The eighth season of Chicago P.D. is coming to an end, and it's not too soon to start looking ahead to what's in store in Season 9. LaRoyce Hawkins already has ideas of what could happen for Atwater when the show returns to NBC in the fall. Season 9 could include some "balance" for Atwater, after a Season 8 that has had him dealing with heavy issue after heavy issue. And his reasons were definitely fun coming off a season that hasn't been a whole lot of fun for his character!
LaRoyce Hawkins spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of the "dirty" Season 8 finale, following an episode that saw Atwater once again embrace the reform that has come to CPD despite others in Intelligence feeling less inclined to go by the book and instead hand down some special treatment to Samantha Miller's son. The pressure was on Atwater to stick to his guns on not bending the rules, and he pulled it off despite resistance from Ruzek, and more conflict along these lines is likely on the way.
That said, even though Voight wanted to bend the rules as well unlike Atwater, I had to ask LaRoyce Hawkins' his thoughts on Voight's perspective on an entirely different issue. In a season that has seen Burzek go back and forth on will-they-won't-they and Upstead make the long-awaited jump from platonic to intensely romantic, Atwater remains the only cop in Intelligence who hasn't dated somebody else in the unit. When I asked Hawkins if he thinks Atwater is secretly Voight's favorite because of it, the Chicago P.D. star responded:
Yes! [laughs] But also, it's hard to lean into romance when there's so much race going on. [laughs] There's a part of me that feels like Voight might be happy that Atwater's distracted by race, so much so that he can't even lean into romance. But I think by Season 9, Atwater will find a way to find some balance. Because I do think it's necessary. But also, Black love is something that we haven't unpacked that much on this show, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do that at a certain point and hopefully we can be just as dynamic as we have been with the other stuff and the other stories that we've been telling. But yeah, yeah, yeah. Atwater knows Voight's rules. And as Atwater looks at the unit, he's the only one that ain't been touched. I ain't touched nobody.
Atwater certainly has had to deal with issues of race within CPD, as the racist cops targeting Atwater for telling the truth was ultimately the Season 7 finale cliffhanger, although that was partly due to the production shutdowns that shortened the seventh season. To his credit, Atwater found a way out of the situation early in Season 8 without having to sacrifice his career or try to continue doing his job despite the escalating harassment, but that definitely hasn't meant the end of Atwater addressing issues of race at work, even with Ruzek.
So, in the face of all the heaviness and forced imbalance in Atwater's life throughout Season 8, I for one find it fun to imagine what Atwater really thinks about his coworkers hooking up with each other. When I noted that it would be entertaining to hear Atwater's commentary, LaRoyce Hawkins shared:
If you could hear me in my head! I wish I could. [laughs] Sometimes I try to play it, I don't know if the camera catches it all the time, but you know Atwater knows everybody's busy. Because we all are family. Yeah. Sometimes Atwater just looks at his constituents and be like, 'Y'all nasty.'
While we may never get to hear Atwater voice his thoughts on a regular basis about Upstead or Burzek or any other pairings that might happen, we can hold out hope that he gets his shot at more balance in Season 9 with a relationship of his own. Atwater hasn't gotten much in the way of love over the years of Chicago P.D., and the man deserves some happiness after everything he has gone and all that has landed on his shoulders through over the past two seasons. In fact, why not throw Atwater making detective on the board as well? Even the cast agrees that he has earned it!
The Season 8 finale of Chicago P.D. airs on Wednesday, May 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following the Season 9 finale of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. and the Season 6 finale of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. All three One Chicago shows have already been renewed for multiple more seasons, so it's just a matter of waiting through the summer TV schedule for fall to roll around to see more of all the characters.