I knew you were gonna follow me—in fact, I was counting on it.
— Carter, to Elizabeth, in The Long Goodbye

Carter Wilson (born Lyndon Wilson, formerly known as Carter Stevens) is the birth daughter of Elizabeth and David Wilson, and the kidnapped and genetic daughter of Lori Stevens, who was returned to her birth parents after thirteen years and experiences Stockholm syndrome. Under oath, Carter stated in court[3] that her preferred, and now legal, name is "Carter Wilson".


See also: Carter's relationships with her family, which include more specific details about certain events.

Early life

Lyndon Wilson was born to David and Elizabeth Wilson, along with her fraternal twin sister, Taylor Wilson.

For their third birthday party, the twins wore matching dresses.[4]
2x01 07 Carter

When she was three, Lori Stevens picked Lyndon up from her front lawn on May 5th[4] and put her into a waiting car, then drove off;[2] Lori raised Lyndon as her own daughter, under the name of "Carter Stevens", in York, Pennsylvania.[5]

Life with Lori

Carter and Lori had a best friends-like relationship; Lori became Carter's world, and she loved her more than anyone and anything in the world. Carter met Max, her best friend and ex-boyfriend.

After a night out on a carousel with Max and their friends that lands them in jail, Carter's world turns upside down when she meets with a woman from Child Protective Services and an FBI agent, who try to convince and prove to Carter that she was abducted and that Lori is her kidnapper.[5]

Life with the Wilsons

When Carter first meets the Wilsons, she has every intention of returning to Lori, whom she sees as her real mom. The first family member she feels a connection with is her grandfather, Buddy, when she hugs him. The first time she and Taylor go out together is at a party with Taylor's best friend, Gabe, and Taylor is brought home drunk, much to Elizabeth's dismay. Carter gets a job at Brain Freeze with the intention of sending a message to Lori that she is there. When Lori arrives, Elizabeth and Kyle also show up, all in hopes of arresting her. However, Carter helps her get away by disguising her as a Brain Freeze employee giving out free samples outside. Carter accuses Elizabeth of being her abductor, because she took her away from Lori.[5]

After about a month after being returned to the Wilson family, David and Elizabeth have decided to have the family attend family therapy to be able to connect with one another more easily. Carter isn't thrilled with this. At school, Carter fakes a panic attack to get out of class, and she spends the rest of the day with Gabe, Ofe, and Bird, who concoct a plan together to mess with the FBI and Elizabeth. Carter borrows Bird's middle finger foam finger and shows it to Elizabeth the next day in response to Elizabeth getting onto her for missing therapy, much to Elizabeth's dismay.

When the plan to mess with the FBI and Elizabeth unfolds, Carter is pleased with the YouTube video of the incident and gets upset with Max isn't as thrilled. She later attends the family therapy session, and there, she connects with Grant and David, argues with Taylor, and explains to Elizabeth why she does not like her. That night, Carter notices her bag is missing and assumes Elizabeth took it, and she awakes from a comatose in the hospital after taking MDMA Ofe gave to her and attending a party with friends. She also kissed Gabe, whom Taylor liked, though she claims she does not have feelings for him.[6]

As a result of the FBI prank, Carter is forced to apologize to everyone at Fairfax Police Department. There, she learns that neither the FBI nor the police department have any leads on Lori, and this pleases her. She also meets Crash, whom she later learns knows Bird and the rest of the group, and reluctantly agrees to a curfew from Elizabeth. After almost getting caught in a stolen vehicle because of Crash, Carter hugs David for the first time.[7]

After going a while without thinking about Lori, Carter forgets who she is for a moment when Max asks about her and has an emotional breakdown.[8]

In hopes of getting some insight and information on Lori, Carter spends the day with Elizabeth via a ride-along. The two connect well until Elizabeth is called to a crime scene, and Carter gets upset when she learns Elizabeth has compassion for the woman who killed her husband, but not for the woman who raised her.[9]

On the twins' birthday, Carter contemplates leaving the Wilsons to run away with Lori, who let Carter in on her plan, which involves moving to Russia and changing her name. The twins wind up choosing the same dress and wearing it to the party, and when Carter learns the day she thought was her birthday is actually the anniversary of her abduction, she cries to David about how she doesn't want to leave them yet and can't make the decision to run away with Lori on her own, nor can she make the call to Lori, as she fears Lori won't love her anymore. David offers to contact Lori for Carter himself.[4]

More lies

When Carter learns of Elizabeth's affair with Kyle, she brings Taylor with her to confront Elizabeth, and has Elizabeth admit the affair to David. When David does this, however, he has Elizabeth move out; Elizabeth leaves a note for the twins, reassuring them that it wasn't their fault. Carter winds up getting Taylor stoned, thus causing them to forget to pick up Grant. When Elizabeth explains that her coming back is not up to her, Carter goes to David, who manipulates her into letting him write "Finding Carter" if he lets Elizabeth come back and doesn't divorce her. Carter later regrets this, however, whenever Elizabeth thanks her for choosing them and says she almost talked to Lori, thus causing Carter to find out David lied when he took Carter to meet Lori and waited with her for three hours.[10] As a result, Elizabeth spends the night at a cafe with Carter trying to convince her that David isn't a liar—he just hides things.

