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LaRoyce Hawkins Teases the Chicago P.D. Season 10 Finale: "Keep Our Eyes on Ruzek"
The Chicago P.D. actor, who plays Atwater, also opened up about his favorite part of filming "Bleed Valve."
Chicago P.D..'s latest episode, "The Bleed Valve" (Season 10, Episode 19), had all eyes pointed at Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins). Not only was he investigating the death of an 11-year-old boy who was killed in the apartment building he owned, but he was also confronting his complicated relationship with his father, Lew (Erik LaRay Harvey).
The episode marked Lew's second appearance after we met him in Season 10, Episode 11's "Long Lost," when Atwater saw him for the first time in years while staking out a funeral. Now, he was a key part of helping the Intelligence Unit solve their case. Atwater grudgingly works with his father throughout the hour, before they finally come to a truce in a symbolic final scene.
In an interview with NBC Insider, Hawkins broke down Atwater and Lew's father-son relationship and revealed his "favorite part" about creating the episode. He also spilled on what's to come for Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) in the finale — he's currently undercover with the Becks, who are white supremacists — and whether or not we'll see more of Torres through the end of the season.
NBC Insider: How did Atwater's feelings about Lew change from the beginning to the end of "The Bleed Valve"?
LaRoyce Hawkins: That journey was interesting. I wanted to show the frustration and the confusion. The passion and misunderstanding that we can have with our loved ones while also being extremely passionate about what we love to do. In Atwater's case you know he wants to save lives and solve crime. And his dad doesn't make that easy, and the unit and his dad don't make that easy. So he's caught in the middle of a lot of things, and he's so spread thin. So as I approached this episode, I thought it would be most important to really embrace all the imperfections, especially the relationship with him and his dad.
I think Atwater and his dad become the heroes toward the end, but they start off as stray humans that are miscommunicating, their miscommunication that we have to overcome and go through. So, I just want it to be real. I know a lot of father and son relationships are different, but they are real to everybody individually. Hopefully other families of fathers and sons can relate and learn from what we go through.
The younger actor who's playing Oscar (Miles Coreas) is very impressive. What's it like working with a young actor, especially during such intense emotional scenes?
Wasn't he good? Man, it was great. That was probably my favorite part to be honest with you. His innocent enthusiasm really helped me unlock my imagination differently. It reminded all of us, not just me, that it was 10 seasons deep... He reminded us that this is an abnormal situation, and we have to really take notes from this young energy that's really unlocking some things that we forgot about. So there are moments in conversation where I just wanted to connect to him, and so we kind of forced my approach as Atwater to be a little bit more gentle, sometimes a little playful, but stern in moments where I had to be.
He got a little emotional. He didn't want to leave the set, it was wild.”
Miles did such a great job with really imagining the darkness and the light at the same time. And he was having such a good time that by the time we shot his last scene, he got a little emotional. He didn't want to leave the set, it was wild.
In the last episode, "You Only Die Twice" (Season 10, Episode 18), you and Torres (Benjamin Levy Aguilar) are the ones who ultimately arrest Dale, who we find out is a racist. What's it been like to tell that story this season?
We don't want to be typical. Right, to me it's almost too easy of a choice to be the Black man in the unit that's mad about the white supremacist. And I think our ancestors taught us that you can't fight hate with hate. And if love is the only thing that can conquer hate, then I think there's a love and a strength and a stability and a peace that I try to throw in the pot while navigating these moments. Hopefully that's how they come off.
As [the seasons goes on] I don't want to give too much away, but Atwater continues to be influential in how we're able to solve this case and save more lives because of his stability. Right? Because of the love that he's leading with and because of the peace that he maintains the whole time.
What else can you say about what's to come with the final episodes of Season 10?
I think we want to keep our eyes on Ruzek, for a fact. He makes it look easy sometimes, and I think he enjoys his job. But toward the finale it is going to start weighing on him. It's definitely doing to weigh on him, and we're going to do our best to have his back. Torres, we're going to see him pop in and out, and he's still struggling to get 100% acclimated to the unit.
[Atwater] related to that because I'll never forget Season 1 and Season 2. Being booked kind of fresh out of the hood, there's still things in your life that you have to clear up and and make right before you really start to enjoy the next level of life. So we're watching Torres go through that, too. His mom is dealing with health things, he's still got to pay his dues. When we see him, it'll definitely be a good time.