Sometimes doing the right thing is really damn hard, especially when you're a Black man and a cop in the city of Chicago.
On Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 9, two Black business owners were gunned down by a violent gang leader who was running the neighborhood Atwater used to patrol.
As Intelligence pursued the case, Dep. Samantha Miller asked Voight if he would consider bringing Andre Cooper into Intelligence.
A quick refresher -- Cooper aka "Coop" was the partner of the white cop, David Wheelan, who shot an innocent Black man on Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 8.
While Voight didn't immediately bow down to Miller's request, he didn't nix the possibility either.
Voight: My team's handpicked by me.
Miller: You realize I could just assign him to Intelligence, right?
Voight: I do. But you didn't.
There is an unspoken bond and understanding between them, which was made clear by her decision to ask Voight rather than simply assigning Cooper to Intelligence.
She respects Voight, and the feeling is mutual. But she is going to run out of "favors" pretty quickly if she keeps this up.
Voight found himself in a situation where he benefitted from Cooper's involvement, but I think it was a premature move for the newbie officer.
According to Atwater, it's been a week since he witnessed his partner murder a Black man in cold blood. That's barely enough time to process the situation let alone bounce back from it.
Atwater: Why you running?
Man: White cops scare me.
Atwater: Yeah. What color am I?
Man: Blue. Just as dangerous.
Not to mention he's been harassed and criticized by both Black and white cops for either not doing enough or not protecting his partner.
I appreciate the show's dedication to continuity, but in this instance, Cooper was too fresh and too green to get thrown into such a tough case on his own.
He was too emotionally vulnerable to properly analyze the situation.
There's also the question of how no one recognized Cooper considering the high-profile nature of Wheelan's shooting.
Wheelan went viral for killing an innocent man, so, at some point, Cooper would've likely been featured on the news.
Yeah, well you know it ain't nothing like running from the cops to bring brothers together.Andre
The decision to assign Cooper to the case didn't seem like it was fully thought through.
And while it was great that Cooper found an immediate in with Damari, it was concerning that his actions were affected by Damari's situation with his brother, Theo, who suffered seizures as a result of a severe form of epilepsy.
Cooper found himself in Damari's corner after realizing he was only dealing and engaging in criminal activities to make enough money to pay medical bills.
However, Atwater was right that at the end of the day, the purpose behind the crime doesn't matter. It could've lessened Damari's sentence, especially if he was cooperative, but he knew the risks of the lifestyle.
He even admitted that not all Black men are choir boys and some of them do break the law, himself included.
There seemed to be a level of understanding that one day he might have to pay the consequences for his actions.
And while he didn't pull the trigger, by working with Quincy, he played an active role in killing two innocent men. He was responsible for taking them away from their families, and inevitably, he needed to pay for it.
Cooper wasn't turning his back on his people; he was helping put away the people who were taking innocent lives.
Atwater: This ain't "Batman," dawg. The criminals don't wear masks. They don't act all crazy. Some of them are smart, and they're charming. They take care of their mothers, and their fathers, and their uncles. And their little brothers too.
Andre: You know, I get that. But I feel like we could've done better. I feel like we could've told Damari what was going on and best thing, he'll cooperate. We could've taken care of Theo. There's gotta be a better way to do this without destroying innocent Black lives. That's all I'm saying.
Atwater: I mean, we had to put Damari into play to get justice for Roy Hills and Bob Hayes. Innocent Black lives. There's not an easy answer to this problem. But us being here is a part of the solution.
Atwater is one of the people who understands the Black versus Blue issue more than anyone else as he's experienced it on too many occasions and found himself torn many times.
Cooper would've done well by heeding all of Atwater's advice instead of trying to do his own thing because Atwater is out here telling it like it is.
That man doesn't sugarcoat anything, and we love him for it.
It's unclear if Cooper is here to stay or if his involvement with Intelligence will be short-lived.
While Cooper became too involved while being undercover, the fact is, it's not entirely his fault.
We've seen seasoned officers and detectives like Halstead get way too emotionally attached in such cases, so it's unfair to hold this situation against Coop entirely.
In light of everything, he handled himself pretty well. He sold the story, he remained cool and composed even when Quincy made him, and he never gave up his cover.
And when Intelligence lost connection with him, he didn't panic but rather called OnStar so that they would be able to locate him.
Despite Atwater's reservations, Cooper managed to impress Voight.
Intelligence could also benefit from having another member of color so that it isn't always Atwater against the world.
However, I'm torn because Cooper is so new that he hasn't really earned his spot within the unit, which requires a certain level of skills.
Cooper may have held his own, but he still needed plenty of coaching along the way.
This job is hard. Especially when you're trying to do right. The more you care, it actually gets harder. So if this isn't something that you can do, if you don't think you can handle it, step aside. But either way, we got jobs to do, and we gotta get it done.Atwater
Voight gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was "learning," but when I think of Intelligence, I don't think of newbie officers who are just getting their bearings. The job is meant for the best of the best.
Since we didn't know much about Cooper or how he'd react in any given situation, the case much more nerve-wracking than most.
We're so familiar with the other members of the unit that we can predict their actions, but we were in brand new territory with Cooper. It could've gone sideways at any moment.
It was a rush I haven't felt while watching PD in quite some time.
Also, as a Chicago resident who has wiped out on the black ice more than once this winter season, I'm constantly in awe of how they run through the snow and on the icy surfaces!
Atwater's interest in investing in a neighborhood and trying to turn it around is full of potential.
There are plenty of neighborhoods in Chicago that were once lively and are now abandoned and run down.
With a little TLC, Atwater could make his mark on the city that he loves so much while also giving back to his people in a positive way. I'd also love to see him get invested in something outside of his job.
I'll never complain about an Atwater-centric episode (ever), but this is one of several in a row that gives him the spotlight.
It makes for great television, sure, but it may be time to catch up with the others for a bit.
What's going on with Halstead and Upton's relationship? How is Burgess's foster child situation going with Makayla?
What did you think of the episode?
As always, you can leave your comments below and watch Chicago PD online!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..