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'Chicago P.D.' Fans Can't Get Enough of Burgess and Atwater's Friendship

In the world of Chicago P.D., the stakes are always high. Anything can happen, and generally, the worst option is what you get. In the middle of the show’s ups and downs are Kim Burgess and Kevin Atwater. Even as life throws them the worst curves, these professional crime fighters show what steady teamwork should look like — and viewers can’t get enough of it. 

Season 7 was a rough one

Even though it ended unexpectedly early, as Cinema Blend reports, this last season took a lot out of both Atwater and Burgess. After spending the night with her ex-fiance, Adam Ruzek, Burgess found out she was pregnant. Ruzek proposed, and although Burgess wasn’t sure what she wanted from him, it looked as though the couple might finally get their happy ending. Sadly, she lost the baby during a violent battle to save a young woman who was a victim of sex trafficking. 

Atwater had his own share of pain this season, culminating in a situation where he had to stand up against racial profiling. In doing so, he earned the wrath of many people on the police force, who felt that he had betrayed them and tarnished the name of a good man who died in the line of duty. The final scene showed Atwater surrounded by the flashing lights of cop cars, making it clear that he’s in a very dangerous position, surrounded by fellow law enforcement officers who are not happy with him. 

Through it all, a steady friendship

RELATED: ‘Chicago P.D.’ and ‘Blue Bloods’ Fans Might See Very Different Stories in the Future

In the middle of all this drama, Atwater and Burgess consistently demonstrate how good they are at their jobs, as well as how good they are at working together. In the very first season, when they were treated badly by Desk Sergeant Platt, the two managed to get through the pressure and laugh it off. 

As the years have gone by, both Atwater and Burgess have grown as cops. When they work together, you can really see that maturity. It’s especially evident in Burgess, who was much less experienced at the beginning of the show. 

In a show like Chicago P.D., where anything can happen at any time, it’s comforting to know that two cops can work together with such unshakeable stability. Whether that’s because they’ve never had any romantic interest in each other, or because they’re just that good, Burgess and Atwater are a great team. And viewers can’t get enough of them. 

Fans love to see them work together

When NBC recently tweeted a clip of the pair, fans responded with enthusiastic praise. “I love them together,” one fan gushed. Others agreed, saying, “their growth is epic,” and “I love the bond they have together.” A viewer pointed out how far Burgess has come, saying, “Burgess has grown so much. Her evolution from great, but wide-eyed patrolwoman, to fiercely focused Intelligence officer is great writing.”

Another longtime fan reminisced about a scene from season four that showed how close the two are – like siblings. “Atwater & Burgess awaits gunman outside behind a car. Kevin says to Kim, ‘He probably has on a vest, aim 4 his head’. Kim shoots the chest area. Atwater then shoots the offender in the head & asks Kim, ‘U alright girl?’”

It’s clear from how closely fans have followed the growth of these two that they’re a special pair in the Chicago universe. Every dramatic series ends the season on a cliffhanger, but this year’s wait for a new season has an extra dose of anxiety. With the social unrest in the US this summer, centered around issues of racial injustice in policing, it’s not clear if popular police dramas will have to change in the new climate. Many people are waiting for the fall to see what shows like Chicago P.D. will look like. 

But one thing’s for sure: fans are certain Atwater and Burgess are a good team to tackle whatever comes next. 

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Who is 'Chicago P.D.' Actor LaRoyce Hawkins?

Probably most actors aren’t lucky enough to land a regular job in their hometown, but LaRoyce Hawkins did just that. Hawkins, who portrays Officer Kevin Atwater on Chicago PD, was born and raised in the south Chicago suburb of Harvey. The 6-foot, 3-inch tall actor graduated from Thornton High where he played basketball and was a member of the speech team.

As Officer Kevin Atwater, Hawkins plays an important role in the Chicago PD’s Intelligence Unit of the 21st District. Often going undercover, as the only Black officer in the unit he can go places and portray roles the rest of the team can’t, and he does it very well.

Hawkins, the actor

As a member of his high school speech team, Hawkins earned the title of state champion in comedy speech writing from the Illinois High Speech Association, twice, during his junior and senior years. He received a full scholarship to Illinois State University where he majored in acting and honed his craft. He started performing stand-up comedy and while still in college he was cast in the feature film, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.

Hawkins made guest appearances on television shows including House of Payne and Detroit 187, followed by his big break landing the role of Atwater on Chicago PD from the beginning of the series in 2014. He has also made guest appearances on Chicago Fire and has appeared in the HBO series Ballers, according to IMDb.