After Elizabeth confronts David about lying to Carter about the meeting, he rushes to the school to apologize; Carter considers retracting her decision to allow him to write the book about her, but she relents. Meanwhile, Elizabeth finds the proofread first draft of "Finding Carter" and later confronts David; after spending the entire night arguing over it, Elizabeth decides they will talk to Carter about it together, because she doesn't trust him alone with her. Carter gets to sleep for an extra hour, as she isn't going to school that day, and reads over some of "Finding Carter" downstairs in the kitchen with David and Elizabeth. Carter doesn't trust David, even after he apologizes, resulting in a damaged relationship.

Later, Carter, Ofe and Bird hang out in the sanctuary as Bird reads the book, pointing out some of the things David wrote. Bird's mother calls Bird to the house, and Carter is later called to the house. Instead of telling the truth about what happened to her mother's missing jewelry, Bird blames Carter for the missing necklace she gave to Ofe, and she doesn't say anything about the bracelet she gave to Carter as a friendship bracelet/going away present at Carter's birthday party[4], thus resulting in the arrest of Carter by Kyle.

When Elizabeth and David go to talk to Carter, Kyle tells them Bird is ready to testify against her friend. Bird eventually comes clean to her parents, and her mother makes her apologize to and be honest with the Wilsons; the charges against Carter are dropped, but before Elizabeth can pick Carter up from jail, Kyle learns one of the clerks released her into Crash's custody, even though Carter is a minor.[11]

Amber Alert

With Carter missing, Elizabeth issues an Amber Alert in an attempt to find her and Crash, listing Carter as the kidnapped victim and Crash as the kidnapper, which results in a furious Taylor and Grant, and a paranoid Crash. Carter and Crash destroy their phones so no one can find them and prepare to go to California. However, they begin turn around in North Carolina and come back after Crash suggests showing Carter where he grew up, and they stay the night in Lori and Carter's old apartment, where Carter soon finds a 9-digit number right above her old height chart.

After they leave the apartment, Carter realizes that since everyone is looking for her, her mom has to be looking for her, too—and convinces Crash to take her to the mini-mart to leave a message with Max. At a convenience stop for food, Carter learns Crash spent the rest of his money on a gun, and she is disappointed in him.

At the Quik 'N Easy, Max tries to convince Carter to stay, but she doesn't want to. A jealous Crash walks into the store and tells Max to hand over all the money in the register, much to Carter's dismay. Crash pulls the gun out; when Carter gets upset with him, he points it at Max and pulls the trigger to prove that the safety is on, but they soon learn it wasn't, and Max is shot.

Crash leaves a worried Carter alone in the store.[12]

Making things right

In the hospital, Carter leans on Elizabeth for comfort, which upsets Taylor greatly. Grant is also upset with Carter. When she sees him, Carter promises Max that she will make everything right, but she needs him to wake up.

Tension rises between the twins when Max's mother, Karen, arrives at the hospital and favors Carter, who is constantly receiving phone calls and text messages from Crash, whom she is ignoring.

Though it disappoints Gabe, Ofe and Bird, Carter goes to meet Crash before he leaves, if only in a last attempt at convincing him to turn himself in. Crash tells her he loves her, and Elizabeth eventually arrives at the scene. A crying and apologetic Carter is led into Elizabeth's car by Elizabeth's request.

In the car, Elizabeth apologizes for being a cop and tracking Carter, but Carter dismisses it by saying that she knew Elizabeth would—and was counting on it. Then, she acknowledges Elizabeth as her mother and says she loves her, resulting in the two embracing.

When Carter returns to the hospital, she and Taylor make up.[13]

Attempt to apprehend Lori

After visiting the address of the zip code Carter found at her and Lori's old apartment, she finds photos taken of David and Elizabeth when they were expecting the twins—three years before the Wilsons officially met Lori. Elizabeth calls Lori their stalker, which makes Carter question whether Lori ever really loved her or just wanted to hurt Elizabeth and David.

Carter thinks Elizabeth shouldn't stop looking for Lori and offers up her help in finding Lori.

Elizabeth receives a phone call from a therapist who specializes in teen trauma, but when Carter stays home from school that day to meet her, she learns that the therapist is actually Lori, who gives her a picture of David sleeping. Carter confronts David, but she doesn't know whether to believe him or Lori.

Later, Lori calls Elizabeth to schedule a meeting with her, but when Carter finds out, she has a problem with it.[1]

Second abduction and apprehending Lori

Carter goes with Elizabeth to the destination Lori picked to meet and chat with Elizabeth at, but when Lori does not show, Elizabeth panics and goes to check on Carter, who has been drugged via a drink Lori had delivered to Carter and has already been kidnapped again.

