|Days of our Lives character|
|Portrayed by||Galen Gering|
|First appearance||October 31, 2008|
|Created by||Dena Higley and Christopher Whitesell|
|Introduced by||Ken Corday and Gary Tomlin|
On August 29, 2008, it was announced that Gering had been cast in the role of Rafe, an "...FBI agent who comes to Salem working on a special case" and who would "...cross paths with Sami Brady". Prior to his casting on Days, Gering had portrayed the fan favourite character Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald on the NBC daytime soap opera Passions from July 5, 1999 to August 8, 2008, when the series ended its nine year run. Gering made his first appearance on Days on October 31, 2008.
In October 2008, Federal Agent Rafe Hernandez arrived in Salem to relay information to Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) and her guard, who had been assigned to her as part of the witness protection program. As Sami had become increasingly agitated by her isolation, she had slipped sleeping pills to her guard and knocking her unconscious. As a result, Rafe was permanently assigned to guard Sami, with whom he initially had a combative relationship. As time went on, however, Rafe and Sami began to form a friendship. While Rafe kept fairly quiet about his personal life, he did tell Sami that as a young child, he frequented a local convent due to his troubling behavior. Rafe became one of the very few people to learn that Sami was pregnant with the child of E.J. DiMera (James Scott), and agreed to help her conceal this fact. As time went on, Rafe began to develop feelings for Sami and after her stint in Witness Protection ended, he actively pursued a position within the Salem Police Department so he might remain close to Sami and her baby. Rafe also began to reconnect with his younger sister, Arianna (then Felisha Terrell), who had concerns over his involvement with Sami. Despite Arianna's disapproval, Rafe continued to pursue Sami and asked her if he could legally adopt her baby, who they had named Grace. Tragically, several months later, Grace died from complications due to bacterial meningitis, leaving Sami and Rafe utterly devastated.
Following Grace's death, Sami began to observe an emotional distance in Rafe and came to discover him at the graveside of a woman named Emily Hudson. Rafe revealed to Sami that he was once engaged to marry Emily, but she died on the day of their wedding in a tragic accident. When Sami began to investigate Rafe's past, which he would not elaborate upon, she turned up very little. Shortly afterwards, Emily's vengeful sister Meredith arrived in Salem, and after kidnapping Rafe, she attempted to kill him as she held him responsible for Emily's death. Rafe was rescued by Carly Manning (Crystal Chappell), who had recently returned to Salem following over fifteen years away. Following his recovery, Rafe began to actively investigate Nicole Walker (Arianne Zuker), as he developed a theory that she had switched Grace with Sami's biological child. After collecting DNA samples from Sami, and the child, Sydney, Rafe was able to perform a DNA test and confirm that Sydney was in fact Sami's daughter. With Nicole's scheme exposed, she responded by abducting Sydney and leaving Salem. While she was on the run, Nicole encountered Anna Fredericks (Leann Hunley), who in turn kidnapped Sydney from Nicole. Anna began sending ransom notes to Sami, threatening her not involve the police. As a result Sami began confiding in E.J. and leaving Rafe in the dark, resulting in Rafe ending their relationship.
Despite the end of his relationship with Sami, Rafe continued to investigate Sydney's abduction and became convinced that Anna was working alongside E.J. Despite his efforts to convince Anna to turn on E.J., Rafe was unsuccessful. By chance, Rafe observed a suspicious conversation between E.J. and Nicole on the Salem Pier that seemed to strengthen his theory. Rafe became convinced that E.J. had confessed his involvement in the abduction to Nicole and could somehow persuade her to reveal his involvement. In an effort to gain her confession, Rafe attempted to convince Nicole he was interested in her. After a few drinks at The Cheatin' Heart, Nicole and Rafe headed back to her apartment, and stopped short of sleeping together. He remained the night anyway, and used this time to search Nicole's apartment for evidence to incriminate E.J. in Sydney's abduction, eventually stumbling upon a recording of E.J. admitting to paying Anna to kidnap Sydney. Rafe confronted Nicole with the recording, and assured her immunity from prosecution should she authenticate the recording.
During Rafe's investigation into Sydney's kidnapping, E.J. and Sami had reconnected and were engaged to be married. On their wedding day, Rafe aired the recording of E.J.'s confession at their ceremony, resulting in Sami leaving E.J. Rafe and Sami reunited, resulting in him proposing to her. As they spent the night together, Sami snuck out intent on confronting E.J., whom she found unconscious and holding a gun. Sami used the gun to shoot E.J. in the head, and then proceeded to toss it into the river. When Sami's uncle, Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) questioned her about E.J.'s shooting, Rafe insisted that Sami was with him at the time of the shooting. Sami confessed her involvement in E.J.'s shooting to Rafe, and despite his dedication to the law, Rafe handed in his resignation to the FBI and swore to protect Sami at all costs. E.J. soon discovered Sami's guilt in his shooting, and began blackmailing her for sole custody of their two children, Johnny and Sydney. If she refused his demands, he would turn her, as well as Rafe and her eldest son, Will Horton (then Chandler Massey) in as accessories to attempted murder. With her back against the wall, a devastated Sami agreed to E.J.'s demands. Rafe assured Sami that he would do whatever he had to to help her regain custody of the children, and in order to have one last happy memory before the hard times to follow, suggested they have the wedding that night. Sami agreed, and she and Rafe were married on November 24, 2010.
Following their wedding, Rafe joined the Salem Police Department and began actively investigating E.J, hoping to uncover evidence against him and send him to prison. Rafe's investigation was quickly stalled, when it was discovered that Johnny had cancer. Rafe stood by Sami throughout the cancer ordeal, especially when Johnny needed to have one of his eyes removed. Johnny's cancer was discovered to have spread to his remaining eye, but as the doctors had caught it in time, they were able to treat it and spare his vision. With Johnny's crisis averted, E.J. began to allow Sami back into her children's lives. However, Rafe continued to remain in E.J.'s crosshairs.
- Kroll, Dan (August 29, 2008). "Days of our Lives Gering up for two Passions stars". Soap Central. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- "Happy Hallowe'en Detective". Soaps. October 31, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2014.