Post Mortems

Homeland Star Reacts to Tragic Finale Twist: 'I Empathize With the Fans'

The following story contains massive spoilers from Sunday’s Homeland finale, proceed at your own peril. And we repeat: Stop reading if you have yet to watch the episode.

Peter Quinn used the last of his nine lives in Sunday’s Homeland Season 6 finale, when the ex-sniper took a bullet (or more like 92) for President-Elect Keane and died instantly for his trouble. His impulsive decision to sacrifice his own life for Keane — and Carrie — marks a heroic end to the character’s death-defying five-year journey.

Below, portrayer Rupert Friend talks to TVLine about Quinn’s improbable Season 6 resurrection, subsequent extinction and why he and Carrie were doomed anyway.

TVLINE | I have to ask: Is Quinn really dead?
[Laughs] I would love to hear the zombie pitch [for Season 7]. Unless the show is joining up with The Walking Dead, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.

TVLINE | Did you know going in that this would be your final season?
No. The way that we make this show, none of us — the writers included — really 100 percent know anything beyond the first two or three episodes. It’s written contemporaneously to give them a chance to evolve it as the season progresses. [Planning] a death is very hard because they might change their mind. And they have changed their minds. They changed their minds with Brody at the end of Season 2 and they changed their minds with Quinn at the end of Season 5. They put the story first and I respect that.

TVLINE | Do you prefer the ending Quinn got over the ending he almost had in Season 5?
Had he died at the end of Season 5, then we wouldn’t have gotten to explore this fascinating and relevant moment where we not only took a character we all thought we knew and flipped him on his head, but we also were able to explore the reality of a modern veteran’s life in whatever society he or she returns to. We were also able to [feature] a leading character with severe mental and psychological difficulties and I’m not sure that’s something we’ve seen before.

TVLINE | What was the most challenging part of portraying Quinn’s impairment this season?
Certainly the most important thing for me was that it be truthful, and that there’d be no sentimentality or patronizing quality. That this is an incredibly able man with agency and someone who can get it done, despite his [impairment]. The fact that he was struggling to get out of his own way, that was very palpable to me. The more agency one has the more frustrating it must be to find yourself blocked in any way.

TVLINE | Are you happy Quinn died a hero?
Happy is an interesting word. I think in the moment of his ultimate demise he put America first, hence the title of the episode, [“America First”]. Quinn is a patriot and a soldier and believes in the office of the President, whether or not he believes in his or her policies. And that kind of doctrine is absolutely at the heart of Quinn. Ultimately, he wasn’t an individualist; he’s someone who served. And I do respect anybody who serves.

TVLINE | Did you begin to feel like Quinn was immortal? I thought it again this season when he was getting fired upon in that lake and then emerged alive and fairly well.
[Laughs] It was just a flesh wound! He is a bit like the Knight in Monty Python who gets his arms and legs cut off and he’s still ready for a fight. He’s a very, very hard bastard, as we say in England. Talk to any soldier and there are so many places in the body you can be shot and [survive]. And there are one or two places where you’re not going to make it. The shoulder is not one of them. Getting shot in the shoulder is not a scary thing. Being gassed from sarin [as Quinn was in Season 5]? That’s an incredible and terrifying ordeal that no one should ever have to go through. How do you even imagine that? Especially in light of recent events. It’s a deplorable and unimaginable act. There is a scale between someone being shot in the shoulder and someone being gassed with chemical weapons.

TVLINE | Is it emotional saying goodbye to this character?
It is. And that’s because the relationship with a character you play is always a close one. You attempt not to judge or take any kind of objective opinion, but if I were to do that now in hindsight, I just feel the enormous need for this guy to have someone he could genuinely trust. We all need that. And I don’t feel like he ever got that in his life. Everyone he’s been around has let him down or he left them. And for someone to live their whole life never having let anyone in strikes me as deeply sad.

TVLINE | Carrie and Quinn fans are bereft that the two of them will never get their happy ending. But let’s face it, even if he had survived, there was really no shot of that happening, right?
I totally empathize and understand fans’ disappointment, because I know how beloved these two characters are and how the idea of them together makes so many people happy. But their respective moralities were explored thoroughly in the last two seasons, and Quinn’s dissatisfaction with his own way of life suggested that he was in a position to question his own moral code. And that’s a position of enormous integrity. Whereas there was a very telling moment in the penultimate episode this season where Quinn confronts Carrie with the reality, which is she woke a man up from a coma, risked his life to serve her own end — and doesn’t really see why that’s bad. And, to me, that suggests a lack of accountability and self-examination, which means that Carrie’s moral code is just not compatible with Quinn’s. As I said before, I wanted him to find someone he could ultimately trust, and I don’t think you can trust someone who would do that to you.




