Chicago P.D. Can ‘Do Something Very Different’ With Atwater and Rojas' Relationship

chicago pd atwater rojas nbc season 7

(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the "Infection" crossover between Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med.

The One Chicago crossover was packed with action and intensity from almost start to finish courtesy of flesh-eating bacteria used as a biological weapon, but the Chicago P.D. episode that closed the event ended on a peaceful note for the heroes. Everybody got the chance to unwind after spending the crossover fighting to take down the person responsible for the infection, and for Kevin Atwater and Intelligence newcomer Vanessa Rojas, that meant going for a drink and fanning the flames of the new "inter-team" romance in the works for P.D. Season 7.

Rojas has only been around for a few episodes, and aside from her debut hour, she hasn't had a ton of bonding time with Atwater. Still, Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid has confirmed that there's something romantic brewing between these characters, and LaRoyce Hawkins weighed in to CinemaBlend's Adrienne Jones at the One Chicago press day on what the relationship between "RoWater" can mean for P.D. Hawkins, who has played Kevin Atwater on P.D. from the very first season, said this:

Well, I don’t know if you saw how they met, but they almost killed each other. I like to think that’s how some of the best relationships get started! It’s like, we’ve been through most of it already; the worst part is over. What I do enjoy about RoWater is, especially in the absence of Jon Seda, the stories that we can tell now very authentically bridge the gap between the brown and the black. I think it’s very necessary and could be a very nuanced way of telling a romantic story.

What better way to start a romance than with two undercover cops trying to bust each other for drugs? The era of RoWater begins in the first season that original Chicago P.D. star Jon Seda is completely gone from the Chicago universe, which changed the entire dynamic of the Intelligence Unit. Antonio was an expert at undercover work, and for all her youth, Rojas cut her teeth as a cop by going deep undercover.

LaRoyce Hawkins also noted that RoWater can bridge a gap between "the brown and the black," which is not something that has been done and redone among the several inter-Intelligence romances over the years. Not all shows can tread new ground with a long-established character after nearly a decade on the air, but P.D. is pulling it off for Atwater.

Of course, P.D. hasn't shown much of Atwater's romances at all in seasons past, at least compared to most of the other members of Intelligence. LaRoyce Hawkins elaborated on how the RoWater relationship can develop in a way that other relationships really haven't on Chicago P.D.:

I would hope that, unlike our [co-workers] on the team – prior to us – that we can take our time and really plant seeds that grow into a solid synergy. She’s going to grow into being a part of the unit soon, so it’s going to make our feelings even more difficult to have. I don’t want to go out the way I’ve seen Halstead and Ruzek go out, but I’ve also got to get to her before Ruzek does!

Amen to that, LaRoyce Hawkins! The last couple of inter-team romances for Halstead and Ruzek have not ended well, and the ill-advised Upton/Ruzek relationship couldn't have come much more out of nowhere. Considering hooking up with Upton meant that Ruzek had slept with all the women in Intelligence at that point, Hawkins certainly has a point about Atwater going for Rojas before Ruzek!

Of course, the "Infection" crossover proved that Ruzek's eyes are back on Burgess, and we can only hope that it goes better for them this time around. A Halstead/Upton romance could be in the works as well, according to showrunner Rick Eid. Honestly, having all six of the non-Voight cops in "Intelligence" dating each other would be a bit much even for television, so hopefully one of those is going to give.

All of this said, Chicago P.D. fans shouldn't start planning the RoWater wedding or naming their babies. LaRoyce Hawkins went on to comment that P.D. hasn't 100% committed to the story going one way or the other. Here's how he put it:

I think we have an opportunity to do something very different. This show hasn’t seen a relationship like this. We’ll take our time with it; a lot of writing still has to be done in order for us to really know exactly how and when. We’re just doing our best to trust the chemistry and plant our own seeds so those sparks that you may have seen [become] us doing our best to find those windows where we can tell a story that means a lot to us but is also true to us.

So, it sounds like the biggest steps toward an established relationship between Atwater and Rowater haven't been even put on paper at this point, let alone filmed. That's definitely not a bad thing, in my book. Do we really want another Ruzek/Upton, with a romance reveal coming when they wake up in bed together? This could be something new and fresh as a P.D. relationship.

I'm actually interested to see if what Atwater has seen of other relationships within Intelligence impacts how he moves forward with Rojas. She has never worked on a team before, but Atwater has been in Intelligence for Halstead/Lindsay, Ruzek/Burgess, and Burgess/Upton, and none of those ended well. Sure, while Burgess and Ruzek might make it work this time around, it got pretty bad before it could get better.

For now, we'll have to wait and see how Chicago P.D. develops Atwater and Rojas together when new episodes air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. There will be plenty going on beyond any and all romances, though. On top of the usual brutal cases of the week, Intelligence may face division from within. If so, Ruzek will almost certainly side with Voight, and Halstead could be on the other side. Only time will tell.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).