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Why Peter Mills From Chicago Fire Looks So Familiar

Peter Mills was one of the OG characters on "Chicago Fire," a rookie who'd gone into the firefighting business despite his firefighter father having been killed in the line of duty. During his time on the show he romanced Gabriela "Gabby" Dawson (Monica Raymund) and Isabella Thompson (Mena Suvari), and becomes close with Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney), Rebecca Jones (Daisy Betts), and Sylvie Brett (Kara Kilmer). He struggled a lot in his quest to be a firefighter, and surprisingly decided to walk away in the end and help run his family's restaurant.

We know the real reason Charlie Barnett, who plays Mills, left "Chicago Fire" wasn't his decision, but a strategic plan by the show to introduce new characters. "The hardest part of this job is when you feel it's the right time to make cast changes. [Losing Barnett] was solely based on bringing in new people for new stories," executive producer Matt Olmstead told TV Guide. While Barnett will always be remembered as Mills from "Chicago Fire," he's quite a busy actor, and it's likely he's familiar to viewers because they saw him in one of his many other projects.

A role in Private Romeo earned him critical acclaim

Charlie Barnett's film and screen debut was in the 2006 film "Circus Camp" playing Billy Robarts, a boy who is in love with protagonist Gabriela Anderson (Lindsey Landers), a teenager who goes in search of the father she hasn't seen since she was a child. Five years later — guest-starring in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" — he played the dual role of Ken Lee and Prince Escalus in "Private Romeo," and he and his co-stars shared the Grand Jury Award for outstanding actor in a feature film at the L.A. Outfest. "'Private Romeo' is my rumination on homophobia, and more specifically 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' which at the time we made the film, was not yet overturned," director Alan Brown told filmint. "And also, an opportunity for me to immerse myself in Shakespeare."

The modern-day telling of "Romeo and Juliet" is focused on the students at an all-male military academy, but instead of warring families, the film features clashing friend groups. Barnett plays the senior cadet Ken Lee as well as the voice of reason, Prince Escalus. When cadet Josh/Mercutio (Hale Appleman) is hurt by Carlos/Tybalt (Bobby Moreno), it's left to Lee/Prince Escalus to call their superior and let him know what happened.

He played Patrick in Secrets and Lies

Charlie Barnett co-starred in "Gayby" and "The Happy Sad" between 2012 and 2013, and played the small role of Air Force MP#2 in "Men in Black 3" before starting his role as Peter Mills on "Chicago Fire." After his time on the show ended, he took on the part in the series "Secrets and Lies," co-starring Juliette Lewis and Michael Ealy. The story revolves around the relentless Detective Andrea Cornell (Lewis), who is investigating the murder of Kate Warner (Jordana Brewster).

On the series, the prime suspect is Kate's husband, Eric Barnett (Ealy). However, Barnett, who plays his alcoholic brother Patrick, wished during filming that he'd end up being the killer. "I so wanted to be the murderer! Yeah, are you kidding me?" he told Show Patrol's Curt Wagner. While Patrick isn't Kate's murderer, he has his own demons that almost destroy him and his relationship with his family. By the end of Season 2, just as he's about to head to a minimum-security prison to serve 18 to 36 months for what he calls "making poor choices," Patrick has finally begun the journey to sobriety.

He plays Love's New Age-obsessed friend in You

Charlie Barnett continued showcasing his multifaceted acting skills, appearing in an episode of "Orange Is the New Black" and co-starring in "Valor" and "Tales of the City" before taking the role of Gabe in Season 2 of "You." One of Love Quinn's (Victoria Pedretti) closest friends, Gabe is obsessed with Kundalini, and likes to share his knowledge about it with everyone he meets. After Love breaks things off with Joe (Penn Badgley), Gabe tries to help him, using acupuncture to put Joe in a state where he relives his past trauma. He also officiates the wedding of their friends Lucy (Marielle Scott) and Sunrise (Melanie Field).

"It was kind of this small part, a little bit of a filler, a friend," he told TV Talk about the role. "I'm a fan, and the part was really different and exciting, so I just went 100%." Gabe has the distinction of not only being a character that is still alive by the end of the season, but he has absolutely no idea of the darkness that resides in both Joe and Love. Unfortunately, after Season 2 ended and Love and Joe moved to the suburbs, we never saw Gabe again.

He played the villain in Arrow's final season

In 2019, Charlie Barnett took the part of John "J.J." Diggle Jr. for the 8th and final season of "Arrow." When we first meet JJ, it's in the year 2040 on an alternate Earth where he's a cruel and efficient killer. JJ is now Deathstroke, and the leader of the Deathstroke gang, intent on destroying the unification movement and ruling Star City. Because his parents focused so much more on his adopted brother Connor (Joseph David-Jones), he allowed himself to be swayed by Grant Wilson and started training under him.

While JJ is considered the villain in this alternate world, Barnett felt there was a lot more to him. "I did pick up that this guy had been affected by something in his life that left him on this kind of balance point of being a villain etched from a good soul," he told Entertainment Weekly. "And that's what attracted me. I could tell that this is a person struggling with what they thought they should do to support [themselves because of] the challenges that have come their way and also to try to do what he thought was best." Barnett's last appearance as JJ in the original multiverse left his future uncertain.

He kept returning from the dead in Russian Doll

From 2019 through 2022 Charlie Barnett starred alongside Natasha Lyonne in "Russian Doll," where he played the role of Alan Zaveri. Along with Nadia Vulvokov (Lyonne), Alan discovers he's in a time loop, returning to the same moment in time every time they die. While Nadia returns to the bathroom of her birthday party, Alan returns to the bathroom in the moments before he goes to his girlfriend, Beatrice's (Dascha Polanco) house and she breaks up with him. The two couldn't be more different, with Alan a conservative, buttoned-up serious man, while Nadia is very casual and laid-back. However, they're now stuck together to figure out what is happening.

Barnett had first met Lyonne when he threw a bachelorette party for his close friend Samira Wiley, who was Lyonne's "Orange Is the New Black" castmate. He auditioned for the role of Alan, even though she told him that she'd created the role based on his personality. "When I first read the script my heart was locked on. I mean, Leslye [Headland] is an incredible writer. I've known her work, I've loved her work, I had a lot of friends that worked with her," Barnett told TV Talk. "Knowing that Natasha [Lyonne] was connected to it then, and after our experience of sharing our kind of lives and history, our experiences, I just knew that it was something I couldn't pass up."