Roman burst into Salem in 1982. The detective was assigned to protect Dr. Marlena Evans from the Salem Strangler, who turned out to be Jake Kositchek. For a long time, they denied their feelings for each other. Eventually, they got engaged, but Roman's supposedly dead wife (the one he forgot to mention) returned right when Roman and Marlena were supposed to get married. She also brought along their daughter, Carrie. Roman was in quite a bind there. He thought she had died after their whirlwind courtship, where in fact, she had run away, and claimed to have been taken into white slavery. Roman and Marlena married soon after that and she became pregnant Too bad she thought he was dead. He wasn't, and soon returned to her after his undercover operation was over.
After a scuffle with Stefano, Roman was presumed dead and a widowed Marlena was left to raise their two children along with Carrie. About two years after the death of Roman, the Pawn, John Black, came to Salem. He had lots of bandages and no memory. After a long examination process, Marlena realized that this man was Roman. John lived as Roman for almost 5 years. Marlena was presumed dead a year after John's return, and he was left to care for Sami, Eric, and Carrie.
The real Roman was discovered on a Mexican island, a prisoner for many years. Roman returned confused and disappointed that this man, John, had lead his life for so many years and had all the relationships he was supposed to have. Roman resumed his life, and John tried to forage a new existence for himself with Isabella, who died a year after the marriage. Roman and Marlena tried to have a good life together, but it was hampered by Roman's frequent undercover work, and his near-death at the hands of his sister, Kimberly, who had developed a multiple personality disorder because of sexual abuse from their uncle Eric years earlier.
Even though they had a lot of differences, John and Roman became good friends, until John started sleeping with his wife, Marlena. Marlena conceived a baby, Belle, during this affair and thought he was the father. Little did she know that the newly returned Sami changed the blood test results. Sami eventually admitted to the deed and, after kidnapping the baby, was forgiven by her family. Roman didn't know what to do with his life. He pursued a divorce from Marlena and took a risky mission with the ISA. In 1997, he died one more time.
But, like it has happened before, Roman wasn't dead, just dying from a viral infection from the warfare that was taking place in South America. Stefano knew of the cure, but wouldn't reveal it until John broke him out of prison. Kristen brought Roman back on the wedding day of Marlena and John. Kristen had told Roman that Marlena was lonely, and with no man in her life, and that she and John were married. That wasn't the case, and she had set it up so that if John and Marlena were to tell him the truth, they would be breaking a dying man's heart, followed by enormous guilt. They kept up the ruse, longing for each other the whole time. Roman found out the truth on New Year's Eve 98, and went into cardiac arrest for such high amounts of stress. He was convinced that they were having another affair. He never revealed to them that he knew, and vowed to win Marlena back. He stepped out of the race for Marlena's heart after Belle swallowed penicillin. He realized that John and Marlena belonged together for their kids more than anything else.
Roman resumed his affair with Billie Reed while attempting to prove that Sami was innocent of Franco Kelly's murder. Just as Sami was being freed, Billie was leaving town. Roman was left alone, with a lot of time to think about the past, and what he realized was that he had never fallen out of love with Marlena. Knowing she would never leave John, he tried to get on with his life, and eventually proposed to Kate Roberts. When Marlena came to him, telling him that she loved him, he turned her down, telling her that their time together was over. He and Kate wed in a beautiful ceremony. Hours later, Roman received information on the Colin Murphy murder. While in the kitchen, he was confronted by the Salem Stalker. At first he assumed it was Tony DiMera, until he unmasked the killer and was shocked to see someone wholly different (the identity of the killer was not shown to fans, but later revealed to be a brainwashed Marlena). Moments later, he met his maker.
A few months later, Roman revealed himself to Marlena on the tropical island of Melaswen ("New Salem" spelled backwards). The island was created to look exactly like Salem and he and the other victims of the Salem Stalker were all being held captive there (Victor, Colin and Billie Reed where there as well). After carrying Marlena to a replica of Alice's home, he explained to her that everyone killed by the Stalker were actually alive, although no one had yet seen Tony. He also told her there was no way off the island.
Roman and Marlena bonded while on the island. Eventually, it was revealed that Andre DiMera, while posing as Tony, was the true culprit behind the Salem Stalker murders as well as keeping everyone hostage on the island. Shortly afterwards everyone was rescued, but during their escape from the island, Roman, Marlena and several other captives were believed to be killed when their raft was lost at sea. Ironically, he, Marlena, Caroline, Victor, Jack and Cassie were recaptured by Andre and sent to a DiMera castle in Europe.
While at the castle, Roman and Marlena were locked in a room together and shown live video feeds of life in Salem without them. What both of them were shocked to see is that their spouses, John and Kate, were starting to fall in love believing Roman and Marlena had died at sea. This caused Roman and Marlena to grow even closer and they made love. Soon afterwards, they made another attempt to escape. This time it was successful and everyone returned to Salem. Marlena quickly reunited with John, but Roman and Kate could not reconcile (yet they remained friends).
Shortly after returning, Roman was shocked when Marlena revealed she was pregnant with his child. He was ecstatic and harbored hopes that this would reunite him and his former wife, but sadly his joy was short lived. While rushing down the stairs of her penthouse to break up an argument between Roman and John, Marlena fell. The tumble caused her to miscarry the baby. Because of the accident and subsequent "Hysterical Amnesia," Marlena decided to leave both Roman and John. Roman tried to move on. He had one-night stands with both Nicole Walker and Anna DiMera, and began a flirtation with Kate Roberts again.
Having assumed the position as deputy police commissioner, Roman became active several investigations including the shooting of E.J. Wells, the plane crash from Ireland, and the John Black DiMera drug case. He was also forced to jail his own mother for the murder of Trent Robbins. Caroline was eventually cleared of the charges, but Roman had little time to celebrate as Sami witnessed the murder of Mayor Marino. Roman was forced to place his daughter in the Witness Protection Program as Sami was the only one who could identify the gunman. While working on finding the mayor's killer, Roman has also been communicating with Sami and her FBI bodyguard, Rafe Hernandez.