Homeland TV Wiki
David Estes
David Estes 2.jpg
Status: Deceased
Age: 44 (at death)
Date of death: December 12, 2012
Nationality: Flag of the United States.png American
Affiliation: Central Intelligence Agency
Profession: Director of the Counterterrorism Center, CIA
Marital status: Separated or divorced
Children: Kenneth Estes
Felicia Estes
Played by: David Harewood
Season(s): 1, 2
First episode: "Pilot"
Last episode: "The Choice"

David Arthur Estes (1968– December 12, 2012) was Carrie Mathison's boss at the National Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency, until he was killed in a terrorist attack at CIA headquarters.


David Estes at work.

David Estes was the ambitious Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Center of the CIA. When Carrie caused a diplomatic incident by sneaking into an Iraqi prison to speak to Hasan Ibrahim, he pulled her out of the field and sat her behind a desk at Langley. He took some personal credit for the rescue of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, which scored him brownie points with the current President of the United States. Thus he was frustrated when Carrie attempted to link Brody to Abu Nazir.

He has a tense relationship with Carrie, partly due to a past affair with her which led to the end of Estes' marriage. (Homeland Novel: Carrie's Run)

Working as a case officer for the CIA in Iraq, she met with Hasan Ibrahim, who claimed to have intel about an attack Abu Nazir is planning against the United States. Shortly before Hasan's execution, she sneaked into his prison where he said that "an American POW has been turned". Sneaking into a prison like this caused a diplomatic incident, which led to her boss, David Estes, placing her in the "penalty box" (behind a desk at Langley ).  

He fires Carrie upon learning of her bipolar disorder and her multiple contraventions of CIA protocols, but later on, he must reinstate her when she is proven to have been right about Brody. Saul discovers that Estes and then-CIA-director Walden ordered a drone strike launched in Abu Nazir's homeland, resulting in the destruction of a nearby school and that his efforts to undermine Carrie were actually an attempt to cover up the incident. Estes makes plans to have Brody assassinated once Abu Nazir is neutralized, and when Saul opposes this action, he threatens Saul's job. He is among those killed when a bomb explodes at the CIA building.


Carrie tells Brody she was in Iraq for “a couple three-year stints.” (The pilot)

“All About Allison” takes place in 2005 and that was when she first arrived in Iraq. So she would have been in Iraq for the first assignment from early 2005 to early 2008.

The head plot that her affair with Estes takes place between the first and second assignments, for about six months. This would make sense because in 'Semper I' Carrie says he was the “smartest guy in the Near East Division by a mile,” which suggests they actually worked together. Estes never gives any indication he was doing operational work. The plot indicates he worked instead on the analysis side (what Danny Galvez did).

When it gets too serious with Estes, she flees to New York (her own admission in 'Semper I') and then I think she probably went back to Iraq from there. So her second assignment is mid-to-late 2008 and then was cut short when she bribed the Iraqi prison guard in the first few scenes of the pilot. These scenes take place in early 2011 (supposing Brody is “rescued” in October 2011-ish, and that’s established as nine months after the Iraqi prison stuff.)

Aside #1: Carrie tells Otto that she was in Beirut in 2004 and this would have been her first overseas assignment. This makes sense in relation to her arriving in Iraq in 2005.

Aside #2: The one detail that doesn’t match up with this timeline is Saul telling Carrie in 4.12 that Frank had called George Tenet (the director of the CIA from July 1997 to July 2004) and demanded Carrie be reassigned home from Iraq. This obviously doesn’t match up because by the time Carrie was in Iraq George Tenet had already resigned from that position. The plot is it’s a line showrunners didn’t put that much thought into and Season 5 on the whole seems more invested in addressing the question of Carrie’s backstory and former assignments.

Aside #3: The “authorized” Homeland tie-in novels Carrie’s Run and Saul’s Game address the before-show timeline pretty well.  I have read Carrie’s Run (and actually enjoyed it a lot as really good fan fiction) and IIRC the Estes affair is covered and the New York line explained. In Saul's Games, it also gives more weight to the “they hung my interpreter from a bridge”. Consider it just one head plot over another.

About in him

David Estes is a rising star at the CIA and boss of Carrie Mathison. These make no attempt to hide their dislike for Mathison and stand in his way at every opportunity. However, his dislike is not only directed at her professionally.

Personal life and relationships

Pre-Baghdad they, Carrie e David, were in a relationship (an affair, really), David probably told her he loved her, Carrie freaked, went to New York, left for Iraq.

Estes hinted that some of his anger toward Carrie was caused by a relationship they had that ended up in his wife leaving him to live in Palm Beach, Florida. Because of that he then saw his children only twice a year.

A devout careerist, his personality was strictly professional and bitter. He showed virtually zero compassion and had virtually no life outside of work.


Estes owed his success to former Vice President William Walden.

The two were close colleagues when Walden, then Director of the CIA, endorsed an American drones strike of a madrasa in Syria which killed 82 innocent children. His unwavering loyalty got him promoted to be Deputy Director, and a Walden presidency would have most likely made him Director.

Leaving behind a relatively short tenure, his main achievement was overseeing the death of Abu Nazir (despite having little involvement in the strike).


On December 12, 2012, mere days after the death of both Walden and Nazir, a funeral service was held at CIA headquarters for the Vice President (who was a former Director). David Estes was delivering the eulogy when a massive explosion rocked the building, killing him and 218 others.

The event would become known as the Langley Bombing, 12/12, and the Second 9/11. An al-Qaeda cell planted explosives in Congressman Nicholas Brody's SUV. It was done to frame Brody as payback for his betrayal. Nazir's death was thus highly strategic, as it allowed the CIA to let its guard down

Amidst the wreckage, Saul Berenson became sworn in as acting Director of the agency.


In season 3, in the CIA notes, he appears in a photo in which he tagged as one of the 219 killed in the 12/12/2012 attack.


David Estes is a fictional character, who appears in the novel written by Andrew Kaplan: Carrie's Run and Saul's Game


[Estes]: "That's a school, sir" [Walden]: "If Abu Nazir is taking refuge among children, he is putting them at risk. Not us". - Episode Marine One

"You've never made a bad move in your romantic life?" - Quinn to Estes


Season 1
Pilot Grace Clean Skin Semper I Blind Spot
The Good Soldier The Weekend Achilles Heel Crossfire Representative Brody
The Vest Marine One
Season 2
The Smile Beirut is Back State of Independence New Car Smell Q&A
A Gettysburg Address The Clearing I'll Fly Away Two Hats Broken Hearts
In Memoriam The Choice

External links