**SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FINAL EPISODE OF HOMELAND SERIES SIX**
When Homeland comes back next year, it'll be without one of its regulars. Peter Quinn – played by Rupert Friend since the drama's second season – finally ran out of lives during the series six finale, choosing to sacrifice himself to protect Elizabeth Keane, the future President of the United States.
The hour-long episode was one of two halves. As viewers tuned in, they were whisked up in the aftermath of the explosion that almost floored Quinn and fellow former agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) as they worked to take down Dar Adal and exonerate young Muslim Sekou Bah.
But the fiery destruction of the evidence that would have cleared Sekou's name – the garage holding the delivery driver's real truck, not the one that blew up in the centre of New York – prompted Carrie to realise it was Keane who was in danger. The destroyed building was a safe house for a black-ops squad Quinn once worked for. They were now in bed with Dar Adal and en route to protect the President-elect. Except preserving her life is the opposite of what they were about to do...
Carrie and Quinn rushed to Keane who was holed up in her Manhattan hotel with a furious crowd lining the streets outside, baying for her blood. Carrie headed inside while Quinn cased the joint for the squad, but no sooner had she arrived at Keane's side then "credible" reports of a bomb threat emerged and the incoming president was evacuated to an underground car park.
Three blacked out SUVs were about to herd her from the building – the first with a Keane lookalike and her chief of staff, Rob – when Carrie got a call from Dar, insisting the future president's life was in more danger outside the building than within.
Was he telling the truth? Dar's been a slippery customer this series, confounding and outwitting Keane as she nears the Oval Office. It was Dar who was behind the bomb inside Sekou's truck; it was Dar who authorised a fake news empire to spread dissent against the new presidential regime; and it was Dar who was in touch with the hitman sent to finish off Quinn and Astrid.
But it turned out his grand scheme did not involve taking out Keane – that was the masterplan of serpent-like General McClendon who we spotted having 'discussions' with Dar at the start of the series and who runs the black-ops team now on Keane's tail.
So when Dar pleaded with Carrie to hold off Keane's evacuation – convincing her that the online presence the fake news empire had created for Quinn was evidence he would be framed for her murder – she chose at the last minute to believe him, halting the President elect's SUV. (Sadly it was too late for dummy Keane and poor Rob – they were blown to smithereens).
Carrie and Dar were right – it became clear Keane was now in terrible danger.
As she and Carrie hurried through the hotel lobby, the black-ops team were on their tail, so eager to finish the job that they took down her secret service protection in pursuit of their target. Carrie declared the hotel a "kill zone" and she and Keane headed in a lift to the basement where the doors opened to a gun pointed in their faces.
The weapon was Quinn's and the former agent herded the pair into a waiting SUV and sped out of the building chased by a stream of bullets. As they broke out onto the street, Quinn and Carrie were faced with guns behind them and a line of armed officers blocking the road ahead.
Instructing Keane and Carrie to lie flat, Quinn put pedal to metal and accelerated towards the barricade as they emptied rounds of ammunition into his bulletproof windscreen. It soon shattered and the bullets punctured Quinn as he continued to race the President-elect to safety before collapsing over the wheel... dead.
It was a heroic sign off for Homeland's cat with 10 lives. Since his very first scene, Quinn has proved invincible – even chemical weapons failed to finish him off – but, sensing his duty in a moment of great peril, he gave his life to protect Keane and, of course, Carrie: the only woman he'd ever loved.
The action then cut to six weeks later with the President's new favourite, Carrie, chairing a meeting of intelligence chiefs as right wing talk show host Brett O'Keefe informed his viewers that 60 government officials were in military jail following the assassination plot. They included Dar who – in a visit from Saul – informed his former colleague that "there's something off about [Keane], something distinctly un-American".
But Carrie was busy assuring all her old contacts – including Saul – that the president's retributions were within reason and wouldn't extend to them. Her old mentor caught her after the meeting and told her he was worried – she'd barely stopped since Quinn's memorial (sob) but refused to heed his warning. Instead she headed for the Oval Office where Keane offered her a permanent job as an advisor.
Home in New York for a home visit, Carrie contended with a drunk Max who turned up on her doorstep moments before her social worker was due to arrive. Stashing him in the basement, where he soon started snoozing, Carrie went on to pass the visit with flying colours and looks set to uproot to Washington with Franny in series seven.
She headed downstairs to check on Max where she began bagging up Quinn's possessions and came across an old stash of photos of the son he'd never really met – and one of herself. Cue the familiar quivering chin as Carrie finally broke down and began to grieve Quinn – that is until she got a call from a panicked Saul who was about to be arrested.
He wasn't alone – many of the intelligence chiefs Carrie had just met with were now in custody as Keane continued her clampdown. Carrie stormed the West Wing and demanded to know why Saul had been lumped in with Dar and his co-conspirators but as she yelled through Keane's door, the President remained inside, ignoring her pleas.
Quinn gave his life for a president – but is America's most powerful politician quite what she seems? It certainly sets the scene nicely for Homeland's return...