Hawkins as Atwater

RELATED: ‘Chicago P.D.’: Doyle’s Allies Seeking Revenge Against Atwater Is the Perfect Opportunity to Address Racism Within Police

Hawkins’s size and physique make a great fit for his portrayal of Atwater. Viewers rarely see the comedic side of Hawkins in Atwater, as he plays a serious role with firsthand experience growing up in a neighborhood controlled by gangs, yet avoiding a life of crime himself. While it has not been revealed just what involvement either of his parents has had in life, a brother, Jordan, and sister, Vanessa, have been seen on the show.

At the launch of the Chicago PD series, Atwater was a patrol officer and partnered early on with Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), but elevated to the Intelligence Unit by the end of the first season.

In 2019, one particularly poignant episode Atwater goes undercover targeting the takedown of a criminal operation while also addressing politics and racial divide. He befriends one criminal, also a Black man, and while the two are driving late at night they are pulled over by other Chicago police officers as possible perps in a robbery.

The two white CPD officers are aggressive and vocalize racial slurs while drawing their guns, although neither Atwater nor the other man is armed. While being apprehended on suspicion of robbery the other man was shot and killed. Atwater is placed under arrest, not having wanted to reveal his identity as a police officer and protecting his undercover identity.

Somewhat in shock by having the experience, Atwater is conflicted as to what to say to Internal Affairs, but decides and admits it was a clean shot. The experience leaves the rest of the team realizing their limited understanding of being the target of racial profiling.

Hawkins’ personal life

At the age of 32, Hawkins is not married, and he keeps pretty mum about his private life. He is believed to have a son with pictures of the two of them popping having popped up on social media.

Hawkins’s net worth is said in most accounts to be around $1 million, according to Gossip Gist. Hawkins believes strongly in giving back to his community. He has mentored and spoken in middle and high schools around the Chicago area, and he also supports a variety of charities. In 2020 and 2019, Hawkins, through his work with the Salvation Army, earned the title of Celebrity Kettle Ambassador. He earned an Emmy for his publicity campaign with the organization.

Concerned that his hometown of Harvey is seen negatively, he wants to work to clean it up and wants to inspire others to overcome adversity through his “Be Powerful!” campaign. “It’s my assignment, in my humble opinion, to counter as much of that as I can,” he told Chicago’s WGN-TV. “That’s what ‘Be Powerful’ is here for – to add rhythm and relief to spaces that need it.”

Hawkins can be seen on Chicago PD, Wednesday nights on NBC. It along with Chicago Fire and Chicago Med has been renewed for another season beginning this fall.

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'Chicago P.D.' Doyle's Friends and Family Could Be Ruthless Next Season

Fans are looking forward to season eight of Chicago P.D., particularly after how season 7 wrapped up. It’s not unreasonable to predict the next season will be tense, particularly as it relates to Doyle and Atwater. 

However, next season could be intense for all police shows that have a next season. Given the nationwide protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody, perceptions of the police are changing, and not for the better in the eyes of the protesters. 

How long has ‘Chicago P.D.’ run? 

Chicago PD sprang from the empire of Dick Wolf, the TV impresario responsible for Law & Order and its various spinoffs. One of those spinoffs, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has been on the air for 21 seasons, making it the longest-running live-action series on US television, longer than such stalwarts as Grey’s Anatomy (16) and NCIS (17).

Chicago P.D. is about patrol officers and the Intelligence Unit of the 21st District of the Chicago Police Department as they pursue lawbreakers. Created by Wolf and Matt Olmstead, the show is part of the franchise that also includes Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago Justice. Chicago P.D. has starred Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer and Patrick John Flueger. When it was renewed, it was renewed for at least 10 seasons. 

When the show debuted, it polled a 61 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Critical Consensus stating “Though it suggests potential for greater success, Chicago P.D. is ultimately an old school cop show, content to mimic Hill Street Blues and other classic procedurals. ”

However, its ratings have increased almost every season, with season 6 attracting 11 million viewers. 

What happened at the end of season 7?

RELATED: ‘Chicago P.D.’ Kim and Adam Could Reunite Next Season and Fans Can’t Wait

In the eerily prescient season 7 finale, Atwater was forced to go undercover with Doyle, who had at one time pointed a gun at his head. After racially profiling a black man, Doyle went after the man,  who had been delivering  sneakers to his cousin. Doyle shot first, and In the ensuing crossfire, Doyle was wounded, and he died later as a result. 

