LaRoyce Hawkins on How ‘Chicago P.D.’ Can Impact Better Policing

Season 10 of Chicago P.D. is spotlighting Kevin Atwater. Played by Illinois native LaRoyce Hawkins, fans have watched Atwater transition from a police officer to a developing detective on the force. It’s a role Hawkins is proud to play. The biggest thing he wants out of the show is to change the landscape of policing in the nation.

LaRoyce Hawkins as Det. Atwater on 'Chicago P.D.' in Season 10; Hawkins says the show can make a positive impact
LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater | Lori Allen/NBC

LaRoyce Hawkins as Det. Atwater on ‘Chicago P.D.’

Hawkins has starred in the series since Season 1 as Officer Kevin Atwater, primarily working in the Intelligence Unit. Aside from taking pride in his work, his backstory and personal life are admirable. Early on, the audience learns that for much of his life, he has been the legal guardian to his younger siblings, Vinessa and Jordan. When work hits too close to home, he decides to let them move to Texas to live with their aunt to ensure their safety, while remaining close to them.

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His love life has also been a rollercoaster, including being involved with a woman whom he believed was involved in a brutal murder. In Season 9, a new love interest is also introduced that takes his character to new heights.

But in Season 10, Atwater gets the dream of a lifetime to prove himself as a detective. It’s all jeopardized during an incident that leaves a potential suspect dead, and questions about whether or not he mishandled the situation run rampant. 

How he says the show can impact policing in a positive way

The show does a good job of art imitating life, and vice versa. With Atwater being one of the only prominent officers in his unit of color, issues of race relations and the way police interact with Black and brown communities in the city of Chicago have been a common theme. For Hawkins, he says the show’s impact can create true change, and the writers do a great job of sparking such tough discussions.  

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“We have to be careful with the way we reimagine policing and with the way we televise the reformation of policing because the critics who we know are used to a certain thing,” he told us. 

He added: “If we write against the conditioning that we’re used to, and I think as a team, from the writers to directors to the artists and the whole crew, that’s our challenge– to continue to train the storyteller for the future and not just for now.”

He’s excited to see what Atwater’s future looks like despite his hiccup

Though Atwater’s mistake in Season 10 could have cost him everything, Hawkins is grateful for how things played out. Though he admits he was nervous about whether his future on the show would be in question as a result. In fact, he says it’s a starting point for Atwater’s growth.

“I knew it would be a story that set the tone for Atwater and his leadership capabilities,” he explained. “It was one of the stories that I knew was going to set up how his response would be a direct reflection of how he’s built.”