Adam Carter is the character played by Rupert Penry-Jones in the BBC television series Spooks. He joined in episode 1 of series 3 and in the following episode he took over as team leader and male lead from Tom Quinn (played by Matthew Macfadyen) who had been the team leader since the beginning of the show.
Adam's background is in MI6 where he carried out many successful operations. He was captured and tortured in the Middle East by his wife's ex husband. He has extremely good counter surveillance skills and can speak fluent Arabic.
Adam's first appearance in the show was undercover as a vagrant, in order to watch over the small group of MI5 operatives who were secretly meeting at a train station to discuss Tom's situation after being set up. Shortly after, he appears on the grid and is fully introduced to the rest of the team by Harry Pearce. Harry states that he had asked Adam to join in order to 'sort out the Tom problem'. This episode is also contains the first reference to Adam's wife Fiona, and a reference to the plot line that results in her death in episode 7 of series four, although Fiona doesn't appear until episode 4. Fiona (played by Olga Sosnovska) is killed in episode 7 of series four. This event seriously damaged Adam emotionally, almost losing him his job. However, Adam has continued to work to a high standard under Harry Pearce, with whom he maintained good relations until the last few episodes of season five. Adam's ability led to him being offered Harry's job by Juliet Shaw, but he turned it down. He was shot and severely injured by ex-MI5 operative Angela Wells in the series 4 finale, but was operated on in series 5 episode 1 and survived.
His son Wes, from his marriage to Fiona, means the world to Adam. However, midway through series 5 he began an affair with Wes' nanny, Jenny, whom he had hired to care for Wes since the beginning of series 5. Despite this, he is slowly starting to crack up over his wife's death and Wes' future should Carter himself also be killed, having nightmares and, putting an end to his attempts to hide it from the rest of the team, even suffering a breakdown whilst on assignment which almost led to his death. In the following episode he went rogue during an operation targeting an MI6 traitor (Richard Dempsey) who had previously witnessed his torture, and at the end of the episode seemed to break off his relationship with the nanny to keep her safe from the dangers of his job. During the series finale of series 5, Adam seemingly suffers a breakdown. However, he pulls through and manages to save fellow agent Ros Myers' life. The two are then trapped as the Thames Barrier chamber floods. The series ends with him breaking through a grate to narrowly avoid drowning.
In series six of Spooks, Adam has got together with Ros Myers and has had counselling to overcome his mental breakdowns.