Charlie Barnett’s birthday: Looking back at Chicago Fire’s Peter Mills

CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills -- (Photo by: Nino Munoz/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills -- (Photo by: Nino Munoz/NBC) /

Sunday is former Chicago Fire star Charlie Barnett’s birthday, so we’re looking back on his character, Firehouse 51’s first newbie Peter Mills.

Today we’re saying happy birthday to Charlie Barnett, who formerly starred on Chicago Fire as the eager and fresh-faced Peter Mills.

When Chicago Fire premiered, Peter Mills was the show’s original “new guy.” Mills was a firefighter candidate on Truck 81, with aspirations of joining Squad 3.

Of course, because this is Chicago Fire, his career (and his life) didn’t go according to plan.

Mills briefly considered leaving Firehouse 51 for the Chicago Police Department, and wound up as the show’s Paramedic in Charge for a brief stint when Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund) left the ambulance to become a firefighter.

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But Peter Mills is probably remembered most for his equally short relationship with Dawson, when the show decided to use him as a roadblock to the romance between Dawson and Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer).

They broke up twice, once because Dawson didn’t tell Mills she knew that his mom had an affair with Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), and for the second time when she can’t say that she’s not in love with Casey. Which, of course, we all know she was.

Mills was written out of the show in Chicago Fire season 3, when he left Chicago for North Carolina to help run his family’s new restaurant. He hasn’t been seen since.

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But for more than 60 episodes, he was our guy. Charlie Barnett was great at showing us exactly what his role demanded: being the inexperienced but determined, wide-eyed newbie who got a bit of a chip on his shoulder the more he learned.

And he got to do quite a few things across three seasons: date Dawson, replace Dawson, serve on Truck, Squad and Ambulance (has any other character ever done that?). So he certainly had a lot to experience while in One Chicago, even if he wasn’t there very long.

He was the guy who just wanted to uphold his family legacy and do a good job, and there was a very endearing quality about that. By the time he was written out, it was clear that not only had Mills grown up, but he’d also been able to move his life forward, too.

The good news is that Charlie Barnett has been pretty busy since, and he’s still connected to the One Chicago world, even if he’s not in it.

His next series regular role after Chicago Fire was in Secrets & Lies season 2 on ABC, where he played the brother of Mekia Cox, who appeared as Dr. Robin Charles on Chicago Med. After that, his current series is The CW’s Valor, which has Chicago Justice‘s April Fitzsimmons on its writing staff. So while he’s not with us, he hasn’t gone far from the family.

And who knows? As one of the former characters who wasn’t killed off or maimed, there’s always a chance Peter Mills could come back to Firehouse 51 for a visit someday. We’d be glad to see him return and see Charlie Barnett one more time.

Next: What happened in the last Chicago Fire

Join us in wishing Charlie Barnett a happy birthday in the comments and on Twitter! You can catch him in Valor, which just finished airing its first season on The CW and is available online.