Chicago PD’s recent backstory reveal for Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) has opened up many possibilities for the show and character. This is especially true given how little Chicago PD has delved into Atwater’s past before, instead choosing to characterize him via professional challenges and his closest relationships. However, this new revelation on his backstory presents many opportunities not just to characterize Atwater but develop him into something new, which is important when a long-running serial needs to keep its longest-running leads fresh.
Before season 10, episode 11 of Chicago PD, the only concrete elements of Atwater’s backstory were that his parents were absentee and that he had legal guardianship over his younger siblings (Zoe Ishmael and Bobbi MacKenzie, Kylen Davis). But now, Atwater’s father, Lew (Erik LaRay Harvey), has been fully introduced, and Chicago PD season 10revealed that he got into criminal trouble because the family needed money. Additionally, Lew told Atwater that he went to prison when he refused to snitch on his peers. Afterward, he purposefully did not allow his son to visit him, as he did not want Atwater to see him as a criminal but to remember him as he was.
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Atwater’s Backstory Allows For Character Development After 10 Seasons
Laroyce Hawkins in Chicago-PD in Season 10
Chicago PD’s revelation of the conflict between Atwater and his father has given the former a chance for character development after 10 seasons of television. Previously, Atwater has primarily faced external conflicts, whether societal issues such as profiling and police brutality or the death of a prison inmate. The closest thing he got to personal, emotional exploration is his relationship with his siblings and changes with his peers, such as with Jay Halstead’s (Jesse Lee Soffer) exit. However, none of these situations have called for Atwater to confront his deeply-held feelings and beliefs and grow internally.
But with the introduction of Lew on Chicago PD, Atwater must face a complex, nuanced relationship that is impactful and does not present a ‘right’ answer. Now, Atwater’s character can develop as he chooses what relationship he wants with his father — if he can have one at all. This could include a myriad of internal changes for Atwater, including accepting how he felt about his father’s absenteeism and how these emotions impact his behavior. These story beats are still ripe for growth, as Atwater’s delay in speaking honestly with his father until the end of the episode suggests that he still has plenty of baggage to work through.
Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater
Furthermore, Atwater’s father gives him, and Chicago PD’s Intelligence, a good character problem to work with in terms of extended personal drama. After all, familial relationships are complicated at the best of times, and the Atwaters specifically will have the potential to address themes of boundaries, redemption, and forgiveness. Such a storyline is also ripe for an extended run. Atwater’s approach towards his father as a cop and as a son can be varied and numerous while also giving him more opportunities to explore aspects of his personality outside his role as a guardian or a cop. However, as this relationship grows, it will provide drama and catharsis for all involved on Chicago PD.