CHICAGO P.D.: LaRoyce Hawkins Reflects on 'Black and Blue' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO P.D.: LaRoyce Hawkins Reflects on ‘Black and Blue’

December 26, 2018 by  

LaRoyce Hawkins Black and Blue

CHICAGO P.D. — “Black & Blue” Episode 608 — Pictured: LaRoyce Hawkins as Officer Kevin Atwater — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Though CHICAGO P.D.’s Dawson (Jon Seda) is the character at the center of the fall finale cliffhanger, his squadmates aren’t exactly having an easy season.

Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) has been put through the ringer in season 6, with things getting particularly tough in “Black and Blue.” In the hour, the investigation into a drug dealer’s murder forced Atwater to go undercover—where he got close to a local helper, who ended up getting jailed on a technicality—and led to him ultimately tossing evidence to protect a young black man.

“This is another example of how the show can shift gears, can change energy,” Hawkins enthuses. “It showed us what we’re all capable of. I think Atwater, up until [that episode], had been as straight and narrow as one can be.”

“I think what pushed him to these exasperating measures is naturally his integrity being faced, being challenged,” he continues. “We planted the seed for Atwater to start struggling between the black and the blue when I had to send my little brother and sister away last season. And then there was a big episode that happened with Mekhi Phifer, where his life was on the line. Atwater has been through a lot. Every episode where I find a place to plant a seed of frustration or regret or confusion, I do that.”

In “Black and Blue,” “all of those seeds manifested themselves with the situation Atwater found himself in with Laila,” Hawkins says. “I like to think that was the situation where he walks away not the same. He’s changed. I don’t think he can be the same cop. I don’t think he can be the same man. I’m not sure if he can interrogate another kid—especially a black kid—or deal with a case of that magnitude without thinking of her. Without thinking about what he lost, what he gave up.”

“I think what made Atwater do that and sacrifice the blue is that he feels like he turned his back on the black,” he continues. “What I love is that fact that I get to play with those vibes at the same time. The black and the blue is going to be a kind of motif that Atwater struggles with this season.”

To dive into the darker mindset of the episode, Hawkins had a particular strategy. “I wanted to let it go,” he admits. “I approached it with a lot of mental, physical, and spiritual sacrifice. I told myself that with this being the first time of a lot of things: the first time I got chest-naked, the first time I would kind of do something dirty. There was a lot of firsts in this episode. I wanted to approach it just like that. I wanted to react to everything. Fortunately I had a great director with Christine Swanson. I had an amazing guest star in Milauna [Jackson]. And the other guest stars were just as dope.”

The actor also relied on a story he heard about Tom Hanks’ process on FORREST GUMP (one of Hawkins’ favorite films): “Tom Hanks understood he had a powerful cast around him and listened to everything they did and allowed his reactions to tell a story…that’s the approach I had for this episode. I like to think that Atwater was the eyes we see and tell this story through. I was going to listen to everyone and react in a way that’s authentic to me.”

CHICAGO P.D., Wednesday, January 9, 10/9c, NBC


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