Put some respect on Kevin Atwater’s name.
We were long overdue for a Kevin-centric, and as customary for them, Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 19 didn’t disappoint. It took us on a twisty ride where we didn’t know who was true and what wasn’t.
But one thing is undeniably sure here, and it’s that it is well past time for Kevin Atwater to become a detective.
The hour was refreshing for so many reasons. Right off the bat, it was a relief that there was an Atwater arc that didn’t dip into the redundant well of inner-city conflict and Black versus Blue, which was par the course for installments that focused exclusively on him.
The case couldn’t have been different from the norm, with Atwater landing a case involving a series of robberies and homicides affecting wealthy Chicagonites and his unique connection with the mysterious Raquel.
Who the hell are you?
The hour also delivered on something we’ve been craving for an eternity, mixing and matching the partnerships and giving us Kevin interacting with each and every one of his unit members at some point or another.
Atwater is the linchpin in this operation. As the perpetual fifth-wheel to two couples, he also can pair well with everyone.
And it was high time they took full advantage of that and put it to use. We got some action-packed Halwater scenes that showed how well the two of them play off one another in the field and make you wish they’d work together more often.
After all, their similar styles, camaraderie, and combined intellect proved fruitful during the quest to find Kim during Chicago PD Season8 Episode 16. It was the first time we got to revisit that at length again.
It was gloriously intense to witness them clearing a scene together, engaging in a shootout, and having each other’s backs. Although, I’m peeved about the Charger getting damaged.
Burgwater is a classic as the OG partnership, and the ease by which they know each other and get alone makes their partnered scenes together effortless.
You can never go wrong with Ruzwater, and we got some of that classic snark from Ruzek and the effortless bromance we’ve come to love as he and Atwater dressed Axel down.
And they even gave us a brief and rare Upwater during an interrogation. We rarely get to see Kevin teamed up with “Hailes,” but they too have a camaraderie that plays off each other well, making you long for more moments between the two.
I already got a warrant. Why don’t you just invite me in your house?
The installment was an hour-long case for why Kevin deserves a promotion. He put on his investigative hat and followed his gut, even when things got murky, and even his colleagues and friends doubted him and thought he was too close.
Kevin’s connection to Raquel was special, and to this moment, one can’t even understand what he saw in her that drove him so much, but it’s a good thing that he did.
Kevin felt like he could “see” Raquel from the moment he rescued her, and she seemed to feel the same way.
Frankly, I cannot think of a better actress who could pull off this Inventing Anna style twists and confusion than Queen of the South‘s Molly Burnett.
She’s one of the strongest guest stars this season, accompanying Carmela Zumbado and Benjamin Levy Aguilar, keeping things memorable and having you glued to the screen.
She made you waffle back and forth on Raquel from the moment Kevin saved her until the end when they said goodbye.
Raquel was a woman with so much to hide and many identities under her belt, and she was such an excellent liar and good at being another person that she made you doubt her at every turn.
Every time they got a lead on something or grasped another piece of this puzzle, they would get thrown for a loop because of something Raquel withheld or what others had to say.
What started as a seemingly run-of-the-mill case of robbers coming after wealthy people turned personal when they realized that Raquel’s involvement was the sticking point.
The assumption that she was the former interior designer ripping people off was presumptuous when she was already married to the wealthy Brent. But she didn’t do herself any favors when she was headed out of town shortly after her husband was murdered, and once they found the multiple IDs, it was a wrap.
Sadly, Raquel’s excuse for multiple identities is a common enough one. It’s not out of the norm for a woman to suggest that she’s on the run from an abuser, and it’s undoubtedly what compelled Axel to help her out so much.
Raquel’s background took them on this rollercoaster as she went from a victim, suspect, survivor, accomplice, person operating under duress, and mastermind within days.
The more convoluted the case became, the harder it was to trust anyone, including Raquel.
Once Sam entered the picture, it was enough to make Raquel sympathetic again, just as you begin to question her. Once they got to her original identity and looked into her, it supported that she was in an abusive relationship with Sam.
And her fear over them using her as bait was palpable. You could believe that she was terrified of this man, and she assisted him in his robberies out of coercion and fear.
But when she couldn’t trust Kevin and the others and started to take off, it gave you the impression that he was trying to make a run for it before some truth was exposed.
And that’s what made everyone susceptible to Sam’s words when he implied that Raquel was the mastermind, and he could recall all of these things that made her suspicious, exploiting her lifestyle habits while on the run from him to cast doubts.
Raquel thought that Sam would kill her, but his sinister plan was to set her up and send her to prison. Sam was such scum!
If anything confirmed he was a classic abuser, it was his ability to gaslight, manipulate, and blame the victim.
Raquel thought she was doing herself a favor with those phones, but Sam was even a step ahead in that regard, too. It’s scary that the only thing that stood between Raquel, a domestic violence survivor, and a cruel prison system and miscarriage of justice were Atwater’s determination, relentlessness, and gut.
Kev, she looks guilty. She’s been lying about who she is for decades!
All signs pointed to Raquel being an expert con woman. As convincing as Raquel was, the same could be said about Sam when they caught him.
They would’ve closed the case, and Raquel would’ve gotten charged and thrown behind bars if Atwater gave up and accepted things at surface value.
Hell, he was the only one who believed in Raquel in the end. Even the rest of the team thought she was a grifter who was playing them all.
Other people would’ve allowed the peer pressure of their colleagues and friends to get into their heads and influence them. They would’ve second-guessed themselves, given into everything, and moved on to the next case.
Atwater standing off against his team was a great scene. They were united in their doubts based on their evidence, and they genuinely felt bad about Raquel “playing” him.
They exhausted all of their options, retraced their steps, did all the best police work, and hit a wall.
Kevin wasn’t wrong for following his gut, but they sure as heck weren’t either, which made this tiff compelling.
It was sheer luck that he located those phones in the twilight hour, and it clinched the deal, clearing Raquel’s name and confirming Sam was the terrible one.
The way his whole persona shifted when Atwater confronted him told it all.
It was one of many great interrogation scenes with Kevin. Honestly, every single moment he spent in that room was fantastic, and it’s always a treat when LaRoyce Hawkins is front and center because the man is gifted and has such excellent range.
The case and his connection with Raquel brought up some personal things for him, but it was in a nice, subtle way rather than something hamfisted.
Atwater could see that Raquel was a good person, and he didn’t hold lying against her because of how things ended with him and Celeste.
Raquel: It’s the lie people see. It’s unforgivable.
Atwater: You believe that?
Raquel: You don’t? Who did you lie to? Because you said earlier that you lied? Did they forgive you?
Atwater: I’m an undercover cop. I lie all the time.
Yes, lying comes with the job as an undercover officer, but what he did to Celeste felt different, and he knows it.
Kevin could relate to being a good person who hid behind another identity, and it seemed some of his bond with Raquel stemmed from that.
Their goodbye scene was sweet, and things came full circle to the top of the hour when he called Celeste one final time to apologize but respect her wishes not to talk to him and move on with his life.
It’s too bad he’s still hung up on her as that bartender was more than interested at the top of the hour. Kevin deserves a nice woman and a healthy relationship.
Maybe he’ll still get there. I’m glad he’s letting Celeste go, and he can work on healing his broken heart, however long it takes.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. What did you think of this twisty case? Did you believe Raquel or have doubts? Did you love all the Atwater partnerships? Sound off below!
Chicago P.D. returns May 11 with all-new episodes. If you want to catch up, you can watch Chicago PD online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.