LaRoyce Hawkins continues to surprise fans of Chicago P.D. as Officer Kevin Atwater. The well-respected and trustworthy officer is on a path to becoming a detective, and he does his very best to stand up for what he believes in all while bringing the bad guys to justice. Officer Atwater worked his way up in the Chicago Police Department and earned a spot on the infamous Intelligence team that handles major cases.
Shadow and Act got a chance to talk to Hawkins about last week’s episode. Titled “The Bleed Valve,” Atwater’s personal affairs collide with his job after there is a shooting at the building he owns that leaves a child dead. Hawkins also discusses Atwater’s relationship with his father, the depth of his character the future for Atwater, and why a love interest in his character’s life will balance everything out.
S&A: Every time we speak, the episodes are crazy– and this one is no different. Atwater’s reunion with his father happened earlier in the season and in a stunning turn of events in the upcoming episode, it forces you to really come face-to-face with him head-on. So talk to us about the journey that Atwater takes and how it affects his manhood with facing his problems with his dad.
LH: I think it’s important because if you understand how what his history is, it’s deep and in need of healing. Atwater probably tried to suppress a lot that has happened. So being forced to embrace his imperfections head-up is what this episode taught me. It was important for me to not show overrated or perfect. Atwater, I think we understand, is honorable and trustworthy, but I never want to make that look easy to do because I think we relate to the mistakes and we relate to those imperfections. So I like Atwater’s relationship with his dad because I think there are signs and fathers out there and families that can connect to these authentic moments of just frustration, a little confusion, some tough love, some uncomfortability. But all of those things inform the growth that’s necessary here. I think we find that by the end of the episode.
S&A: How do you feel these conversations with his father impact his policing?
LH: Well we saw in the previous episodes the question that arises is: What is their lives? Atwater, he can get a little emotional. It can have a negative impact sometimes. I think I want to find himself kind of caught in the middle between his unit and his father [and] trying to convince and communicate to both sides that he can handle himself and that he’s in control.
Well, at the same time, I think it’s important to understand Atwater’s goal personally is to be a detective. And he doesn’t want personal matters or issues of the family getting in the way of the unit or Sarge or even himself feeling like he’s not capable of taking that next step. So there are a few things that Atwater has on his mind at the same time. He’s also spread thin because he’s a landlord and he is doing most of that by himself. And he still got the Blue Wall to think about.
By the end of the episode, what I want to add for Atwater is a little relief from one of those layers. And with a lot of layers, we can start to peel back some of them. And if they can be something that we can let go of, then I think we find him to be more capable of being the detective that he wants to be. His goal was to find balance with his dad. And hopefully, we saw that because that’s only going to help him be a better cop.
S&A: And you mentioned that he’s a landlord and in the situation that takes place, a child unfortunately ends up being a casualty. And this is this isn’t the first time that we’ve spoken about difficult decisions or difficult situations that Atwater has been in that have affected him personally or affected his view of his job. The last time we spoke, there was an issue regarding his handling of a young kid that caused turmoil. Prior to that, we spoke about sensitivity within the police force around race, how these instances are impacting Atwater moving forward and what type of PTSD do you think could potentially show up the future?
LH: Yeah, I think I think it depends on how you see it. These things can grow into PTSD if we don’t handle them a certain way. They can grow into a passion that allows Atwater to be an example of how to overcome these things. I think it’s also okay to say that. He might not overcome everything. Some things he might get better at doing than others. I think over time we watched Atwater handle race responsibly. He had been leading with love, and naturally, you know that the only way to combat hate is with love effectively. So I think we see him lead with love and we see him hold himself with a fortitude and a strength and ability that adds bounce right to these narratives of race.
But we see him be a little bit more emotional and less put together the more personal things become. When it has anything to do with like a relationship with a young lady that he might find himself really concerned about or family. I think those things are where it kind of gets tricky for him. And I think we’re learning that he can grow from those uncomfortable moments into being able to navigate those things a little bit more clearly was always my goal though– not to make him look too perfect or too good at his job. Because we always want to give somebody somewhere to go and grow. And so hopefully we push the needle a little bit with this episode as far as his relationship with his father is concerned.
But they lost a lot of ground over time, so they still got a lot more ground to cover. So I expect that the next episode helps us get a little bit closer to that idea of a relationship that we want to see. But you got to be patient. And he has to be patient with himself.
S&A: Now we’ve been seeing a lot more of Atwater’s personal story unfold, it’s been really fun to watch his journey. So what are you hoping for in the coming season for him as far as his personal growth? And then obviously, you know, he’s on his journey professionally as well?
LH: Yeah, with his professional journey, he wants to be a detective. He wants it to be one of the first things he tells you about his goals. He would love to take that next move for the next level of protection and service. Personally, I think I think he going he’s going to continue to embrace this landlord thing because he likes what he’s doing in the community.
I think he can add relief the more that he trusts. If he trusts his dad a little bit more than he did at the beginning of the episode, then I think he’ll understand where his help comes from. So I think that will hopefully open up another layer, though I know that we want to see Atwater achieve, which is a relationship and a little love. And for him to find someone to keep him happy. I think right now, I always imagined that even though we don’t see that Atwater has somebody that’s holding him down because it has to be kind of possible to go through all this and not have somebody who you can just find peace inside of to within. I have fun imagining those moments, even though we don’t get to see them on screen. And then by the time we do get to see them on screen, I just do my best to take what I can hold on to from my imagination and apply it to whatever the writer is. And then we do our best.