Thursday, May 19, 2022

Chicago P.D. Star LaRoyce Hawkins: ‘I’ve Added a Little Bit More to My Game’ [EUR EXCLUSIVE]

*“Chicago P.D.” star LaRoyce Hawkins is set to lead an explosive episode Wednesday night when his team tries to take down a drug kingpin and Atwater (LaRoyce) faces a tough choice between doing what’s required to solve the murder of a young dealer and what’s best for the community.

“Directed by NAACP Image Award nominee and NBC’s Female Forward directing program finalist, Christine Swanson, the episode titled “Black and Blue” teaches Atwater a lot about how to be a “powerful pillar in his community,” Hawkins tells EUR.”

Speaking of community, this writer and the actor both grew up in Harvey, Illinois, and we agree that the city is not how it used to be. So how much does being from a ‘burb like Harvey help to inform a cop like Atwater?

That’s one of my favorite questions because my answer has grown. I think when I first got on the show I was misinformed. I would be asked questions like these and I would really play into what you and I know as the negative connotations around the energy of Harvey, as far as the police system and lack of resources and the educational system. It’s a lot of things that I would really play into and try to make it feel like I was trying to counter the vibes that I was introduced to in order to introduce a character like Atwater. And since then I’ve learned that I’m not sure if that was always the right way to go. I think the years have reminded me that I actually had great examples of family, of community, of police, of men that had the passion and care for their community. I think my experience in Harvey truly set me up for the assignment of Atwater on Chicago P.D., in the best way possible.

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Hawkins describes Christine Swanson as “already one of my favorite directors in the business and I’ve only worked with her once,” he said, noting that she and guest star Milauna Jemai were his two leading ladies this season.

Jemai plays Atwater’s love interest in an episode set to air in mid-November… and she certainly makes for an exciting addition to the cast, as fans of the show know that he’s the ONLY character who has yet to experience some loving on the series.

So why has it taken this long for Atwater to get boo’ed up?

It could be a myriad of things, and the writers oftentimes have to find a way to run certain plays. Every season I’d like to think that I’ve added a little bit more to my game so I’ve prepared myself for this moment. When I first got on this show, I’m not sure if I would’ve been ready to really tackle those love vibes, not as effectively as I was able to tackle the plays that they gave me. I’m just glad that the time is now. Christine Swanson is already one of my favorite directors in the business and I’ve only worked with her once. Milauna and I had really great chemistry and I’m so grateful for her and everything she added to the vibe.

Brian Tee as Ethan Choi, Yaya DaCosta as April Sexton, “Chicago Med,” LaRoyce Hawkins, “Chicago P.D.” at “One Chicago Day” event (Photo: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)

The Chicago native first originated the role in “Chicago Fire” and when asked how he would compare the man Atwater is today to the man viewers were first introduced to back in season one, Hawkins explained…

I think he’s grown into a brotha who’s a lot stronger, naturally, he’s wiser because I think the job has taught him so much, his peers have too, but I think more than anything he’s growing into himself. He’s understanding not just what the job is but who he is in respect to the job. I think that’s what makes the episode “Black and Blue” so powerful because for one, it shows for the first time the effects of the lines between black and blue are extremely powerful. There’s been signs in certain episodes that warned Atwater that this job was going to get weird. They have been soft and subtle signs that have prepared Atwater for this moment. Right now, we find Atwater is confused at sometimes. As good as he is at his job and as much as he loves being on this team, oftentimes he might find himself blinded by the blue and neglecting the black. This episode helps Atwater really be able to identify that line. He wants to be a powerful pillar in his community but he also wants to find to himself in those things and I think this episode teaches him a lot about that.

Catch LaRoyce Hawkins on Chicago P.D., Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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