After 4 hours, Carter wakes up, remembering the day Lori kidnapped her as a toddler; Carter witnesses Lori talking on the phone with someone. Once Lori realizes she is awake, she tells Carter that she did, indeed, drug her and is ready to tell her the truth. When Lori and Carter leave a motel, Carter questions where are they going, to which Lori responds "We're going to get Taylor." After Lori's response, Carter attempts to run away from her, but is chased and stopped by Lori. Lori snaps a photo of Carter and her to send to Taylor and asks her to send that picture, telling Taylor to meet them in 2 hours and to come alone. In that moment, Carter is very hurt, realizing Lori is very different and not the person she knew. At a diner, Elizabeth and Taylor meet Carter and Lori. Lori finally tells them the truth: she is their genetic mother because Elizabeth couldn't get preganant.

The trial

Main article: Stevens vs. the Commonwealth of Virginia

Deciding she has had enough of Lori, Carter joins with the Wilson family with the prosecutor. Before the trial, she tries to convince Lori to take the plea deal instead of going before a jury, but Lori disagrees and stresses her desire to gain custody of Carter, because she is her biological mother.

After speaking at the trial, Carter breaks down and, with her family, worries that she just messed everything up, but the Wilsons convince her otherwise.


Carter is a stubborn and rebellious, yet loving, teenager, who often aims to see the good in anyone, despite their faults and how risky it is for her (Crash and Lori, for example). She often butts heads with her fraternal twin sister, Taylor, who tends to live by the rules. When Carter is upset, she becomes spiteful and goes out of her way to make others around her miserable. The fact that so many are more interested in the fact that she was abducted when she was three annoys her, because she feels it's the only thing they know about her, and they don't care to talk about other things.

Lies are a sworn enemy, as she doesn't tolerate them at all; because of this, she struggles to make a connection between her birth family at first, wherein many lies swam. It isn't until her seventeenth birthday that Carter learns from Tayor the date she used to celebrate her birthday on, May 5th, is the anniversary of her abduction—this leads her to more closely examine numerous disconcerting aspects of her relationship with Lori.

Carter's personality took a major turn when Crash was apprehended, which also marked Carter's acceptance of Elizabeth as her mother, rather than Lori, as she began to rely on Elizabeth's protectiveness; furthermore, Carter's desire to have Lori in her life rescinded around this time as well, and Carter put forth more effort in keeping her family together—something she didn't have before beyond Lori.

Physical appearance

Carter has short, auburn hair, dark brown eyes, and has clear fair skin. She is also slim and stands at a height of 5"3. Carter has a grungy style of clothing, her wardrobe mostly consisting of dark clothing with holes and open shoulders. However she occasionally dresses in a more formal style of clothing for special events. Apart from wearing strong eye liner she tends to keep her makeup on the more natural side.


Main article: Carter Wilson/Relationships.

Family tree

Mr. Wilson
Mrs. Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson
David Wilson
Lori Stevens
Carter Wilson
(via IVF)
Taylor Wilson
(via IVF)
Grant WilsonBen Wallace

v · e


  • May 5, the day she was kidnapped, became her new birthday when she was kidnapped while her real birthday is in November.[src] (July 2015)
  • Carter's faux sign, the Taurus, and her real sign, the Scorpio, are direct opposite signs of each other.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Episode: One Hour Photo.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode: Love the Way You Lie.
  3. Episode: I'm Not the Only One.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Episode: Throw Momma From the Train.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Episode: Pilot.
  6. Episode: The Birds.
  7. Episode: Drive.
  8. Episode: Now You See Me.
  9. Episode: The Heat.
  10. Episode: Half Baked.
  11. Episode: Do the Right Thing.
  12. Episode: Love Story.
  13. Episode: The Long Goodbye.

v · e
Characters, Cast & Crew
Characters Main Carter Wilson  •  Elizabeth Wilson  •  David Wilson  •  Taylor Wilson  •  Grant Wilson  •  Max
Recurring Ben Wallace  •  Beatrix "Bird"  •  Buddy  •  Cameron "Crash" Mason  •  Damon  • 

Gabe Medeiros  •  Hillary  •  Jared  •  Joan  •  Kyle Medeiros  •  Lori Stevens  •  Madison  •  Ofe  •  Reagan  •  Seth  •  Shay  •  Toby

Cast Main Kathryn Prescott  •  Cynthia Watros  •  Alexis Denisof  •  Anna Jacoby-Heron  •  Zac Pullam  •  Alex Saxon
Recurring Milena Govich  •  Vanessa Morgan  •  Jesse Henderson  •  Jesse Carere  •  Caleb Ruminer  ‧ Eddie Matos  •  Meredith Baxter  •  Robert Pine  •  Stephen Guarino
Crew Writers Emily Silver (Creator)  •  Terri Minsky* (Developer)  •  Heather Thomason  •  Steve Holland  •  Maria Maggenti  •  Elle Johnson  •  Sam Wolfson  •  Sean Reycraft
Directors Scott Speer  •  Rob Hardy  •  John Terlesky  •  Rose Troche  •  Jamie Travis  ‧  Jennifer Lynch  •  Peter Lauer
also as Producer Finding Carter: Full cast & crew on IMDb
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