very indicative of Lucy and Tim’s mutual support of one another, which carried throughout the rest of the series. They prove just how much they mean to each other by pushing the other to do their best and by helping them achieve their goals.
Tim Blames Himself for Lucy’s Kidnapping
Although it’s not surprising that Tim would rather focus on patrol than discuss personal lives, he doesn’t seem particularly keen to offer his input when Lucy expresses romantic interest in Emmett. He questions to why Lucy she would want to hear what he thinks, admitting to her that he blames himself for her kidnapping since it was his advice that led her to Caleb.
Lucy immediately and emphatically responds that neither she or Tim were at fault for Caleb’s actions, making it clear to her TO that he shouldn’t harbor any feelings of guilt. Lucy knows that this is thought that must have been consuming him, and she does her best to alleviate his worries. She reveals to Bradford that she asks for his opinion because it’s important to her, and he is visibly touched. The moment is short-lived, however, as he quickly dismisses Emmett, stating, “You can do better.”
As much as Bradford claims to not want to get involved in his rookie’s personal life, he sure does get protective when it comes to her romantic prospects. He may talk himself into believing that he’s just looking out for Lucy, but Chenford fans would bet it’s a different reason.
Lucy’s Repetitive Pranks
Stealing Tim’s money clip, leaving him to close her bill, gifting him a flour bomb, and stuffing baby booties in his locker–given Bradford’s no-nonsense and tough approach, you’d think Lucy Chen has a death wish with her pranks. As amusing it is to see Lucy gain the upper hand over Tim, her pranks also display their unique dynamic. Even though Bradford is intense, especially in the initial stages of her training, Lucy feels comfortable enough to stand up to her TO while simultaneously engage a playful cheek.
It’s daring enough that he respects it, and he allows it. She’s just so bubbly and charismatic, he never expects the pranks, but his reactions often follow with a small smile that’s usually only reserved for Lucy. It’s proof that the man has a sense of humor; however, only Lucy knows how to melt that hardened exterior without receiving his wrath.
Lucy Gives Bradford Her Dog
As emotionally traumatized as she was, Lucy Chen was not capable of taking care of a dog. I hate saying it, because if you know Lucy Chen, you know how much of caring, attentive, and generous type of person she is. But Kojo (the dog’s name) and Lucy were not a great fit. As great as Lucy’s intentions were to provide Kojo a home, Kojo did everything within his abilities to make sure there was nothing left of the home. Lucy ultimately decides she is not ready to take care of Kojo, and it’s revealed that Tim adopts Kojo.
Despite realizing she could no longer look after Kojo, you know Lucy Chen would be the type of person to fret over whether Kojo was placed in a good home. She would ensure that he would be well-taken care of and loved after. Placing the dog with Tim shows just how much she trusts him. She places her trust with him every day while at work, and now that trust extends to beyond work, showing just how highly she thinks of him. We also see a softer side to Tim, since he told Lucy he didn’t think having a dog was a good idea. (Does this technically mean Chenford are unofficial co-puppy parents? We’ll take it.)
For What? Doing My Job?
These two sure love being there for each other and claiming that they’re just doing their job. When Chen gets stabbed by a used needle, Tim whisks her off to the hospital to get tested and ensures she’s seen by hospital staff immediately. Chen is noticeably freaking out about potentially having HIV or Hep C as a cop, but Tim reminds her that it changes nothing and fearing the outcome isn’t going to change the results on the bloodwork. Albeit a quick moment, Tim lowers down the TO intensity to comfort Lucy. She later thanks Tim, who brushes it off as him just doing his job.
Lucy later throws back those same words when he thanks her for saving his job. After the two get into a collision on the road, Tim is facing a demotion and is disinvited to an upcoming plaque ceremony. Lucy investigates and realizes they rear-ended an insurance scammer. Lucy is able to get a confession from the scammer, which saves Tim’s ass and allows him to get his award, after all.
Whether life-threatening or career-ending, there’s no doubt Chenford will do what they can do to help each other.
Tim Tells Lucy She’s a Survivor, Not a Victim
After Lucy’s kidnapping, she understandably is counting off the days she can get rid of her ‘Day of Death’ tattoo and is struggling coping with the trauma. While she does her best to cover the tattoo up, Tim takes a moment to let Lucy see a new perspective: she’s not a victim, she’s a survivor, and that the tattoo represents the first day of the rest of her life. He then pulls out her ring he found, demonstrating to her that her actions saved her life and revealing to her that he’s the one who found her.
At this moment, Lucy understands that Tim always has her back. He’s not there just to tell her she will be okay. He knows she has the strength to be okay, and his words help diminish the trauma she’s experiencing and help her see that her low point doesn’t define her.
This one’s pretty obvious on this list. After Lucy goes missing, Tim makes it his personal mission to wreak havoc all over LA to get any type of clue he can to find Lucy. Even though we see him at his most volatile, it’s quite clear that Tim is struggling and needs support from his friends. He calls Angela for help on her day off and doesn’t bother demonstrating his usual level-headedness.
