I'm going to need to take a moment to process everything that happened on Chicago PD Season 6 Episode 13.
"Night in Chicago" was a bold episode that highlighted LaRoyce Hawkins' massive talent.
His performance was layered and nuanced, and Chicago PD is beyond lucky to have him in their ensemble.
Being the only black man on the squad means he's always getting served storylines that involve race and discrimination.
While the storylines are necessary and eye-opening, I fear that it's also causing him to be sorely underutilized.
He's telling important stories, but he's only limited to storylines that find him constantly angry at the system. Can't Atwater ever have a lighthearted moment?
Whenever an episode focuses on Atwater, I find myself with this pit-of-my-stomach anxiety that I can't seem to shake.
Voight: So, I gotta ask Ray, why are you dropping a dime on these two?
Ray Price: Because they're bad for Chicago.
Voight: So is deep dish pizza.
Ray Price: Deep dish may be fattening but it don't destroy young black lives.
Chicago PD tends to address a topic and then completely forget about it by the next episode, but so much transpired on "Night in Chicago" that this momentum needs to be carried over into future storylines.
There are ripple effects that will affect not only Atwater but Intelligence and Ray.
Atwater cannot just bounce back from this and pretend as though nothing happened.
He's been forever changed much like his outlook on his career, his place in society and within his community, and his relationship with his peers.
In fact, I believe the racial divide will continue with Ray's mayoral run.
A political debate between two polarizing forces in Chicago is the next logical phase for Chicago PD, especially as one is running on the Black Lives Matter platform.
Despite Ray's positive message, his motivations were opportunistic and no better than that of the racist cops.
He took a dire situation and turned it into an opportunity to elevate himself.
Ray wanted Phil and Daryl to be "taken care of," but in true hypocritical fashion, he was the first one out there leading the march against police brutality after Daryl got killed.
And then he had the nerve to ask Atwater to lie just so the story could hold more weight and divide the races even more.
Driving a wedge between people isn't going to help the situation nor will it prevent this from happening again.
You and me Hank. We love this city. We dedicated our lives for this city so when people don't treat her right, when they disrespect the very institute that loves her dearly we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands.Ray Price
Ray's mayoral run will also dig deeper into the race war between Kelton and Ray. Both of them have racist predispositions going in that got highlighted during their intense pow-wow.
Ray may be opportunistic, but Kelton is complete scum who had the nerve to blame Atwater for the shooting.
It seems like it's so much easier to blame a black guy who was working to keep Chicago safe and doing a favor for the alderman than to call out the racist cop.
Voight's decision not to pull the plug on the bust to save Atwater and Daryl was oddly surprising.
I understand not wanting to botch the operation, and I understand trusting Atwater's judgment, but what if Atwater had been shot instead of Daryl?
Man, what's wrong with you? You look like you write songs for Drake. All up in your feelings, ain't you?Atwater
Did that thought even cross Voight's mind?
Voight intentionally put his own man at risk for what reason?
I shook my head when he questioned Atwater's assessment that the cop "wasn't one of them" saying he couldn't judge a cop without seeing proof.
Um, was Voight not listening to the audio like everyone else?
I also wonder why the FOP reps didn't care to question the rest of Intelligence as they all heard what was happening while standing by.
It wouldn't have just been Atwater's word against a white cop, his team could and would have backed him up.
Now, this episode is difficult for me to review because I'm a white woman. Just like Ruzek mentioned, I get it, but I'll never personally get it.
Atwater: What are you saying?
Ruzek: It's tough to say because I'm white. And no matter how hard I try or how badly I want to understand what just happened, what you just experienced, I can't. I never will. But I got your back always. Either way I got your back.
And that's okay.
I can still acknowledge that targeted police brutality on black men is real and wrong.
However, this episode transgressed police brutality; it also touched on dirty politics, discretion, and acceptance, which is why it was so powerful and resonated with such a large audience.
But frankly, the most challenging part of this episode is the difficult subject matter and the fact that there was no right or wrong answer.
Atwater struggled so much under the weight of his final decision because he has a conscience and a moral obligation to both his community and his team.
The way Atwater and Daryl got treated was undoubtedly racially motivated.
But the shooting? It was a good shot. It was warranted because Daryl resisted arrest and charged at an officer.
Resisting arrest always has negative outcomes regardless of what transpired to get to that moment.
Voight: You gotta do what you think is right. Just keep in mind, you're a cop. That's what you get paid for not to change the world.
Atwater: I just thought that's what we were supposed to do. Make the world better.
Voight: Just remember this is Chicago. It's not easy to be an idealist.
The situation should have never escalated that far, but once it did, Daryl should have complied.
Then there's the argument of whether or not Daryl was a good guy.
He may have been innocent at the time of the shooting, but overall he was a danger to Chicago by "destroying young black lives."
Did he deserve to die for dealing drugs? No. Did he deserve to die for driving while being black? Hell no.
But in a world where we have to save face, it's easier to spin his death since he has a criminal history.
Delving even further, was it Daryl's fault that he wasn't a good guy?
That's a complex answer. One could argue that we all have a choice, but losing your father at a young age, living in a low-income neighborhood, and being forced to turn to the streets, violence, and drugs for survival leaves you without much of one.
Sadly, it's a vicious circle that isn't easily broken especially with a system in place that's working against you.
Voight: You gotta take some time and calm down. Make sense of all this.
Atwater: No thanks, Sarge. I don't wanna calm down. I don't wanna make sense of this cause what just happened can't keep happening. Nah, it's gotta stop.
Then there's Atwater's guilt of turning on his people even though they weren't technically good people.
I don't think there will ever be a moment where Atwater can do good by both his brothers and his brothers in blue.
I was surprised none of Daryl's family -- specifically, his brother Vance -- went after Atwater after finding out he was a cop who betrayed them!
I'd say this episode was ridiculously upsetting and tragic, but it was more exhausting because when all is said and done, it's another day, or in this case, night, in Chicago.
I also can't help but point out the timing of this episode.
Just last week Empire's Jussie Smollett got attacked in the streets of Chicago for being a gay, black man.
Chicago PD may be a show, but the situations they are portraying and the hate crimes they are dealing with are far too real and crucial.
Atwater must be commended for following his gut instinct and telling the board the truth -- that it was a good shot.
If he doesn't have his honesty and integrity, what does he have?
However upset you were with his decision or that justice wasn't served, the ending made up for it.
I spent the whole episode waiting for that cop to get what was coming to him.
He wasn't so high and mighty without his badge or his gun.
Ruzek: Is the video helping or hurting?
Atwater: The video can't hear what the punk-ass cop was saying. I blink the wrong way that white boy would have shot me.
Atwater placing the gun to his head and asking if he feels like a man now gave me pure joy.
That is my favorite version of Atwater.
That is the version of Atwater I need in episodes to come.
I know this episode probably stirred up a lot of emotions in you (as it should have); it's a heavy situation.
We'll see where Atwater's narrative takes him now that he isn't exactly sure CPD has his back as a black man.
Kelton could still throw him under the bus to secure his mayoral title.
Do you think Atwater will join Ray's campaign? Will he reconsider being a cop?
Catch up and watch Chicago PD online, and leave your comments in the section below Fanatics!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..