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  1. I am SO sad that Quinn died He was the best part of Homeland!

  2. Julie K says:

    An award should be in the horizon for Rupert Friend for this character’s portrayal. Excellent work!

  3. homzy11 says:

    I think that was one of the best season finale I have seen.

  4. funnibone31 says:

    Thank you Rupert for everything. I will miss him and Quinn terribly.

  5. arlene says:

    I just want to know what he’s planning to do next. The new James Bond, Doctor Who? Somrthing new?

  6. Kayte CookWatts says:

    The best season of Homeland yet!

  7. Dennis M Robles says:

    Always great to hear the actor’s take on his character. It was wonderful to see his evolvement to a main character, Emmy worthy!

  8. darkangel200 says:

    Great interview,thank you. I feel gutted but his performance, especially this season, was such a gift,and I’ll always be thankful for that.

  9. N!loofar says:

    Good Wife 2.0, Quinn stole Carrie’s thunder.

  10. N!loofar says:

    He was too good for Carrie, she only likes terrorists keeps their evil spawn and throws out devoted Quinn’s only belongings in a trash bag.

  11. I’m heartbroken that Quinn’s gone. He was by far my favorite character on Homeland. I hope Rupert gets some kind of recognition from his peers for what a great job he’s done over the past seasons portraying Quinn.

  12. Kevin Tran says:

    When I was watching the season finale of Homeland to see Peter Quinn getting killed, my reaction is like NO! NO! NO! Very sad the series had to lose one of the most beloved characters since Brody’s demise in the Season 3 finale. As for next season we could see a battle between the CIA and President Keane.

  13. Sabrina says:

    This was a great interview and I think Rupert Friend made some valid points. I hope he gets recognized with an Emmy nomination and win.

  14. isaaedi100 says:

    Thanks so much for this interview! So sad to see Quinn go, but what a great finale! Cannot wait for season 7!!

  15. LAwoman says:

    I look forward to seeing what his future projects will be.

  16. Jim says:

    One of my favorite characters ever, and it’s all down to the nuance with which Rupert Friend played him. Will be missed, but it was an honest and worthy ending.

  17. leo says:

    He shouldn’t have gotten the stroke last season.

  18. Erik says:

    Every once in a while a character on a TV show rises above the popularity the show itself. Peter Quinn was one of those characters. I am so glad that I planned to binge watch the show after this season aired because now I don’t need to bother. There’s nothing left on the show that I care enough to continue watching. Season three was atrocious but Peter brought me back for at least two more seasons .

    • funnibone31 says:

      Quinn gave me meaning when this show meandered. Idk if Carrie and Saul will be enough to hold my attention…and this was one of my favorite shows. It’s just really sad.

    • Stuart Meyer says:

      Agreed. The urgency of watching is gone and the absence of HOMELAND before Billions was not missed.

  19. Good luck to Rupert with new projects. I hope he’ll book another show asap. I’m bummed he died when he went through that whole ordeal… I’ll miss his character a lot. He also had a lot of valid points regarding what Carrie did to him.

  20. M says:

    Homeland is tv at its very finest. I love everything about the show, excepting the recent loss of Peter Quinn/Rupert Friend. The storyline and Quinn’s moral code lent themselves to this tough decision, but come on, we do get attached to great actors and the characters they portray. After watching Quinn’s final hour, I wanted to send myself a sympathy card. I will continue to watch this fantastic show, but I’ll sorely miss Friend and his all-award worthy performance as Peter Quinn. Where will you go next, Rupert?

  21. Marian Denk says:

    Homeland is tv at its very finest. I love everything about the show, excepting the recent loss of Peter Quinn/Rupert Friend. The storyline and Quinn’s moral code lent themselves to this tough decision, but come on, we do get attached to great actors and the characters they portray. After watching Quinn’s final hour, I wanted to send myself a sympathy card. I will continue to watch this fantastic show, but I’ll sorely miss Friend and his all-award worthy performance as Peter Quinn. Where will you go next, Rupert?

  22. Karen says:

    Rupert Friend was amazing this season. His performance deserves critical recognition. I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t nominated for an Emmy. This was one of the best seasons yet, maybe because of its relevance. Quinn will be missed–he was my favourite and I was hoping he and Carrie would get out of their own way and get together this season 😩

  23. Kathy Holbrook says:

    Sure hope Rupert Friend gets his own show on Showtime where he plays “the guy who kills the bad guys”…

  24. Linda says:

    Quinn was a very strong and important character – so bummed that he is gone. He had soul when Carrie just has become so righteous or something. Wish him much success!

