Kevin Atwater’s love life on Chicago P.D. is best summarized by LL Cool J’s 1987 single “I Need Love,” in which the rapper yearns for that special someone.
With Halstead and Upton having eloped, and Ruzek and Burgess carving out a unique family unit with Makayla, the Intelligence cop just wants someone to feel safe with outside of the job, much like his cohorts.
“He’s looking for a space where he can get peace, where he can feel protected as much as he protects and serves everybody else,” LaRoyce Hawkins, who plays Atwater, tells TVLine. “That’s really what he finds in Celeste.”
Atwater first met Celeste (played by Amanda Payton) in the Oct. 20 episode, “Burnside,” which found the pair bonding over their shared experiences with racial injustice. However, Atwater lied to Celeste about his job out of fear that she’d reject him for being a cop, and he’s kept up the façade since then.
The 11th episode of the NBC procedural’s current season, airing tonight at 10/9c, will see the Intelligence officer struggle to reconcile his personal and professional life, forcing him to come to a decision. And while he’ll deal with that growing conflict, the episode also will tap into his romantic side, per Hawkins.
“You’re definitely going to see some sweet romantic moments, which I think is dope,” he teases. “We find Atwater in situations a lot where he’s struggling, he’s conflicted, he’s confused, he’s frustrated, he’s doing his best [and] not really in his element. It’s not often that we see Atwater enjoying himself and being confident and proud.”
According to Hawkins, those rarely depicted lighter moments “motivate how he responds to the darkness,” and in this upcoming episode, “you get to watch Atwater navigate the light a little bit.”