Eamonn Walker (R) as Chief Wallace Boden in “Chicago Fire” episode “One Minute”

*British actor Eamonn Walker was 9-years-old when he saw Sidney Poitier in the film “In the Heat of the Night.”

“I was sitting next to my mother. And England not being the best place in the world for young black folks, or old black folks at that time, I recognized something in that film and a sense of power in that man and somebody who was fighting against injustice, and I said, ‘I want to be an actor’”

Fast forward 41 years later, and Walker has left his indelible mark in dozens of film, television and stage productions, including his Cable Ace Award winning turn as Kareem Said in HBO’s “Oz” and his 2005 Broadway debut as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar alongside Denzel Washington as Marcus Brutus.

Eamonn Walker as Kareem Said in HBO’s “Oz”

Walker’s current gig, Battalion Chief Wallace Boden in the new NBC drama “Chicago Fire,” is a continuation of this career journey that comes with just as much satisfaction off camera as in the script.

“I’m still discovering Wallace Boden as he goes along, and I’m sure I will over the series. But what makes me happy as an actor, we’ve got the writing, and we’ve got this team of people who I know they’ve got my back,” says Walker. “I know that when we walk into any situation and that’s on and off screen I can turn around and say a word in the ear, or they can say a word to me, and it’s all going to be OK. So that’s who Wallace Boden is. He’s taking care of his family.”

Walker, born in London to a Grenadian father and a Trinidadian mother, says his reason for becoming an actor has changed somewhat since he saw “In the Heat of the Night.” Listen below.

“Chicago Fire” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC. Watch the Oct. 10th series premiere below.