'Homeland' Kills off Major Character, Longtime Ally of Carrie Mathison

As Homeland continues to barrel through to its series finale, the show has killed off a major character with close ties to Claire Danes' heroine, Carrie Mathison. With only four episodes to go until its end, the loss of a fan-favorite character stunned viewers and suggests that anything is possible before the conclusion. Just a warning: there are spoilers for Homeland's episode, "Threnody(s)," ahead.

In this season's eighth episode, Maury Sterling's computer genius Max Piotrowski was killed off. The character dates back to the show's pilot and has long been a secret weapon for Carrie's missions around the globe. His skills at navigating complex computer networks, both foreign and domestic, was a tremendous asset. As was his unquestioning loyalty to her, despite her tendency to go off-book quite a bit.

As Variety noted, Max's death technically occurred at the end of episode seven, "F-er Shot Me." However, being that it came just before the credits rolled, it was in "Threnody(s)" that Carrie coping with his loss. Despite her efforts to rescue Max after he was captured by the Taliban while stationed in Kabul, he was tragically killed nonetheless.

However, it's not like this death was a total surprise. Back in February, Sterling spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the sheer surprise that his character was still breathing, given the show's penchant for killing its primary characters.

"Nobody is safe," Sterling said of his character. "That's part of what makes it good."

Homeland's final season has also seen the return of actors Nimrat Kaur and Numan Acar, whose characters played a major role in Season 4. Kaur reprised his role of as Tasneem Qureshi, one of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence members, while Acur returned as Haissam Haqqani, a Taliban leader as well as a high-priority target for the CIA.

On March 7, actor and Homeland alum Nicholas Tucci passed away at age 38 due to ongoing health issues. His father, Alexander Tucci, announced the news on his son's Facebook page.

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"Nick chose to keep his illness private so that he could continue to pursue his professional and artistic dreams for as long as possible," his father wrote. "In the last year, he was able to audition, go on location, and continue the work he loved so much."

Homeland airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Showtime. For the next few weeks, at least.