Chicago PD tackles some weighty topics in the season 9 episode, titled “Burnside”. It shifts the focus to Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) and his identity as both a black man and a cop. It also provides a love interest for the character that challenges his belief system regarding police brutality and profiling.
In addition Atwater’s story, the episode offers more details regarding Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) and Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer). The couple hit a brick wall last week, when Halstead discovered that Upton helped to cover up a murder, but he’s yet to reveal what he knows.
Be warned that the rest of the post contains detailed spoilers for the latest episode of Chicago PD!
What happened on Chicago PD tonight? (October 20th)
The episode with Atwater meeting a woman (Amanda Payton) at a club and spending the night with her. In the morning, he discovers that her name is Celeste and she like creating protest artwork against police brutality. Atwater leaves out the fact that he’s a cop.
Shortly thereafter, Atwater is the first on sight at a drive thru shooting. A series of dead ends ensue, but the clues lead straight back to Celeste and two of her students being responsible for the shooting.
Atwater hands the lead of the case off to Ruzek, so that Celeste doesn’t have to know he’s a cop. When asked why he withheld his profession, Atwater explained that the liked being a person and not the stereotypical “black cop”, or someone who didn’t have to prove their blackness to others.
Chicago PD season 9 episode 5 spoilers
While its less prominent throughout the episode than last week, there are some hints at the strained relationship between Upton and Halstead. Upton tries to strike up a conversation with Halstead at the crime scene but he purposely cuts it short. It looks like this is a subplot that’s going to be carried on throughout the season, rather than quickly resolved.
Atwater continues to carry on the charade of being a civilian, all the while keeping tabs on Celeste when they’re together. He accompanies Celeste to a hideout, where its revealed that her students were in fact behind the shooting. The rest of the PD team barge in and make the arrest, upholding Atwater’s unintentional undercover status.
Atwater fights with an attorney about how to charge the suspect, claiming that she’s trying to create a false narrative. The attorney ultimate decides to charge the suspect as an adult despite him being only 15 years old. On his way to lockup, the suspect reveals that he lied about his involvement, but he’s shot seconds later, forcing Atwater to track down the real perpetrator.
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Atwater’s guilt over what happened gets compounded when Celeste goes on a rant about the police’s negligence. “How do they sleep at night knowing that they let him die right next to them?” she asks, to which an emotional Atwater replies, “I don’t know.” He tries to tell her that he was the cop who there, but Celeste cuts him off before he gets a chance.
The episode ends on a somber note, as Atwater is forced to continue his new relationship under the guise of a lie.
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