Rhonda Boney is so tough, so thoroughly committed to the law, that if she and Law and Order: SVU's Olivia Benson went up against each other on Fictional Chick Detectives Death Match, we think Boney could probably take her. She's not that good looking—in fact Nick calls her "surprisingly ugly" (5.16), and Amy, after she fakes her return from Desi's, says she has a hand like "a cold bird claw" (54.1)—but beauty was never a requirement for being a tough, take-no-prisoners law enforcement official.
Rhonda's personal life isn't the focus of her character, but it does provide an interesting layer to her presence in the story. She's been through a bad marriage herself. When she and Gilpin take Nick to the woodshed (literally) to show him the pornography collection Amy bought in his name, she mentions catching her husband with porn. Her husband's defense upon the discovery of his transgression? "Men are highly visual" (45.41). She's also got a teenaged daughter named Mia (59.5), so life can't exactly be easy (no offense, teenaged Shmoopsters).
Given that she's been cheated on and has the added history of being a single mom of a daughter, it's easy to see why Boney would push for resolution to Amy's case the way she does.
Rhonda's also one tough cookie when it comes to girl power and equality. When she and Gilpin go to Nick's house to confront him about the credit card bills, Gilpin talks about how he has a traditional marriage where his wife does the housework while he goes out to "catch the bad guys." When he asks Rhonda if she did housework when she was married, she snaps back, "I catch bad guys, too, idiot" (23.91-92). Her feminist attitude is the complete opposite of the misogyny Nick grew up around from his father, which could be one reason why he's so uncomfortable around her.
What's super interesting, though, are her feelings about Nick. On one hand, she gets pretty aggressive with him, like when she confronts him about the staged crime scene in the living room—but on the other, she doesn't seem to want him to be guilty. "You do know I'm on your side, right, Nick?" (35.13), she asks the morning after Amy's pregnancy is confirmed, adding, "I know that sounds like a cop line, but it's the truth" (35.15). And though her suspicions grow at a point, Boney is still kind to Nick, bringing coffee and such when she comes to see him.
When Rhonda stays with Amy during the medical examination after her return, Amy basically confirms our suspicion that Rhonda hopes Nick is innocent. Amy says, "She breaks into a grin when she thinks I'm not looking. She is absolutely thrilled that Nick isn't a bad guy after all" (54.1). Hey, Amy—you know what? We kinda are too.
Tanner Bolt, Nick's lawyer, also confirms this attitude. "I think Boney isn't convinced you're a killer," he tells Nick. "She has a good reputation as a cop who's actually fair. Who has good instincts" (41.63). Thank goodness, too, because the evidence is stacked high against Nick for most of the book. Without Boney at the helm, there's no telling how things might have gone for our main man.