Detective Antonio Dawson is a former second-in-command of the CPD Intelligence Unit. Appointed personally by Hank Voight, Dawson doubled as a devil's advocate to his superior officer and was the de-facto leader of the unit whenever Voight was absent.
Between Season 4 and 5, Dawson took the job of lead investigator for the Cook County State’s Attorney's Office, but returned to Intelligence after finding the long investigations boring.
In Season 6, Antonio fell into a drug habit and he relapsed in the final episode. He resigned off-screen, was taken to rehab, and later decided to move to Puerto Rico to seek further help.
During Wrong Side of the Bars , his son Diego is kidnapped by gangsters. Antonio is so desperate to get his son back that he follows his sergeant’s method of interrogation and is successfully able to get answers. With the help of his unit, he’s able to rescue him.
In Chin Check, Antonio was told by his wife to invite his CI to dinner, despite his insistence on not doing so. The death of his partner also has been hard on him too because he forbids Adam from sitting at Julie’s desk. At the end, it is revealed that his wife only wanted to invite his CI because she wanted to thank her for saving their son and gives her a necklace, which she accepts .
During My Way, Antonio is annoyed when he has to be put in the same room with Pulpo, a gangster who ordered the abduction of his son. He goes undercover as part of the deal to expose the gang. Alvin talks to Antonio about how it must be hard for him to be in the same room with a gangster who abducted his son. Antonio lashes out at him for mentioning this because the monster was responsible for killing his partner and putting his family in peril. The next day, Antonio apologizes to Alvin for his outburst while Alvin lets it slide because he can understand that and they make up. After the case is resolved, Antonio insults Pulpo again. At the end of the episode, he is shot when the gangster escapes custody and kills a fellow officer.
As of The Docks, Antonio has survived the shot but is critically wounded. He wakes up, just as Jay visits to relay the news about Pulpo and how it's unlikely to air on the evening news. Sharing Halstead's conviction for justice, Antonio tells him where he thinks Voight and Olinsky would take Pulpo: the docks.
In Get My Cigarettes, Antonio and the others warn Jay about the hit put on him. Antonio jokingly tells his friend maybe he should take them out to pay off his mortgage.
In An Honest Woman, Antonio in the unit investigate the disappearance of Voight when he doesn’t show up to work. They soon find out that he was kidnapped in a robbery along with the mother of his future grandchild. Like Alvin, Antonio make sure it’s to keep the unit focused telling them not to worry about what Voight had in his safe when they speculate.
During A Little Devil Complex, Antonio looks into the suspect of a fire at the behest of his sister who had lost her closest friend in said fire. Antonio arrests the man known as Adrian Gish but the latter is released. Further investigation into Adrian and tips from the fire department leads them to discover that he is actually living under an assumed name. Antonio watches when Voight is angry that the man has been losing the name for 20 years has been causing trouble in the city since. Antonio promises his sister that he will do whatever he can’t put me behind bars and Gabriela tells him that he better keep the promise because that’s all him. Further information from Adam and Alvin leads detectives to learn that Adrian is really Trenton Lamont who had lost his family in a fire. After finding his house, a neighbor confirms that he is Trenton. The detectives raid his house and Antonio is horrified to learn that he is targeting Gabby and has set a trap for her. Antonio tries to call her but the connection is broken up. The location and Antonio learns that his sister is trapped in the elevator he runs to her location. Antonio arrived just in time to save his sister from being burned alive by shooting Lamont in the head. Afterwards, he is shaken by the thought of nearly losing his sister but joins his colleagues at the bar. Gabby approaches him while he is at the bar to tell him he did good and that she is okay.
In Erin's Mom, Antonio is reunited with his old partner Gina during a case that Lindsay's mother had brought to them. Gina later approaches Antonio and tells him she learned about his recent split with his wife and tells him of her own split with her husband and invited him to drinks something he decides to take her up on. Antonio is later horrified to find the bodies of a father and son who were killed after being dumped in a frozen river. Antonio later fights the offender Jared is overpowered until Jay comes to his aid and he is apprehended. Unfortunately, Jared escapes after killing a fellow prisoner and taking his clothes. Intelligence tracks Jared to the apartment of his partner's father. They chase Jared through the complex until Antonio tackles him and proceeds to beat him down for all of his actions. Jared is brought back to the precinct but is shot by the wife and mother of the pair they were killed. Antonio later takes Gina out on a date, where she brings up him coming onto her. Antonio tries to apologize again before Gina reveals a past attraction to him, before they proceed to hook up.
