Can Atwater and Ruzek make amends on Chicago PD?

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Protect And Serve" Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Protect And Serve" Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Atwater and Ruzek were good friends, but that friendship is now on the rocks after a racially-charged episode of Chicago PD. Will they be able to move forward?

Chicago PD Season 8, Episode 8 had a difficult storyline that would hit close to home for many people. It definitely hit close to home for Atwater. A white cop shot a Black man. This Black man had a gun but wasn’t holding it and was nowhere near it.

Everything got caught on video. The cop tried to say that he was scared for his life, claiming the Black man reached for his gun, but the video said something completely different. In the end, the cop thought the new video was doctored, sure that what he was seeing didn’t actually happen. He was genuinely sure that the Black man had reached for his gun.

It was an important episode of unconscious racisms and bias. This cop made a fatal mistake out of fear, and he ended up paying the ultimate price for that.

However, the main focus of the episode was how this situation drove a wedge between Ruzek and Atwater. While they were both on the same side that the cop needed to be arrested, Ruzek just wanted to do his job and be done with it. Atwater struggled not to show his anger, and that anger led to him calling Ruzek out on Ruzek’s passiveness about the whole situation.

And that’s really what it was. Ruzek wanted to toe the line to get through the day. Maybe that could have been understandable had Ruzek just said that. However, Ruzek made it clear that he didn’t see why something like what happened was something to do with him. One thing that many white people are being called out on is their passiveness.

If we’re not speaking out about it then we’re part of the systemic racism problem. That is the truth whether you like it or not.

Is there hope for Ruzek and Atwater on Chicago PD?

In the end, Atwater realized that the cop wasn’t hateful. This cop had an unconscious bias that led to seeing something that didn’t happen. But the cop genuinely believed it did. I think it led to Atwater seeing this problem in a different way.

How can you possibly fight against something that is more of that fight or flight defense? The fear comes from unconscious bias, but how does someone know they have that unconscious bias until something happens? This is where the fight against the current system becomes almost impossible.

Ruzek also saw the situation in a different light. He isn’t a racist cop. When it comes to the physical job, he is good at it. However, his loyalty to the force and his willingness to be passive in these important situations lead to a huge problem.

And what’s to say that there isn’t an unconscious bias there? What about the other Intelligence members? Is it possible that one of them could do the same thing, believing that they’ve seen something that hasn’t happened?

It’s not going to be easy for Ruzek and Atwater to make amends after this. At least, it shouldn’t be. Chicago PD writers do have a tendency to just quickly move on and forget. Instead, this storyline needs to move forward. Actions and words have consequences.

The episode itself should be an eye-opener to many. Unconscious bias is a huge problem, but it’s not often addressed. While The Rookie opted for a visibly racist copChicago PD has given us something that is much harder to fight against.

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Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC. Catch up the following day on Hulu.