|This article is about the TV Series character. You may be looking for his Comic Series counterpart.|
- "Come see me whenever. I'm just over here in the medical trailer, okay?"
- —Dr. Carson to Glenn and Maggie.[src]
Harlan Carson is a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He is a former resident and the appointed community physician of the Hilltop Colony until the Saviors took him as a prisoner to serve as a physician at the Sanctuary.
Harlan grew up in Virginia alongside his brother Emmett, where together they enrolled in Medical school where throughout their studies they gained a distinct education regarding medical methods and procedures. While Emmett became a pledged physician, Harlan developed a keen interest in pregnancy and thus he became employed as an obstetrician where throughout his career he helped to deliver babies for several couples.
Harlan and Emmett survived the early stages of the outbreak and took residence in a FEMA camp where they were later evacuated to a safe-zone named the Hilltop Colony, upon where Harlan settled into the farming community where he became integrated with the fellow residents, most notably Gregory and Paul Rovia, and thus became a prominent member. Due to his medical knowledge and experience, Harlan was appointed as the community's medical physician where he aided his fellow residents in treating wounds and helping to deliver babies.
Harlan was present at the time of the arrival of the Saviors, a notorious group of survivors who demanded half of the Hilltop's supplies in exchange for leaving the farming community unscathed. Though initially reluctant to comply the Saviors demonstrated their motives through publicly executing a 16-year-old resident Rory. Following this barbaric event, the colony entered into a period of dread and submission and thus were forced to comply under Negan's rule, were due to their limited resources and manpower they were unable to rebel against their savage oppressors.
Throughout the following months, the community begrudgingly began to gather supplies to present towards the Saviors in their desperate attempt to keep them at bay. Harlan and Emmett were then separated from each other as the latter was taken away to be forced to serve as the Saviors' main doctor at their headquarters.
Harlan goes on a medical supply run with Freddie, Bertie, and Wesley when their car runs into some walkers and crashes, causing the group to take shelter in a nearby building. When Rick and his group arrives to rescue his group on behalf of Jesus, he is rescued by Glenn Rhee and Daryl Dixon. While on the trip back to Hilltop, Harlan speaks to Maggie, Glenn's wife, and thanks Glenn for saving him. After being asked for pre-natal vitamins, he reveals to them his previous occupation and promises Maggie the drugs.
Upon reaching Hilltop, Harlan vouches for the group to the guards so they can be granted permission to enter and keep their weapons. He later offers Glenn and Maggie medical assistance at his trailer whenever they need it. When Gregory is stabbed by Ethan returning from a meeting with the Saviors, Harlan rushes to his trailer and attends to Gregory. He later gives Maggie an ultrasound scanning and gives her a printout of the baby.
Harlan is in his medical trailer at the Hilltop. He treats Maggie, who has arrived from Alexandria after a horrific night on the road, and informs her that she suffered from Abruptio Placentae, a separation of the placenta from the uterus, but that the baby is fine. Carson then advises her to rest and remain at the Hilltop for the duration of her pregnancy.
Harlan gives Maggie an ultrasound scanning with Enid by her side. Later that day, Simon arrives in his medical trailer and tells Harlan that they need his services at the Sanctuary. Carson correctly guesses that his brother, Emmett, was killed. In exchange for taking Dr. Carson, Simon gives Gregory a crate of aspirin. Although reluctant, Gregory allows Simon to take Harlan to the Sanctuary. The Hilltop residents gather at the gates and watch the Saviors leave with Harlan. Upon arriving at the Sanctuary, Negan emerges with Lucille outside and greets Harlan.
Harlan is caring for a sick Gabriel in the infirmary at the Sanctuary. He asks Eugene to watch over Gabriel as he heads down to the marketplace in search of medicine and herbs to treat Gabriel's infection.
Eugene awakens Harlan and Gabriel and reveals that he will allow them to escape. He says he has neutralized the guard at the North Gate and prepared a vehicle so that Harlan and Gabriel can make it to the Hilltop and Harlan can take care of Maggie. Though Gabriel offers Eugene the chance to join them, he refuses.
Harlan and Gabriel sit in the escaped car which is now broken down and has caused them to become stranded in the middle of the woods. However, Gabriel hears a noise in the distance, prompting the men to find its source. They find a secluded cabin in the woods and find it empty, except for a zombified radio operator, who once relayed distress calls on the radio to find other survivors before eventually committing suicide alone. As Gabriel's eyesight worsens due to an infection, Harlan eventually discovers antibiotics in the home and administers them to Gabriel.
Later that day, the pair discover a set of car keys and Harlan heads outside to search for the vehicle, unknowingly walking into a set of traps. His foot gets caught in a bear trap as nearby walkers begin to close in on him. While Gabriel is able to save Harlan, both men are now injured in some capacity. They find the vehicle in the garage but are ambushed by Derek, Mel, and other Saviors. While in captivity in the back of a pick-up truck, Harlan attempts to subdue a Savior but is instead shot and killed by another. His body is then thrown out of the truck as a mourning Gabriel is taken away.
- Killed By
- Unnamed Savior
- Eugene Porter (Indirectly Caused)
- Negan (Indirectly Caused)
- Gabriel Stokes (Indirectly Caused)
- Himself (Caused)
As Harlan tries to grab a gun from a Savior to attack them with, another Savior fatally shoots him in the chest and is left to turn. As his brain wasn't destroyed, he more than likely reanimated into a walker afterwards.
This list shows the victims Harlan has killed:
- Harlan is credited as Dr. Carson in all of his appearances.
- This version is the younger brother of Emmett Carson unlike the comic version of Harlan Carson who is the older brother of Carson.
- Harlan is one of the two people to have delivered a baby in the TV series, the other being Maggie Rhee.
- Eugene refers to Harlan as "Doctor Carson 2.0" in "The Big Scary U".
- As of Harlan's death, there are no known surviving members of the Carson family.
- Both Harlan and Emmett died in episode 11 of Seasons 8 and 7, respectively.