During What Puts You On That Ledge, Dawson discovers that one of his old friends is a part of case involving a missing undercover cop. Antonio successfully infiltrates and slowly makes his way up. However, his initiation requires him to kill a man named Rick, the undercover cop who was missing because he stole money. Antonio is unable to do so, while suspected of being a cop. As a result, guns are aimed at him but his squad burst in and a shootout occurs. Antonio had duck for cover, while telling Rick he was a cop too. After his old friend is arrested, he agrees to talk but not to Antonio who walks out. At the end, he watches his kids ice skate before Voight comes up with his arm in a cast and they have a good talk before Antonio notes on how his kids keep him sane.
During Natural Born Storyteller, the unit investigate the murder of a boy who came from a neighborhood that deals with problems. Antonio and Lindsay meet with a registered sex offender Darren Woodhull if he was involved in the death of the child. The talk became tense when Antonio demands that he answers their questions about his whereabouts. When a man goes missing they investigate his house and find his roommate another sex offender who claims that Darren was taken. Antonio beats the man in interrogation causing Hank to have him escorted out. Afterwards, the unit find the dead boys father and a friend Damien Boyd beating up Darren in a would be interrogation. They stop this and bring them in and after Kevin reports that Boyd’s son is missing, meaning Darren was not the culprit.
In Actual Physical Violence, a desperate father arrives at the precinct searching for his daughter and holds Mouse hostage until she is found. The unit investigate him and find he has a building with cameras and soon discover caged women in the basement. Antonio and Alvin both agree on wanting to punish the casanova after finding he tortured the women with a chimney poker. After finding the kidnapper, they allow Hank to interrogate him. Soon Intelligence Unit raid the house and find the leader dead with bullets, Sarah nowhere to be seen. They eventually reach the train station, where people are running away. The unit find Sarah covered in blood, armed with a gun and contemplating suicide. Erin speaks with her but Sarah refuses to live with the pain and the unit has Voight get her father who calms her down. After the case, Antonio starts dealing with the stress of running his training center by signing papers. A girl named Michelle Sovana arrives and says her father sent her to the training center. It was here the Antonio learned of Michelle being Alvin's daughter. He is quite shocked to hear this but agreed to train her.
In Debts of the Past, Alvin arrived at the center where he finds Michelle training. Antonio shares words to Al about his big secret but the latter shrugged it off.
During The Cases that Need to be Solved, Antonio and the unit investigate a murder of a child. When the suspect Jordan Lockett is arrested for the crime, In the midst of the interrogation, Antonio nearly loses his cool for allowing a six-year-old boy to be killed. Because of this display, Antonio has to be taken out of the interrogation room before he could attack the perpetrator. Afterwards, Antonio bonds with Diego and tells him that he wants him to come with him to honor the boy at his wake.
During Reform, Antonio is called in for a favor by Adam. He poses as a gangster and is successful in going undercover with help from Kev and Adam. He reconnected with Kim and meets Hailey Upton. Antonio says he was on leave in office to help them in the case, since he needed the money.
In The Thing About Heroes, Antonio joins Kim in investigating the house of her partner who is implied to be involved in a terrorist splinter cell. Although he warned her not to get involved but he trusted her instincts and they investigated a house. They soon realize he was going undercover to bring down the terrorist cells from the inside.
In Promise, Antonio was going to take his daughter Eva to go see a movie and discuss her college essay about their lineage but they are forced to take a rain check because of a case. Antonio meet up with his old friend Jerry who was happy to see him back on the job and after Jerry makes a remark about a recently deceased woman Antonio has to do it after his daughter spots the scene. Antonio is also partnered with Kim by Voight. Despite finding a suspect they were unable to connect him especially after the victim son identifies the wrong man. Antonio was livid with Voight but. At the end, he was horrified when it turns out that Hank told the brother of another victim about this man. When the suspect is found dead Antonio confronts Hank who implies that he arranged.
