LaRose Hawkins spoke about the potential escape of Atwater to the Chicago police!
The Chicago police department has already changed the intelligence unit in an unprecedented way in the 10th season, and attention is about to shift to Atwater because of a new case that will call into question his reputation. The team will have to try to clear his name as well as solve the case, and the pressure will continue. Larose Hawkins spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode titled “Sympathetic Reflex,” including how Chief O’Neal is involved and whether Atwater would be tempted to choose the “escape” option.
In Sympathetic Reflex, Atwater is scrutinized for how he reacts during an arrest, and the promo shows that he will be charged with murder. A quick exchange of footage with Chief O’Neill (played by rookie cop Michael Gaston) shows Atwater bluntly asking if the police department is going to leave him to his fate. Superiors without his back were nothing new to Atwater; in fact, not so long ago he was being harassed by fellow officers.
So, when I talked to Larose Hawkins about the new episode, which will air on November 2, he weighed in on how O’Neill fits into this mess compared to Voight and Platt:
I think Chief O’Neill means well. I think Chief O’Neill is doing his best, but I’m not surprised. Chief O’Neill doesn’t really show me anything that’s different from anyone else in blue, in the blue system. Do you know what I’m talking about? I think the blue system, especially from Atwater’s experience, has been so adapted to finding ways to solve problems and finding ways to hide problems if they can. Whatever makes us look better, in the end, this is really the story we want to continue with, and Atwater is built differently.
Judging by a recent episode dedicated to Upton, Chief O’Neill’s son may have bad intentions, but Larose Hawkins warned that even if the chief does not necessarily support Atwater in the “blue system”, he at least does his best, and this cannot be said about every cop who has encountered Atwater for many years years.
Of course, depending on whether the incident was captured on camera to reveal the truth about what happened, there may be a lot of ways that CPD will want to try to spin the situation. Further, the actor shared the decision that the authorities found, and why Atwater would not use “escape tactics,” saying:
This idea of the sympathetic reflex [is] the idea that the body can, in fight or flight mode, accidentally take over. This can be scientifically proven, and I think it’s part of the science that the system has used to its advantage when it comes to fighting when necessary. It’s an escape tactic they’re trying to convince Atwater to use in this situation, and Atwater knows better. Atwater, believe it or not, approached all the circumstances, rather, in a parasympathetic style, which is much more sensitive and much more sincere. I think it’s more his style than anything else, so yeah, Atwater isn’t surprised.
Atwater is constantly a member of the intelligence department, which tries to stick to the straight and narrow and follow the rules as closely as possible, working under the guidance of Hank Voight. The empathy-and-heart approach to a stressful situation is in line with the kind of thing fans have been watching for the better part of a decade, but depending on what happens to the case, empathy and heart may not be enough to save it. Hawkins continued:
What we wanted to do this time was not to show Atwater, who already has all the answers, not to show Atwater, who already knows what he is going to do and why he is going to do it, but to show Atwater, who is honestly struggling with the solution… but you don’t know exactly where it’s going to go, which was my goal as an artist when I approached this episode.
Chicago Police episodes targeting Atwater can be pretty tough, especially when they deal with how tough a battle he has in CPD compared to others in the intelligence unit because of race. While his colleagues can get away with breaking the rules to the point of breaking them, Atwater follows the protocols as much as possible… and sometimes he is still blamed for situations in which he is not to blame. When asked if Atwater is burdened by the fact that he does everything right, but is still criticized for everything that goes wrong, Hawkins shared:
I think so, but I also think that’s part of his strength. I think that’s what makes it different. I think that’s why he’s part of the unit. There’s a reason why Atwater can’t do wrong, and I think those reasons are obvious, right? This is a double consciousness that W.E.B. Dubois kept saying that you need to know who you are and who you are not. Being a black man in America, and especially a black officer in Chicago, there are things you can’t get away with, more than anyone else. So there is an additional level of discipline and diligence that you have to put to work, this is the cross that you have to bear.
Atwater has carried this cross for a very long time, and it should be interesting to see what the “Sympathetic Reflex” has prepared for him, especially now that he is acting as a mentor to Torres. Hawkins then turned to his character, setting an example and knowing who he was, saying:
I think Atwater is doing his best to demonstrate this example, and again and again we will see him prove that he is the gentleman he claims to be, and I think that’s what helps him earn the position of detective, if anything. makes sense.
Will there finally be a 10th season when fans will see Officer Kevin Atwater become Detective Kevin Atwater? After Halstead’s departure, Upton remains the only detective among the cops working under Voight, so it seems there is room for at least one of the others to be promoted. Back in early 2021, several actors promoted Atwater, and LaRose Hawkins shared why he was ready for his character to become a detective in season 9. Now may be his time!
Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, November 2, at 22:00. ET to catch an episode of Chicago Police’s “Sympathetic Reflex.” Season 10. If you missed any earlier episodes of the tenth season (or want to revisit episodes from an even earlier time), you can do it streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription.