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Will Charlie Barnett return as Peter Mills?

Peter Mills was a reliable player during the first three seasons of Chicago Fire. He bonded with several of the other characters in the 51, and proved himself a hero several times over by risking his life in the line of duty.

Given his firefighting pedigree, it makes sense that fans miss Mills and the actor who plays him, Charlie Barnett. There’s been nearly a decade of speculation as to whether Mills will return to the 51, and recent interview from the actor have provided a clear answer.

Here’s what you need to know about Mills’ future on the show.

Why did Peter Mills leave Chicago Fire?

Mills left Chicago Fire in season 3. The injuries he suffered on the job led to him being let go, and he decided to move to North Carolina to open a restaurant. Little has been said about him since he left, but the characters have made it clear that he’s missed.

Barnett discussed his unexpected exit during a recent interview with People Magazine. The actor said that he was disappointed to be written off the show so soon, and needed time to get over the producers’ decision.

“[The show] was a behemoth that I never really saw coming,” Barnett stated. “I was thankful to be a part of it. I was really sad to be let go. It broke me for quite a long time… You never see the bad moments becoming the good… It wouldn’t be what it was, I think, if you did recognize it for what it is in the moment. So I’m thankful.”

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In addition to disclosing his feelings, Mills confirmed that he’s stayed close with Chicago Fire actors Joe Minoso and Miranda Rae Mayo (the latter of which he attended college with). The bond between cast members suggests that Mills could still make a cameo role on the show, but the arc of his character, per ex-showrunner Matt Olmstead, has already been completed.

“His departure goes towards the original mythology we gave the character, which is that he had a dad die on the squad and his mom and sister had a restaurant,” Olmstead told TV Guide. It makes sense from a storytelling perspective, and it’s admirable that the showrunners and writers would stick to their guns instead of trying to forcibly keep characters back in the fold.

With all these components in mind, it’s safe to assume that Mills is not going to be returning to Chicago Fire anytime soon.

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