‘Chicago Fire’ Featured ‘Stranger Things’ Star Long Before Netflix Fame

by Maggie Schneider

Actor Joe Keery appears on two episodes of “Chicago Fire” before landing his role on Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

It is always fun to watch an actor’s work before they become famous. The progression to becoming a star is fascinating to watch. Fans of Joe Keery are finding out that he did not make his acting debut on “Stranger Things.” In fact, his second-ever role was on NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

Keery appears on two episodes of the NBC drama in 2015. He plays Emmett, who claims to be the biological son of firefighter Randy “Mouch” McHolland. His character joins the cast after McHolland’s identity is compromised. Emmett locates the firefighter’s phone number and leaves him a voicemail claiming he is his son. Emmett’s plotline is not all that it appears to be, however.

It turns out that Emmett is not McHolland’s biological son. He tries to get in touch with the firefighter because his half-sister Lizzie is his actual daughter. At first, McHolland deletes Emmett’s voicemail, but he is eventually tracked down. This news shocks him. It makes a big impact on his character, who eventually reunites with his daughter Lizzie. This narrative creates a dramatic story arc that creates a new course for “Chicago Fire” to move forward with. These personal conflicts intertwine well with the characters’ high-pressure jobs saving lives.

Joe Keery’s Career

While Joe Keery is known for his role as Steve on “Stranger Things,” he is also a musician. He played in a psych-rock band called Post Animal for 4 years. He released two albums with the band and eventually added his vocals into the mix. Their quirkily named “Post Animal Perform the Most Curious Water Activities” and “When I Think of You In a Castle” credit Keery for his musical contributions.

In 2019, Keery left the band to pursue a solo music career. His project is named Djo and is influenced by bands such as Tame Impala and Pink Floyd. He released his first full-length record “Twenty Twenty” in 2019, as well as a new single in 2020 called “Keep Your Head Up.” He spoke to DIY Magazine about the project.

“I love making music and I love listening to music and I love dance and I love the whole mythology around bands and music,” Keery says. “I’m lucky where acting is my day job and I’m getting paid to do it, so with music I can just do what I want to do.”

The actor/musician hopes to learn from other artists through collaboration. With his second album in the works, Keery just wants to inspire people.

“It’s also just a real excuse to get my friends together, and play some shows, and hang out and have a good time.”