With season 5 of Chicago P.D underway, we’ve seen the hit NBC show tackle real life stories that have fans on the edge of their seats. This season the intelligence unit is facing cultural, social and political issues that affect Chicago each and every day. These hot-button topics wouldn’t be on the small screen if it weren’t for the new showrunner, Rick Eid.
From police reform to immigration, Eid, who is one of the producers of Dick Wolf’s series, “Law & Order: SVU,” is ripping stories straight from the headlines. The new angle of storytelling isn’t going unnoticed either. Chicago P.D. star LaRoyce Hawkins believes this is a powerful transition for the show.
“As these situations happen in our lives, to be able to tackle them in your work as an actor, it allows you to grow. I’m learning about what’s happening in life because of what’s going on at my job and vice versa.”
In this week’s episode “Snitch,” Hawkins, who plays Kevin Atwater, takes center stage when a series of drug-related murders hit close to home. The unit is “stonewalled by the ‘no snitch’ culture of the neighborhood, but Atwater finds out that he has a personal connection to the case.”
While these stories need to be told on television, it’s important to have an actor like Hawkins tell them. The 29-year-old hails from Harvey, Illinois and after reading the script, he felt it was his duty to bring this story to life and have a voice in it.
“Initially, I was grateful more than anything to be able to tackle a situation like this that I think needed a more balanced understanding. The writers did a great job of allowing my voice and the voices of other characters to tell a well balanced story.”
He continues, “it deals with not just the fact that there’s a cliché type of plague on a culture about not snitching, but that there’s also the other half of it where this culture doesn’t trust another culture. You can’t deal with the what, without talking about the why and I was grateful that the script was able to grow into that.”
Also, playing an African American cop gives Hawkins the opportunity to represent Chicago through a different lens and he’s humbled by the opportunity.
“I’m grateful that I’m on a show where, I have the freedom really be able to use how I feel as a man and to how I feel as a character. You know being a black cop on network television and being the only black character on the show, also being one of the only people that actually represents the city of Chicago. So, I have a dual understanding that helps everything work out.
Be sure to check out Chicago P.D., Wednesday at 10/9c on NBC.