When they do find her, it’s Tim who spots her ring and digs her out with his bare hands. He holds her in a comforting embrace as she sobs in his arms. He stays with her all night at the hospital, even bringing her favorite food. I don’t have to explain anything here, it speaks for itself. Even people who don’t watch the show shipped Chenford at this moment. Moving on to the last one.
Lucy and Tim Share a Late-Night Embrace
Yeah, so I’m pretty sure this moment is when the Chenford shippers lost their sh*t. After Angela’s kidnapping and Jackson’s death, she stays the night at Tim’s rather than go back to her apartment alone. He comforts her, and there’s a hug, if that’s what you want to call it.
Their arms continue to linger over each other as they break apart from their embrace, and they both look into each other’s eyes as if about to kiss. Unfortunately, the little bitch known as sense snaps into their thoughts and they awkwardly break apart. As they both lie down too restlessly in bed, we see them struggle as they reflect over what just happened.
Whatever Lucy is thinking is enough to make her get up and head towards his room, only for her to chicken out as he heads out with an update on Angela. So close. It’s such a tease, but it’s also the closest the viewers have gotten to them acting on any romantic feelings they have towards one another. However, it illustrates the evolution of Chenford’s relationship. Tim is able to talk to Lucy directly, rather than ask about her well-being from others, and he is open about his concerns of her being alone. In turn, Lucy is able to turn to him for comfort and caring with no hesitation.
You’re Nothing Like Him
Aside from Tim’s marital issues with Isabel way back in season one, we never really got a closer look at Tim’s background, despite mentions of an abusive childhood. Season four finally introduced us to Tim’s sister and his abusive father. Although he doesn’t want to contact his dying father, Tim eventually confronts him after learning his father’s true motives for killing their neighbor years ago.
Tim receives some closure, but he doesn’t fully forgive his father, nor does he repair his fractured relationship with him. Tim walks away, stating that he hopes his father’s death “hurts” before meeting Lucy outside in the hall. It’s a rare and vulnerable moment for Tim as he opens up to Lucy after dodging all her previous offers to talk about his past. You visibly see the pain as Tim addresses the hurt from his father not being there for Tim and his sister, but choosing to protect the women he was having an affair with and for all the years of abuse.
Furthermore, you also see how Lucy’s earlier comments about Tim Tests have been weighing on him. Lucy was joking, but to Tim, it was important for Lucy to know that he was not like his father. It’s his way of telling himself, as well as Lucy, that he would be his own man in spite of his father, one that never abandons the people he loves or hurts them. Lucy immediately affirms to Tim that he’s nothing like his father and pulls him in an embrace. It’s a lovely moment in their friendship that shows just how far they’ve come since season one and how their bond has only gotten stronger. It’s a sign of the comfort they feel in each other’s presence as it showcases that they’re each other’s safe space. A place to fall and a person to rely on when everything else is too dark.
Tim and Lucy Finally Dance
Of course, we’re covering this moment in our list. Chenford fans finally got to see Tim and Lucy share a dance Lucy promised Tim in the season three finale. Although it was relatively brief, it was a sweet moment that left not only Lucy touched but viewers as well. Earlier in the episode, we saw Lucy struggling with Bradford being credited with all their arrests because he was the superior officer. Understandably, Lucy just wants recognition for her achievements and wants to advance in her career. When she shares her frustration, Tim seems unbothered and gives a typical Bradford brush-it-off response.
However, when the two slow dance (during noticeably upbeat music), Tim reveals that he thinks Lucy is a good cop and probably in the top five best that he’s trained. He lets her know that he wants her to succeed. As a result, he informs Lucy she’ll be listed as the arresting officer for their cases, stating that she deserves the recognition. Tim puts Lucy first, and his act reveals that he sincerely listens when she speaks and respects her feelings, even if he doesn’t always think on the same page. Furthermore, he has encouraged her to be a better cop and utilized every resource at his disposal to make sure she can achieve her goals. This slow, quietly loud moment ultimately brings a new meaning to having your partner’s back.
-Tim asks Lucy to save her a dance. (We saw him give her that once-over)
-“You don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me.”
-Lucy is jealous of Tim’s new rookie
-Lucy flirts with Tim undercover
Seeing as Chenford is going to stay in the slow-burn direction, I can’t wait to see all the other moments we have upcoming. Whether romantic or not, the moments these two have together are joyous to watch, and that’s largely in part due to Melissa O’Neill’s and Eric Winter’s incredible chemistry. Their portrayals of their characters, whether together or alone, are definitely a highlight of the show.
I’m sure there are lots more moments that you fellow Chenford shippers love, so if there’s anything I’ve left out, I’d love to hear it in the comments below. And don’t forget to catch The Rookie Sundays at 10PM!
Born and raised in Los Angeles. Fluent in sarcasm and film references.