Chicago P.D. has changed the Intelligence Unit in some unprecedented ways in Season 10 already, and the spotlight is about to shift over to Atwater for a new case that will call his reputation into question. The team will have to try and clear his name while also cracking the case, and the pressure will be on. LaRoyce Hawkins spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, called “Sympathetic Reflex,” including how Chief O’Neal is involved and whether Atwater would be tempted to take an “escape” option.
“Sympathetic Reflex” will see Atwater scrutinized for how he reacts during an arrest, and the promo reveals that he’ll be accused of murder. A quick exchange in the footage with Chief O’Neal (played by P.D. newcomer Michael Gaston) shows Atwater flat out asking if the CPD is going to leave him out to dry. The brass not having his back would be nothing new to Atwater; in fact, he was being harassed by his fellow officers not all that long ago.
So, when I spoke with LaRoyce Hawkins about the new episode airing on November 2, he weighed in on how O’Neal fits into the mess in comparison to Voight and Platt:
Chief O'Neal’s son may not mean well, based on the recent Upton-centric episode, but LaRoyce Hawkins previewed that even if the chief doesn’t necessarily have Atwater’s back within “the blue system,” he at least does his best, and that can’t be said for every cop who has come up against Atwater over the years.
Of course, depending on whether or not the incident was caught on camera to reveal the truth of what happened, there may only be so many ways that CPD will want to try and spin the situation. The actor went on to share the solution that the higher-ups find, and why the “escape tactic” isn’t one that Atwater would use, saying:
Atwater is consistently the member of the Intelligence Unit who tries to stick to the straight and narrow, and follow the rules as closely as one can while working under Hank Voight. Approaching a stressful situation with empathy and heart is in line with the Atwater who fans have been watching for the better part of a decade, but depending on what happens with the case, empathy and heart may not be enough to save him. Hawkins continued:
Atwater-centric episodes of Chicago P.D. can be quite heavy, particularly when they deal with how much of an uphill battle he has at CPD in comparison to others in the Intelligence Unit due to race. While his coworkers can and do get away with bending the rules to the point of breaking them, Atwater follows protocols as much as possible… and sometimes still ends up being blamed for situations that aren’t his fault. When asked if it weighs on Atwater when he does everything right but still gets the heat for anything that goes wrong, Hawkins shared:
Atwater has been bearing this particular cross for a very long time, and it should be interesting to see what “Sympathetic Reflex” has in store for him, particularly now that he’s in a mentor role for Torres. Hawkins went on to address his character setting an example and knowing who he is, saying:
Will Season 10 finally be when fans see Officer Kevin Atwater become Detective Kevin Atwater? After Halstead’s departure, Upton is the only detective among the cops working under Voight, so it seems like there’s room for at least one of the others to be promoted. Even several members of the cast were pitching a promotion for Atwater back in early 2021, and LaRoyce Hawkins shared why he was ready for his character to make detective during Season 9. Now could be his time!
Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET to catch the “Sympathetic Reflex” episode of Chicago P.D. Season 10. If you’ve missed any earlier episodes of the tenth season (or want to revisit episodes even farther back in time), you can do so streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription.
Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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