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Chicago Fire's Charlie Barnett Found Himself Relating With Peter's Struggles On A Personal Level

Over the past 10 years, Charlie Barnett has become a familiar and welcome presence on television. Barnett has proven to have the remarkable ability to stand out even in a single-episode appearance, as he did in a heartbreaking turn in "Orange Is the New Black" in 2017, or as part of an ensemble in series like "Valor" and Netflix's "Tales of the City." In 2019 he nabbed his biggest role to date as Alan Zaveri in "Russian Doll," a meticulous young man who gets trapped in a time loop. Steady gigs followed, including recurring roles in "Arrow," "You," and "Special" (via IMDb).

Before the casting directors came a-knocking, Barnett got the ball rolling with his first major role: Peter Mills on "Chicago Fire." As an original cast member, Barnett joined "Chicago Fire" upon its premiere in 2012 and was a Firehouse 51 regular until 2015, when Peter moved to North Carolina to be with his family. Peter made his mark over the course of his 66-episode stint, saving lives, breaking a leg, and striking up a romance with Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund). Moreover, Barnett was able to relate to his character on a personal level.

Barnett and his character were both rookies

At the beginning of "Chicago Fire," Peter Mills is a rookie assigned to Truck 81 under Lieutenant Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer). For Charlie Barnett, who was just beginning his career as an actor, playing a newcomer to the firehouse wasn't an unfamiliar feeling. "There have been many times I've realized I'm sitting off-camera and talking to one of the cast mates or crew members and feeling it mirrors what Peter is going through – having to figure out how he fits into the group and having to figure out how I, Charlie Barnett, fit within this group of actors, crew and producers," the actor told Female First in 2013. "It's scary sometimes."

Aside from their shared status as rookies, Barnett related to Peter on an elemental level. "Peter Mills, the character I play, fits me very well," he continued. "We're very similar and in any kind of TV show the further you go on, the more parts of yourself begin to bleed into the character; the two fuse together." Barnett also explained what attracted him the most to the series. "What drew me in was the blend of excitement, family and intimacy as well as the fact that anything could happen at any point- it's risky," he said.