  25. William H Hoffman, Jr. says:

    What was the whole thing that Max found that Quinn was part of the website against the President elect and also what was Max going to tell Carrie about Quinn when he was saying that they are portraying Quinn as a hero. but … then he got shoveled to the basement for the home visit. Also seems Dar was right about the PE. Big Q – where is Carrie working next season; surely not for Keane. Can’t wait to see. But without Quinn they will have to seel me on the next season.

  26. Joe says:

    I’m sad to see Quinn go, but given what happened to Brody in season 2 and especially 3, I rather not have the writers hold onto a character they don’t really know how to deal with. Homeland isn’t a will-they-won’t-they show, so I was always quite annoyed the writers didn’t have the go through with blowing Brody up at the end of season 1.

  27. Where to from here? I have watched every episode and series! And it just keeps pushing the boundaries of sheer excellence! Losing Peter Quinn is enormous! Did not see that coming at all. Just don’t disappoint come Season 7 plz!

  28. Pretty much Quinn’s fate was determined in an earlier season due to the “Butterfly Effect.” Carrie’s chin quivering set off a string of events that eventually led to his death.

  29. Joan Pirone says:

    I am going to miss Peter Quinn, he was a definite draw to Homeland..Rupert Friend
    Should be awarded all kinds of accolades for his portrayal of disabled Quinn. He was so convincing in the role I thought it was real..Maybe they can bring him back like they did Jon Snow in Game of Thrones..If not, then R.I.P Peter Quinn. You were a force to be reckoned with.. I will truly miss you..😭😭😭😭

  30. Joan Pirone says:

    I am so bummed Quinn died, he was the reason I kept tuning in every Sunday..Rupert Friend was amazing at portraying disabled Quinn, his performance was so real, he deserves so many accolades/Emmy/Golden Globe etc.etc. maybe they can resurrect the character like they did Jon Snow..If not then R.I.P Quinn I will really miss you😭😭😭😭

  31. Alichat says:

    While I appreciate Rupert’s point of view on Quinn and his arc this season, I still feel that they did Quinn a disservice and could have handled this better. Maybe they should have the season planned out from the beginning so they can stay on track. Seriously, changing the story mid-stream to fit more with current events did not work at all. This season was choppy, baffling at times, drawn out and lacking in cohesion.
    Frankly, after this season, I’d have been ok if Quinn had passed at the end of season 5. And I say this as someone who loves this character. I felt at the end of season 5 if they were to bring him back, I wanted to see his recovery and I wanted it to be honest. But I also wanted them to give him some peace within himself. To have him realize that he’s not just a killing machine. That it’s his mind, his ability to analyze and see what others can’t that is his strength in this world. And while he struggled to find the right words or get those words out when he does see something, I wanted him to find that he still has a purpose in life. He can still contribute to the world. I wanted that for Quinn but also for all the fans and viewers who suffer from PTSD or returned from service with disabilities. I wanted there to be a character that suffered but fought through it and determined he’s more than just his job….that he has pride in his life and his place in the world. If he then died protecting the president or just even in a car accident, that would be ok because that crap happens in real life. That they brought him back just have him decide that he’s nothing more than a killer and wants to die was just a disservice to this character and to fans. Last season was dark enough. We didn’t need to dive into the dark abyss and not pull out of it.
    So his death, why didn’t he duck? Yes, Quinn was very much a soldier, America first and all that so I get the charging forward, but I needed to see that he wanted to live. I feel like once they had moved Quinn into Carrie’s house, they were going to have these moments where he fought recovery, she pushed/smothered him, he found out what she’d done, he fought to recover, they fought to reconnect….as friends or otherwise take your pick…., and he found a new purpose in life. If you’re going to bring him back from death after the S5 finale, that’s what needed to happen, at least for me. And all of this could have happened within the plot of the homegrown terrorists/fake news machine storyline. Pull out the Social Services crap, leave Astrid out of it, even the Sekou Bau bits…..we didn’t need too much background on him. We just needed to know a person was framed. We didn’t really need to know him. I feel like there was alot that could have been explored regarding the psychology of these two characters…..the psychology of someone working in that world and getting out of it. The psychology of these two damaged people who want normalcy so badly, but are yet so scared to death of it that they run from it. Bury themselves in work. I mean, wasn’t fear and paranoia and the choices you make when dealing with that the theme of this season??
    I don’t totally agree with some of Rupert’s comments in interviews about Carrie….calling her a sociopath and almost psychopathic. I always felt like if there was someone in this world who would understand Carrie the most, it would be Quinn. Because they were so alike. Both questioned if they were worthy of love. Both questioned the world they worked and lived in and if what they were doing was right, and was that world affecting them in irreparable ways. They both had a moral code that they followed which aligned, but could divert because of emotional decisions…..a desire for fairness. I truly believe if the situation was reversed, Quinn would have had them pull Carrie out of the coma to get information. The life of one weighed against the life of thousands, he would have chosen the thousands too. The guilt would have weighed on him as well, with him pushing her away. How is this different than Carrie? Only thing I can see is that he’d have told her that he woke her. But that selfishness, that avoidance are products of her bipolar condition and her past. She’s always avoided, and the selfishness is a characteristic of someone bipolar. Let’s remember that we are looking at things that have happened in just a few months. From the S5 finale to Quinn’s death in the S6 finale, we’re looking at maybe 4 months. Carrie’s still processing what happened in Berlin, what she did to Quinn, his letter, her decision to let him go, him waking, and his condition as a result of her choice. Now she’s dealing with his death. Saul called it in the finale. She’s burying herself in work, going a million miles an hour, and she’s going to hit a wall. Both of these characters are flawed. Rupert lamented that Quinn had no one he could truly trust, but how can you when you won’t trust and when you run from the possibility of having that in your life? I would have liked to have seen what happened when they dealt with the decisions they’d made, their similarities, etc. When they chose to trust someone who’d seen them at their best and their worst. Didn’t mean to write a novella, but I’ve had a day and a long road trip to think about how all this played out. And I’m still so disappointed in this season and especially in the finale. Don’t even get me started on the sudden twist with Keane and her insanity.

