Dr. Everett Barnes is a supporting character, an antagonist. And the Director of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention and Ephraim Goodweather and Nora Martinez' are his direct reports. He serves as the minor antagonist of Season 1 and Season 2.
Starting his medical career as a country doctor, Barnes deliberately affects a folksy, "down-home" image in keeping with this background. This, combined with his insistence on wearing a Navy-style uniform (in homage to the CDC's origins as a successor to the Navy's program to control malaria in occupied areas after World War II), makes him look like "a combat-decorated Colonel Sanders."
From the outset of the crisis begun by the landing of Flight 753, it is clear that Barnes's priorities are preventing public disorder and upholding the image of the CDC, rather than the truth. For that reason, he insists that Goodweather give a press conference less than 24 hours after the plane's landing, to assure the public that the danger (whatever it is), has been contained. Abraham Setrakian, watching this conference, thinks to himself that "only an elected official would declare a thing contained when he doesn't even know yet what it is."
Later, when Goodweather and Martinez insist that something dangerous is happening to the plane's victims and their families, Barnes reluctantly agrees to order a quarantine of Manhattan. A typical bureaucrat, he says the process will take time, since it requires an order from the President, and Barnes himself is unwilling to act without official sanction.
When Goodweather and Martinez are framed for the murder of Captain Doyle Redfern, Barnes leads a cadre of FBI agents sent to arrest them, warning Goodweather that continuing to spread unsubstantiated accusations will only hurt him in court, and warning Martinez that unless she abandons Goodweather immediately, her medical career will likewise be over. Instead, they escape, with the help of Setrakian. Barnes feebly pleads with Goodweather to be reasonable, and Goodweather retorts that he is only doing the job he was hired to do: inform the public of a catastrophic health risk.
The Fall Edit
At some point during the next week, Barnes eventually becomes aware of the Master and the spread of his strain, but, in fear for his own life, assists Eldritch Palmer's disinformation campaign, preventing the public from reacting to the plague, or quarantining Manhattan, until it is too late. When Goodweather confronts Barnes, Barnes attempts to justify his actions by saying that the vampires' victory is inevitable, and the only "smart" course of action is to make their takeover as smooth and non-violent as possible. Realizing that Barnes is assisting Palmer, Goodweather uses him as a shield to sneak into a Federal building to assassinate Palmer, then knocks Barnes out.
The Night Eternal Edit
After the death of Thomas Eichhorst, the Master recruits Barnes, an epidemiologist, as the next best thing to an "expert" in the containment and exploitation of large groups of people. Barnes becomes the "commandant" of Camp Liberty, the prison camp into which Manhattan is converted, overseeing the internment, breeding, and blood-harvesting of its human population. Given a pair of vampire guards, he lives in luxury in what used to be Gabriel Bolivar's mansion, enjoying gourmet food and fine liquor, and attended by a small host of female servants "rescued" from the camp, in exchange for their sexual services.
When Nora is captured, Barnes attempts to justify his actions by claiming to be smarter than the rest of the human race, having been quicker to accept the facts that vampires, not humans, are the superior and dominant species on the planet, and that their subjugation of humanity is just the next natural step in evolution. Yet underneath this sophistry, Martinez remembers that Barnes had always been an ambitious man, secretly greedy for power and importance, as well as so craven that he would do anything to save his own skin.
Barnes then offers to make Nora one of his household attendants/mistresses, in exchange for removing her and her mother from the camp. He even insinuates that, since she had already had a sexual relationship with Eph, her colleague, that Barnes, as her boss, is even more "entitled" to her favors. Although desperate to save her mother, Nora is so revolted by his request that she asks for a little time to think it over.
When Goodweather, Vasiliy Fet, and Gus Elizalde break Nora out of the camp, she insists on freeing her mother as well, only to find that Barnes, unknown to her, had already sent Mariela to the camp's "slaughterhouse" to be exsanguinated and killed. Seeing this, Nora swears to kill Barnes.
When Barnes reports to the Master inside Belvedere Castle in Manhattan, he attempts to lie, claiming that he had no idea Nora was inside the camp until shortly before she escaped, and had just started to interrogate her for the whereabouts of Goodweather and the others. The Master sees through this instantly and suggests that Barnes tell the truth if he doesn't want to die on the spot. Barnes complies, and the Master brusquely sends him back to his "duties."
When Goodweather and the others head to Lake Ontario to deliver a nuclear weapon to the Master's origin site, Barnes accompanies the Stoneheart Group security personnel sent to track them down. Seeing Nora outside the fence of another internment camp, Barnes tries to shoot her with a handgun but only succeeds in grazing her forehead with a bullet. In the chaos, several hungry vampires are let into the area (who, unlike the vampires at Camp Liberty, do not recognize him as an ally). Barnes fumbles for his gun but Nora swiftly disarms him and he pleads that if Nora won't take him away with her at least he be given a weapon to defend himself. Nora answers by stabbing him in the shoulder with a table knife she palmed from his kitchen and invites him to do what he can with it, before escaping. The scent of blood from Barnes's fresh wound drives the vampires into a frenzy and he is torn to pieces by the pack of them.
Television Series Edit
Barnes is present when Eichhorst and Palmer arrive to try to convince Margaret Pierson not to quarantine over New York. When they see they cannot convince her, Palmer tricks her into speaking with him on the balcony. Already unnerved by Eichhorst's cold manner, Barnes is flabbergasted when the elderly Palmer (recently invigorated by an infusion of the Master's "white") picks up Pierson in his arms and throws her off the balcony. Palmer then comes inside and he and Eichhorst give Barnes a simple choice: cooperate with them, or die there. Barnes is too cowed to do anything but help, starting with announcing to the media that Pierson committed suicide.
Barnes is still a thrall of Palmer and Eichhorst and he happens to be on the train to Washington when Ephraim Goodweather posing as Jonathan Crowley another CDC official with medical expertise runs into him. They exchange few words. Barnes states his appreciation for Goodweather and submits to Goodweather's threat to let him pass to Washington without notifying the police which would end Goodweather's work since he is framed for several felonies and thus a fugitive. Goodweather does not trust Barnes however and strikes him down as soon as he turns his back towards him. Barnes manages to fight back before being struck down again. This prompts Goodweather to consider jumping of the train, but the train travels too fast. Jumping off the train is like sucide. Barnes manages to get up again and faces Goodweather one last time. He confirms his submission by stating that "we" humans have been on the wrong side which reveals he does not really believe in humans having any chance to survive and thus he has no qualms about continuing caring only about himself. Barnes engages Goodweather in one last confrontation and ends up being tossed off the train before its arrival in Washington. His survival is uncertain at best. Goodweather manages to get off the train unnoticed and witness his executive assistant asking for Dr. Barnes and complaining his absence while his personal items have been found in the train left behind.
Notably, the critical role of Everett Barnes has been rendered superfluous or redundant in the person of Staten Island councilwoman, Justine Feraldo, who was introduced in Season 2 on the television series. The containment efforts organized by Feraldo precedes well in advance of those conducted on a more massive scale by Barnes in the final book of the novel series.