In Snitch, Antonio lies to Hank about going to a parent teacher conference when really he was meeting with the state attorney something to Hank caught him doing unbeknownst to him.
During Home, Antonio in the the unit are able to stop a sex trafficking ring for children. At the end, Hank confronts Antonio on the little fiasco at the attorneys office. Antonio explains properly about what happened revealing that the Attorneys were looking into the case on Lopez, the culprit from the previous crime. Antonio also reveals that he did not tell them anything despite his previous feelings about the case.
Directly following the rattling death of Al and the events after, Voight is put under investigation, leaving Antonio in charge of the unit. When Antonio answered truthfully about what he saw to the Police Board, he was unable to be of any help to Voight clearing his own name. This angered Ruzek, who defied the orders given to him by Antonio in return; it all comes to a head in the conclusion of a case, when both of them engage in a fight and have to be pried apart. Antonio was left taking the fall for the actions of Ruzek and the team, though no actual issues are mentioned; later episodes, which may have occurred following a time lapse, show the two no longer showing an ill will to one another, although Ruzek's rebellious nature is still a compromise.
During the take-down of a criminal in Bad Boys, Antonio injures his shoulder trying to break down a door. In the next episode, despite Ruzek mentioning that Dawson's shoulder is looking better—followed with the claim by Dawson that he has been receiving acupuncture treatments—it is revealed that Antonio is actually taking painkiller medicine for his shoulder.
His addiction comes to a head in Descent, when a criminal kidnapped his daughter. After Voight and Adam find him, Antonio violently beats up and pushes the criminal out of a window, instantly killing him. Voight, having found out of Antonio's painkiller addiction, advises him to seek a rehab facility, while Ruzek covers for his mistake.
In Trust, Antonio returns to work and he confides in his boss about how he can let Adam take the blame for his crime. Hank tells him that if he tells the truth then they will all be in danger.
Reckoning sees the OID investigation reopened, and Adam continues to cover for Antonio to the point of being arrested. Out of guilt, Antonio is last seen taking painkillers again.
In Doubt, he has destroyed whatever is in his apartment, leaving his badge before vanishing without a trace from Intelligence; Voight, the only person aware of Antonio's circumstances, later takes him to an off-book rehabilitation center.
It is later mentioned in Familia that Antonio is said to have resigned and moved to Puerto Rico as a means to further reach out for family help.
Notes and Trivia
- Antonio carried a Glock 17, but was seen often switching between a shoulder holster and a standard belt holster; since Season 6, he has stuck with a shoulder holster.
- Antonio's badge number was 50259.
- According to Voight, Antonio was going to be in the Olympics for boxing prior to the series.
- This is further implemented into his character in how he owns a training gym. It is unknown what has happened to it, but it can be assumed Dawson sold his gym prior to moving out of Chicago.
- His first patrol car was a Cadillac Seville STS. He would later switch this out for a Dodge Ram 1500, a Ford Fusion Titanium, a GMC Acadia, and a slightly modified Ford Taurus Police Interceptor.
- Antonio is friends with Matthew Casey, who was briefly his brother-in-law.
- Dawson's radio code was 5021 Frank, but he once used 5021 Baker.
- Antonio holds a great hatred for child murderers and pedophiles, due to being a father and when a case involves one he beats them viciously. When his daughter was a victim of a rape, Antonio beat the man but in a fit of rage killed him by accident.
- His Class A uniform displays the Department Commendation Award, Crime Reduction Award 2009, Crime Reduction Award 2004, NATO Summit Service Award, and Presidential Election Deployment Award.
Chicago Justice Gallery
|The Silos||Made a Wrong Turn||All Cylinders Firing||Big Friends, Big Enemies||A War Zone|
|Some Friend||300,000 Likes||A Shot Heard Around the World||Don't Bury This Case||Don't Read the News|
|You Wish||Sanctuary||I Remember Her Now||Seven Indictments||Favor, Affection, Malice or Ill-Will|
|Emotional Proximity||Remember the Devil||Little Bit of Light||Last Minute Resistance||Grasping for Salvation|
|Fagin||Army of One||Fork in the Road|
|Reform||The Thing About Heroes||Promise||Snitch||Home|
|Fallen||Care Under Fire||Politics||Monster||Rabbit Hole|