    • Johnny says:

      You should have slept before posting. You’re speculating things about Quinn and then criticising him on the basis your fiction is fact.

      You’re quite arrogant to be honest. It wasn’t an enlightening read

  32. Olivia says:

    Just watched the final episode. I’m gutted – as are others I’m sure. It just won’t be the same without Quinn. I loved his character and it made me really sad to see what happened to him after last season. I always had hope that he would recover. Tuesday nights in Ireland just won’t be the same. R.I.P Peter Xxxx

  33. Renae says:

    I cannot imagine the show without you Rupert. I’m having a difficult time with knowing you won’t be in season 7. Your character has evolved and to me became equally as important as Carrie.

  34. Miguel says:

    i’ve gotta say, I’m just as disappointed now about Peter Quin’s end as I was when the show ended Brody. They were both such great charters and presented with very interesting roles that made the show what it is. This season was probably my least favorite of all. I thought the first few episodes were disjointed and simply boring. The story line did not make sense and it was only mid-season that the show, once again became the show that I expected. I really hope next season starts strong or at least with some sense of direction and half decent story line regardless of current events. lastly, thank you Rupert Friend for a great job playing such difficult role this season.

  35. Sonia says:

    Simply gutted and sad. Bye Quinn. You were fab. Wish I had seen more peace between you and Carrie…

  36. Deh Tannen says:

    I totally dislike this ending for Quinn. The show should have united both, and it would benefit greatly. He would be the partner in action as the one who would predict for Carrie what was to come. He would be the one who would have a role of comforting and understanding her health issues. They could have a mutual understanding of their psyches along with Homeland mission.

  37. Donna says:

    Letting peter go without a “propper goodbye” was for a reason…
    No funeral, no speeches, no tears- i believe this “fog” is for a reason..
    That is not a proper way to say goodbye to
    Such a great character – who made season 6
    So wonderful to wach.
    They left many loose ends and holes.
    That is definitely not a good bye.
    Peter will be back.
    “Great hopes”- just like the book he red….

  38. Stuart Meyer says:

    Quinn was the only truly admirable character ( his “wet works” profession, notwithstanding ). Saul comes next with Carrie a distant last, in my view. She is a sick person, both morally and psychologically with the latter not extenuating the former. Her judgment was often flawed which is surprising in a heroine. The political correctness turn in recent episodes is not attractive.although the incompetence of President Keane might signal a return to neutrality.

  39. L. M. Johnson says:

    The show needs an alive healthy Quinn. They will now have to find a replacement. Why! His incapacity and death added nothing of lasting value. They should have met contract demands and kept him!

  40. Line says:

    This show was real favourite. But I agree with many of the comments made below – after season 3 the interest in Carrie and Saul decreased. But with Quinn in the mix it became exciting again. Now he is gone and some new male character will probably be introduced to flirt with Carrie first and then be killed of like the others. Why? It’s like a bad version of Games of Thrones. Why? Why not Saul or even Carrie? It was too painful for me to watch the last episode of season 6 and that actually marked the end of my Homeland crave. I look forward to seeing Rupert Friend in another show or movie. For me, he was the best part of the show.