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Atwater’s Chicago PD Episode Shows Why Character Focus Isn’t Good For Cases


Warning: Spoilers for Chicago PD season 10, episode 19A Chicago PD episode focused on Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) reveals how character-driven stories can be a problem for the week-to-week cases. Naturally, character episodes are necessary to nearly every TV series, and of course, Chicago PD is no exception. But it’s equally important for a show to balance character development with plot progression.


One Chicago PD character who’s been subjected to a considerable amount of focus in season 10 is LaRoyce Hawkins’ Atwater. More so than previous seasons, Chicago PD delved into Atwater’s backstory, including returning his father, Lew (Erik LaRay Harvey) to the small screen. Lew’s return comes after a very long stint in prison that had a deep effect on Atwater during his youth. This tension escalated in Chicago PD season 10, episode 19, where Atwater had to save a child from going to prison after a shooting in Atwater’s building.

Atwater Shouldn’t Have Been The One To Get His Dad Away From The Suspect

Despite the thematic parallels between Atwater and his father and the case of Oscar Guzman and his father, Carlos Zapataro, Chicago PD‘s need to keep the episode solely focused on Atwater led to some illogical decisions for the team. After all, when the team found Lew attempting to deliver Zapataro to law enforcement in a bar, Voight told Atwater to go in to extricate his father, even though the suspect had already had a recent encounter with Atwater and could identify him as a cop. Inevitably, Zapataro spotted Atwater, which led to him taking Lew hostage in an attempt to escape.

One could argue that Chicago PD’s Voight elected to send Atwater into this situation, despite knowing the risks, because he knew that Lew would be more likely to trust Atwater’s presence than one of the other officers. However, given that Voight had just had Atwater call his father to get him out and heard that Lew had refused, he also should have realized that Atwater inserting himself into the situation would not change the older man’s mind either. Even more so, Voight already knew that this suspect was willing to be violent due to the injuries Atwater sustained from his earlier encounter. For that reason, Voight should have recognized the danger of antagonizing Zapataro and sent in another of Chicago PD‘s officers.

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Character Focus Episodes Force Things That Don’t Make Sense For The Case

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Unfortunately, this incident further demonstrates that character episodes need to be handled carefully in Chicago PD. If not, the series runs the risk of the Intelligence Unit making uncharacteristically poor tactical decisions for the sake of plot, which does a disservice to the characters and hurts the show’s reputation as a realistic look at the life of police officers. In essence, the characters of Chicago PD do not have to sacrifice their common sense for the sake of an episode’s themes, and the Intelligence Unit most certainly shouldn’t stop acting as a team even when one character is being highlighted.



This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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