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Charlie Barnett Loved The Challenge Of Portraying His Character's Growth On Chicago Fire

Former "Chicago Fire" fan-favorite Charlie Barnett first suits up as rookie firefighter Peter Mills in the debut 2012 season of this smoking-hot NBC ratings juggernaut. As a newbie fire candidate assigned to Truck 81, Barnett's Mills works hard to fit in with the other, more experienced veterans at Firehouse 51 while he learns the ropes.

But the truth is, Mills launched himself into his firefighting career with some significant baggage — his father was a firefighter who died battling a blaze alongside current Deputy District Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker). With this familial legacy informing his new-found role as a first responder, Mills was determined to prove he has what it takes, both to make it as a firefighter and to honor his dad's memory. In addition to stepping up as a heroic civil servant, Mills would also fulfill the romantic drama element within producer Dick Wolf's Chicago-verse of shows by hooking up for a limited-time affair with firehouse paramedic Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymond). As the actor charged with playing this central persona in the "Chicago Fire" ensemble up through his departure from the series in Season 3, Barnett found the process of depicting Peter Mills' evolution a richly rewarding artistic challenge.

Charlie Barnett enjoyed portraying the emotional journey undertaken by Mills

As noted above, Charlie Barnett's character Peter Mills is seen entering into his job as a firefighter as a novice with much to learn, and prove, as he heads out on calls with other team members at the firehouse. After progressing from a wet-behind-the-ears trainee to becoming a reliable firefighting colleague, Mills experiences a health issue that causes him to be reassigned to less-strenuous ambulance duty. Eventually working his way back to full firefighter status, Mills also spends off-duty time pitching in to help out at his family's restaurant.

Discussing his character's development during a 2013 interview with CELEBS.com, Barnett explained that Mills has experienced major changes over his time on the show and that as an actor, he welcomes them. He went on to say that much like any human, Mills' emotional state bounces continuously between highs and lows, but that makes portraying him all the more interesting. "It's like he's real, he living," Barnett explained, adding that he'd like to see the show push Mills' persona to be even more active and volatile. "I want [the writers] to put more and more [into the character]. I was like, 'make Peter a badass, like there's a fight or something.'"

And while the actor told Digital Spy he was sad to leave "Chicago Fire," he also considered his departure "a blessing in disguise" before he went on to be cast in series including "Russian Doll" and "Arrow."