You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Outlander’ Team Talks ‘Delicate Balance’ of Bringing Back ‘Politicized’ Murtagh (SPOILERS)

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Savages,” the fifth episode of “Outlander” Season 4.

Ever since viewers saw Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) being led away with the other Ardsmuir prisoners to be shipped off to the American colonies in the third season of Starz’ time-traveling drama “Outlander,” there has been speculation about whether Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) would manage to find him when they finally settled in America. On Sunday (Dec. 2), viewers got their answer.

Murtagh was revealed to be alive and well in the fifth episode of the fourth season, entitled “Savages.” He was found working as a blacksmith in a town near where Jamie and Claire have settled — but figuring out when and where to bring him back into the story was no easy feat for the writers’ room.

“Bringing characters back is a delicate issue — how you do it because you don’t want them to just pop up randomly,” executive producer Matthew B. Roberts tells Variety, adding that it’s not as simple as substituting one character for another. “We certainly don’t go, ‘Well, they’ll just take over this role from the book.’ I see a lot of speculation on social media about how Murtagh might just take over Duncan Innes or whatever — but Murtagh isn’t those people. He has his own backstory, we’ve seen it. So we know who his character is, so [we needed to consider] what would Murtagh be doing?”

Roberts found his answer to that in politics. He and his team made Murtagh part of the American Revolution, working with the Regulators to rebel against the British crown, after being ripped away from Scotland and working as an indentured servant in America.

“It felt like a perfect fit for Murtagh to join [the Regulators’] cause and fight for that cause and give himself a family to fight for,” said Roberts. “His whole life, that’s the one thing he has done — he’s protected Jamie his whole life and now he’s a man, if you think about it, a man without a country in the sense of his home being Jamie. He needed to fight for a new home and that would be the Regulator cause.”

Of course, since Jamie has sworn an oath to the British crown in exchange for his land settlement, that does put him and Murtagh at odds, at least for now, which Sam Heughan says has been a fun dynamic for them to play.

“What they’ve done that I think is really great this season is that he’s coming back, but he’s become slightly politicized. He’s on a different side than Jamie might be and I think this is just the beginning,” he says.

But even if Jamie and his godfather are on opposite sides of the conflict, that doesn’t make the reunion any less emotional for both men. Murtagh is Jamie’s “rock,” according to Heughan, and it means so much to have him back.

“There’s a great wealth of love for each other,” he says, noting that Murtagh has seen Jamie “through some really horrific stuff” and “always been there for him.”

Both Heughan and Balfe say they were really excited about the dynamic that Murtagh would bring to the fourth season, especially because, as Balfe points out, he is “the only other person who knows the truth about who Claire is and where she comes from,” so he is “very much the closest person other than Jamie that she has in the 18th century.”

“It was so sweet, we had a really lovely reunion,” says Balfe. “It was really fun to film that. We adore Duncan and it was really nice to have him back. And he looks so great with a gray wig!”

But this is “Outlander” and there is a war coming, so how comfortable can Murtagh get? The show is writing the entire storyline from scratch, rather than pulling source material from the books. But Roberts says “everybody loves…and “everybody needs a Murtagh,” which makes him integral to Jamie and Claire’s life going forward.

“His arc carries over into the next season, too,” Roberts confirms.

“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.

More TV

  • Telemundo to Launch English-Language Newscast With

    Telemundo to Launch First English-Language Newscast on YouTube (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo is developing its first English-language newscast in collaboration with YouTube in a bid to tap the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic youth demographic. Borne out of a YouTube grant aimed at awarding journalism projects that “elevate quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation,” Telemundo News’ [...]


    How the HFPA Celebrated History with 2019 Golden Globe Nominees

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often prides itself on being trendsetting when it comes to recognizing new talent and programming, and the 2019 crop of nominees certainly follows that pattern. But sometimes celebrating something new actually means celebrating something old, in the form of storytelling that explores key eras in history. FX Soviet spy drama [...]

  • Ryan Murphy - Outstanding Directing for

    Ryan Murphy to Be Honored by Costume Designers Guild

    The Costume Designers Guild has selected Ryan Murphy as the recipient of its distinguished collaborator award. The producer will be honored at the 21st Costume Designers Guild Awards on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The distinguished collaborator award honors individuals who demonstrate “unwavering support” of costume design and creative partnerships with [...]

  • 'Dark Crystal' Series Cast Includes Nathalie

    'Dark Crystal' Series Voice Cast Includes Nathalie Emmanuel, Taron Egerton

    The upcoming “Dark Crystal” series at Netflix has announced a stacked voice cast. Leading the cast for “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” are Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel as Rian, Brea and Deet, three Gelfling heroes. Other Gelfling characters are voiced by: Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham-Carter, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, [...]

  • Greek forensic experts search outside the

    Greece Condemns Bombing of TV and Radio Broadcaster

    The Greek government has condemned the bombing of a major media group in Athens as an “attack by cowardly and dark forces against democracy itself.” No injuries were reported in the powerful dead-of-night blast outside the offices of the Skai TV channel and radio network. The building also houses leading daily newspaper Kathimerini, which is [...]

  • Kathleen FinchDiscovery Executive Session panel, TV

    Discovery Builds HGTV Companion to TLC's 'Say Yes to the Dress' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Discovery is readying a home-improvement version of TLC favorite “Say Yes To The Dress,” a signal that the company is working to maximize opportunities to make use of the Scripps cable networks  – including HGTV – it acquired earlier this year. The long-running bridal fashion show will return for a new season on Saturday, January [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content