‘Chicago P.D.’s LaRoyce Hawkins Teases a Major Challenge for Intelligence
Chicago P.D. is ending its eighth season with Intelligence targeting a ruthless crime ring, one that “threatens everything,” LaRoyce Hawkins (who plays Officer Kevin Atwater) teases. (The finale airs May 26.)
“It’s a perfect crime ring to really challenge [the unit’s] integrity,” he continues. “[Deputy Superintendent] Sam Miller [Nicole Ari Parker] has been teaching [Sergeant Hank] Voight [Jason Beghe] about reform and progress and working with Voight on how to abandon some of his old habits and grow new ones. It’s the perfect crime ring to challenge that concept all of a sudden.”
In the May 19 episode, “The Right Thing,” Miller second-guesses her decisions as Intelligence digs deeper into this crime ring, they discover just how close the danger hits to home.
“I think Sam Miller does a great job of finding a balance between the right thing and the most effective thing,” Hawkins says. “We want to do this the right way, but what is the right way?”
That goes back to the way Chicago P.D. has been tackling police reform in Season 8. “We find ourselves kicking off the season with the weight over George Floyd on us and what justice for that situation feels like. And then by the end of the season, we have to wait on whether that justice is going to be served,” Hawkins explains. “When you throw reform in the middle of it, you ask yourself what’s most important: solving a case or saving a life? One doesn’t necessarily mean the other all of the time.” He knows that’s something that first responders must face every day.
For Hawkins, Season 8 will always stand out, no matter how many seasons they do. “One of my favorite things about Chicago P.D. is that we watch imperfect vessels serve and protect the best way they know how in the best way they can, by fighting through things like reform and progress and race and romance. It’s powerful television,” he says. (Each character has had some sort of fight and evolved in some way this season, like Atwater going against the Blue Wall.) “But at the same time, I think we can reimagine policing a little bit and we can uplift the image of the Black man a little bit. We can unpack what family feels like and unlearn what family feels like.”
This season “really attacked some of the most authentic and genuine storytelling devices,” he continues. “Even though it was shortened because of the pandemic, I think we find ourselves learning the most about ourselves. That’s why this season has been so special to me specifically.”
Chicago P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC