Why did Quantico end?

Quantico reportedly ended after three seasons due to a low viewer rating in terms of live audiences, at a time when this medium was still highly rated.


One show of the 2010s that arguably did not get the fair chance it deserved was ABC’s crime suspense drama, Quantico. The Priyanka Chopra-led series followed an FBI agent who was attempting to exonerate herself, and it enjoyed three seasons before it was cancelled by the television network.

When it comes to shows being cancelled, a drastic drop in the viewer ratings is always the best guess, and in terms of Quantico, the live audience numbers reportedly dropped from the first season to its last, resulting in ABC dropping the series.

What was Quantico about?

Quantico was created by Joshua Safran, as it took, “A look at the lives of young FBI recruits training at the Quantico base in Virginia when one of them is suspected of being a sleeper terrorist.”

The crime suspense drama series featured Bollywood turned Hollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra in the title role of Alex Parrish.

Quantico fascinated viewers with its complex storyline which saw the series use flashbacks, real time moments and flash-forwards in order to tell its story. This resulted in a complex storytelling trope, which was not popular for television network shows at the time.

Why did Quantico end?

When Quantico first premiered on ABC in 2015, the show was an immediate hit with viewers. During its first season, it was reportedly the highest rated scripted show on the night of its premiere.

However, as the series would continue and more seasons aired, the numbers took a drastic drop. A drop that was so drastic that by the time it aired its series finale in 2018, the episode reportedly had just over 2.5 million live viewers tuning in.

This might have been the reason that the series was cancelled by ABC. However, another reason that was attributed to the show’s demise was its complex storytelling device.

In light of the flashbacks, real time moments and flash-forwards, network television shows that often use this type of trope have proved not to be successful, with This Is Us being one of the few exceptions to this rule.

Problematising Quantico’s cancellation

At the time of Quantico’s cancellation, live audience ratings were used as the deciding factor to whether a show was successful or not. This is as television networks at the time had not embraced the growing innovation and the infiltration of video-on-demand platforms.

Therefore, ABC did not take into consideration that while Quantico’s live audience numbers might have been low, the show made up for the low ratings through its delayed viewing numbers.

If television studio networks had embraced video-on-demand services at the time, the show might have continued on into season four.

How did Quantico end?

Quantico aired its third and final season in 2018. The abbreviated ending saw Alex Parrish not only prove her innocence – but left open-ended conclusions which would have been continued into season four. This included Alex saving the daughter of her ex-boyfriend, Isabella, after he was killed by an Irish terrorist.

Towards the end of the series finale episode, it is revealed that Alex intends to adopt Isabella to raise as her own. Moreover, after vindicating herself, Alex was ready to return to the FBI.

What would have happened in Quantico, season four?

Following the cancellation of Quantico, its showrunner, Michael Seitzman confirmed with Deadline that they had already worked on a fourth season. Moreover, the new season would have seen Alex enter a new phase in her life.

According to Seitzman, “Alex ends up with McQuigg, they raise Isabella together, and she continues with the FBI. Owen and Jocelyn fall in love and have a peaceful happy life together. Ryan probably dies but Shelby becomes a legend in the FBI and finds love again.”


Quantico for its first season was one of ABC’s most popular shows. However, the series only enjoyed a three-season run until it was cancelled in 2018. The cancellation therefore marked the end of the adventures of FBI agent, Alex Parrish, following exonerating herself and starting a new life.

The cancellation is believed to have been a result of the drastic drop in live audience numbers for the show between season one and three. Moreover, the complex storytelling devices used in the series were not conventions of popular television series airing at the time, compounding reasons for its cancellation.