Holy Freaking Badass! I’m sure it’s no surprise for anyone to see this moment on my list, but what I want to highlight is how ruthless Carter is in her quest to take down HR. Carter tells Laskey that he’s scared of her, and honestly, he’s absolutely right to be. She toys with Laskey this entire scene, kills the pretend bartender with Laskey’s gun and then blackmails him into working for her. It’s smart, it’s meticulous, it’s cool and it’s goddamn terrifying. Carter is entirely in control during every minute of this scene, and it’s especially great to see her to smack down Laskey after he was a misogynist and racist asshole and called her an “arrogant bitch who didn’t know her place”.
2. The decision to let John go (Number Crunch, 1x10)
Throughout this episode, we saw Carter struggle with the notion that the lawful thing might not always be the good thing. She was clearly conflicted when she told Snow where to find John and never expected him to straight up try to kill John. This is the moment when she realizes that yes, she’s a cop, and yes, there are rules that she can’t and won’t break, but John is a good person who is doing good things and she also can’t stand by and allow Snow to execute him.
3. Carter’s loyalty (2 Pi R, 2x11)
Carter’s parts in this episode are fascinating to watch. She let John go in Number Crunch because she didn’t think he deserved to be gunned down like an animal, but she protects him here because he’s a friend. She puts on an alluring dress and is all fake smiles while drugging a man to get a DNA sample from him, and she’s wholly confident that she will succeed too. The lengths Carter is willing to go to and the number of rules she is willing to break (”that line you’re talking about? I crossed it a long time ago”) all to help out someone she has decided is worthy of her efforts is vastly intriguing.
4. At a crossroads saving Elias (God Mode, 2x22)
Carter’s arc had been building up to this moment for the longest time and it was such an awesome place to take her character. She was someone who genuinely believed in the law, and has been discovering just how corrupt it is. This is Carter setting aside the law that has failed her and beginning her war on HR. What I find very IC for her is that she doesn’t abandon the law completely though. She sees something wrong with it, breaks up with it temporarily to set it right, but succeeds in bringing in Quinn properly and handing him over to the authorities at the end… with a little help from her vigilante and criminal friends!
5. Carter’s smirk (Endgame, 3x09)
Carter’s. smirk. The End.
(But also, the fact that she thought about this, called John and Harold, and asked for their help demonstrates such beautiful character development from when she did everything alone (had to do everything alone) back in s1.)