This left Atwater in a no-win situation of telling the truth and risking reprisal, or remaining silent. Atwater tells the truth and becomes a pariah. Showrunner Rick Eid told TVLine, “Things could get bad for Atwater. Atwater made a courageous choice to take on Doyle’s friends and family. They’re also very well-connected within Chicago PD and the mayor’s office. In other words, they’re a formidable foe and will present a real challenge for Atwater.”

This actually was not supposed to be the finale. The planned finale was supposed to involve the murder of one of the show’s characters, but the coronavirus outbreak forced production to shutter early, so what woud have been this year’s finale will happen toward the beginning of season 8. As it stands, the season 8 finale feels more ripped from the headlines than it might have been.

Will police shows change in the wake of protests?

The death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests have already produced ripple effects in pop culture. The reality show Cops, which had run for 33 seasons, was canceled by The Paramount Network. Also canceled was Live PD, which had run on A&E. 

The impact wasn’t limited to actual police. Even though it’s a comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine canned four episodes. Deadline reported that Terry Crews said the creative team had “a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year. We have an opportunity here, and we plan to use it in the best way possible.”

According to PopCulture.com, some Chicago PD viewers took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the show, with particular ire reserved for Hank Voigt, One tweet said, “I love your #Chicago shows, but it’s time to rethink how you write Hank Voigt on @NBCChicagoPD since he regularly abuses & even kills suspects. That lawless character should NOT be a role model.”

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Who Is 'Chicago Med' Star S. Epatha Merkerson?

In the television series Chicago Med, it is up to Sharon Goodwin, portrayed by S. Epatha Merkerson, to keep the hospital running smoothly. Goodwin is the fictional Chief of Services at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, where the series is set. A former ER charge nurse, she runs a tight ship but often goes out a limb for the employees under her.

She may look familiar to many, as portraying someone in charge is nothing new for Merkerson. Before taking on the character of Goodwin, she portrayed Lt. Anita Van Buren in the original Law and Order as commander of New York’s 27th Precinct Detective Squad, playing opposite the late Jerry Orbach’s Detective Lennie Briscoe.

Her start was in theater moving on to television later. Let’s take a look.

The early days for Merkerson

The 67-year-old Michigan native earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Detroit’s Wayne University, according to IMDb. She moved to New York seeking work on the stage. Her list of Broadway and off-Broadway credits and accolades is quite extensive. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performances in The Piano Lesson, an Obie Award in I’m Not Stupid, and the Helen Hayes Award for The Old Settler.

It was in the 80s that she started her television career with a guest role on The Cosby Show. In 1986, she was cast as a regular on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, portraying Reba the Mail Woman. In 1990, she was cast as Van Buren in Law and Order. She wore a wig to conceal her natural braided hairdo, and following Orbach leaving the show in 2004, Merkerson became the longest-running cast member. Merkerson portrayed Van Buren for more than 300 episodes on the show. Her character also crossed over into subsequent Law and Order shows including Criminal Intent and Trial by Jury.

Merkerson has been cast in other television roles. She won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Rachel “Nanny” Crosby in the 2005 HBO movie version of Lackawanna Blues.

Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin on Chicago Med

RELATED: Who is ‘Chicago Med’ Actor Yaya DaCosta?

Chicago Med is the third series in the Chicago One group following Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. The trilogy is produced by Wolf Entertainment and Dick Wolf having also produced the Law and Order shows. Merkerson being cast in her role as Goodwin is no coincidence.  

“Dick has been a loyal producer and friend. He first hired me at 41, and now he’s hiring me at 62,” Merkerson said in a 2015 interview with AARP. “That says he knows the importance of the female point of view at all stages. I consider him a dear, dear friend.” In the same interview, Merkerson said, Goodwin is “a stand-up person. She’ll back up her doctors and try to do what she can to keep the hospital running properly.”

She further mentioned at the time that she hoped her new character’s personality and past life would be given more air time than her previous role on Law and Order. Through the Chicago Med’s five seasons thus far, she has been able to reveal her marriage and subsequent divorce, as well as her relationship with her son, and other staff members of the hospital. Merkerson’s Goodwin character has also appeared on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

A bit about Merkerson’s personal life

Through her years in acting, Merkerson has amassed a net worth of about $9 million, according to TVOM. She was once married and divorced. She has no children. 

In 2019 and again in 2020, she appeared in the PBS series Finding Your Roots. There she shared she was a descendant of some of the 272 enslaved people sold in the 1838 Jesuit slave sale in Georgetown, Maryland to pay-off debts incurred by Georgetown College, now Georgetown University.

Merkerson is a strong advocate for lung cancer research and awareness. A previous smoker herself, she is now a voice against smoking. Her sister is a lung-cancer survivor, but she has lost some close friends to the disease. 

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