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Charlie Barnett Reflects on Chicago Fire Dismissal: 'It Broke Me For a Long Time'

Charlie Barnett Chicago Fire

Although he now views it as a “blessing in disguise,” ex-Chicago Fire star Charlie Barnett admits that his 2015 dismissal from the NBC procedural took a toll on him.

“I really was sad to be let go,” the Russian Doll actor tells Digital Spy. “It broke me for quite a long time.”

Barnett’s character, firefighter-turned-paramedic Peter Mills, was written off the show near the conclusion of Season 3. At the time, executive producer Matt Olmstead explained to TVLine that the decision to let Barnett go was storyline-driven.

“In the writers’ room… we’re pretty vigilant here about making sure that storytelling is fresh,” Olmstead shared. “Especially with a relationship-based show, you never want to get stagnant, and you have to be tough-minded sometimes… It was time to shake things up. It came solely from a storytelling standpoint.

“[Charlie] is an amazing individual and a fantastic actor and gave us so many different things,” the EP continued. “But… the departure of [Mills] is going to affect other people. So it’s invigorating storytelling-wise.”

Barnett has since gone on to appear on Arrow, YOU, Ordinary Joe and the aforementioned Russian Doll (Season 2 of which just dropped on Netflix; read our review).

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Barnett now concedes to Digital Spy of his Fire exit. “You never really see that in life, in general. 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.”