LaRoyce Hawkins

LaRoyce Hawkins, Chicago Press Day Celebration of “Chicago P.D.”

*NBC hosted a Chicago Press Day Celebration of its hit Dick Wolf-created crossover dramas, “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago P.D.” and new medical series “Chicago Med.”

The Electronic Urban Report/EUR‘s Ny Magee  was on hand to chop it up with the cast and crew of all three shows, including Eamonn Walker (“Chicago Fire”) and LaRoyce Hawkins (Chicago P.D.), about their heroic characters on Wolf’s edge-of-your seat dramas.

Eamonn described his “Fire” crew as a “real family,” and when asked what has been the most rewarding to explore, in terms of his character’s growth over the past four seasons, Walker told EUR:

“I don’t know if that’s a fair question because so many different things happen in life.There are good moments and there are bad moments, and both make us who we are because a character is slowly unveiling each layer as you get to know him. I’m enjoying the discovery of that just the same as you are watching him. I’m hoping that, as each layer comes off, the light and the dark side of Boden comes through, but his humanity comes through most of all.”

While many fans of the show, including Boden’s own “Fire” crew, find him “intimidating” or “too hard,” Eamonn tell us that hard exterior is par for the course.

“He’s got a lot of responsibility. He’s got a whole firehouse of people whose lives are in his hands. He makes a wrong decision, they all die,” Walker said. “That’s a great ideal of weight one has to work with. There aren’t jokes with that. You don’t joke about with somebody’s life. You don’t joke about with your family’s life. You can joke with them, but you don’t joke about it. That’s who he is but there are obviously other aspects of that. He has his own family (and) a wife now that’s pulling him against his family that he made at the firehouse. It’s great to be able to discover all that.”

Eamonn Walker

Eamonn Walker, Chicago Press Day Celebration of “Chicago Fire”

Eamonn Walker

LaRoyce Hawkins, "Chicago P.D." set demo.

LaRoyce Hawkins, “Chicago P.D.” set demo.

Harvey, Illinois native LaRoyce Hawkins gushed about Wolf and his team allowing him to incorporate his own background into his character on “Chicago P.D.”

“It’s the small things that make a difference, like having a Thornton Wildcats coffee mug on Atwater’s desk. Things like that (help) me bring an organic element to this world,” Hawkins said, adding: “I grew up in a place where cops weren’t respected. Now I’m in a unique position where I empathize with both sides, and I think Atwater understands that too. He’s one of those kind of cats who’s from the hood but isn’t of the hood. He’s a police officer so he can protect his family, and I think his well-rounded understanding of both worlds help him protect his family probably a lot better than the average cop because he’s actually from the community that he serves.”

What does Atwater think of the characters that occupy his world?

“Being the only black character on the show, surrounded by colleagues who are not from where he’s from, they don’t have some of the backgrounds but he’s learning everything from everybody’s background. Jay for instance, who has a military background, he picks up things from that. He picks up things from Jon Seda and his boxing from back in the day. I think Atwater, since he’s culturally able to adapt well, he can pick up all the little things that everybody else is putting down, and start to apply them to his life and how he approaches being a cop, and how he approaches being a man and protecting his family. LaRoyce Hawkins does the same thing.”

LaRoyce explained how he finds inspiration from his real life colleagues, and as he evolves as an actor, “Atwater continues to evolve.”

“All of these are great actors that have been on television and done movies way longer than I have, so I’m something like the little homie walking into this team of veterans, and LaRoyce Hawkins is learning just as much as Atwater is. All these different concepts and techniques I’m picking up on as an actor, and Atwater does the same thing with the cop world too.”

“Chicago Fire” airs Tuesdays at 10/9 c on NBC.

“Chicago P.D.” airs Wednesday at  10/9 c on NBC.