Atwater was almost served a restraining order indicating character growth is needed in Chicago PD

When you look at all the characters who have grown in Chicago PD, Atwater's character development is lacking. That was even more evident in the latest episode.
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Retread" Episode 11002 -- Pictured: LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Retread" Episode 11002 -- Pictured: LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC) /

If there is one character I have always wanted more development for in Chicago PD, it’s Atwater. His character is underused, and this latest episode proved that.

Atwater—and Torres now—tend to only get used when it comes to race-focused or cartel-focused storylines. This wouldn’t be a problem as much if they had development within that, but the show is really only scratching the surface with them. We’re 11 seasons in for Atwater, and he is still very much the same guy that he was when the series first started.

The latest episode proved that. I get that this season needed to be focused on Upton for her exit, but we need to see the storylines shift toward Atwater (and Torres) more to allow these characters to grow further.

Why was Atwater almost hit with a restraining order in Chicago PD?

Atwater is a good guy. He tries to do his best in policing, but he doesn’t always get it right. Split-second decisions are a necessary part of policing, and we saw how getting the decision a little wrong in a recent episode led to the death of someone. Atwater has felt a strong sense of responsibility for that death, especially when he found out that the key to the locked door was right in front of him the whole time.

So, to help ease some of that guilt, Atwater did what he could financially. He paid for the headstone for the man, and he paid for groceries and meals for the wife and son left behind. He even showed up to the son’s school after learning that he was close to being expelled.

This all led to the wife, Teresa, putting it all together. She blames Atwater for her husband’s death, and she makes it clear that he won’t get absolution from her. On top of that, she threatens him with a restraining order if he keeps going the way he does.

Atwater needs to learn how to use his guilt for good

Trudy Platt had some wise words for Atwater. These are words that he should have heard much earlier on in the series, though. She told him that either his guilt could eat him up alive, or he could use it for purpose.

Atwater shared that he didn’t know how to use it for a good purpose. That’s something he needs to learn. And it is. We need to see him learn that.

But this should have happened so much sooner! We should have seen him grow as a cop and as a person over the last 11 seasons. The fact that we haven’t shows me that the writers haven’t given Atwater the storylines that he deserves and needs. It’s a major flaw in the writing, and something that I’ve pulled the show up on in the past. It’s time for the writers to change that, especially with Upton leaving.

You see, we already know a lot about Upton. She gets a lot of focus. Just look at the number of episodes she’s been the focus in throughout this season. Even when Voight has been the focus, Upton has been the secondary character. There just hasn’t been attention given to other characters, and Chicago PD has a chance to fix that.

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Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.