Chicago PD star LaRoyce Hawkins is One Chicago Center’s Performer of the Week for Feb. 6, for his work in Chicago PD season 6, episode 13.
Wednesday’s episode reaffirmed what Chicago PD fans have been saying for years: that LaRoyce Hawkins is an incredible actor. Every time Atwater is the focus of an episode, LaRoyce delivers an amazing performance, and this week was no exception.
“Night in Chicago” was a strong episode, and the primary reason why was his performance. The series tends to lean on Atwater to bring the African-American community perspective, since he’s the only black character in the main cast.
But this episode really leaned into that idea, putting Atwater in a situation where he experienced racism from members of his own police department. And it was LaRoyce Hawkins who made the storyline so powerful.
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He made audiences understand Atwater’s sadness, anger and frustration—especially important because his concerns and feelings seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The script for “Night in Chicago” itself had great intentions, but it also had its flaws; namely, how Atwater’s opinion and perspective got dismissed so easily by almost everyone around him. For the fans watching, that was heartbreaking.
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But LaRoyce Hawkins kept the episode on course because he portrayed Atwater’s journey with such emotion, conviction and heart. We could feel how much pain he was in, and how much he believed in what he was saying. That made sure we never forgot what he was going through, even as the episode wanted to take the story in other directions.
Right up to the very last frame, LaRoyce Hawkins knocked it out of the park in this episode. That’s what makes it disappointing that the show doesn’t use him nearly as much as it could, except for episodes with a racial storyline. He’s great when he’s given the material to work with—and he had it here, taking Atwater on a journey from “just another case” to being so enraged that he had a gun to someone’s head.
Would he have pulled the trigger? Probably not, but fans don’t know, which shows how far that LaRoyce took Kevin Atwater in this episode. He went on a roller coaster, not just emotionally but also in terms of what he wanted to stand for and who he wanted to trust. All of that had to be communicated through the performance, and it felt like the character definitely changed by the end. That’s a fantastic piece of acting, and it made a wonderful Chicago PD episode.
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