- "You mean to tell me that I'm caught up in all this shit because some white cop threw some white asshole's brother off a roof?"
- ―Zeus Carver
Zeus Carver is a hotheaded African-American shopkeeper and activist who accompanies John McClane through his mission, proving to be resourceful and streetwise. Because he has no choice in the matter, Zeus is unwilling to help, but his ingenuity helps McClane through the games and over time, the two develop a love-hate type of friendship, mainly because he and McClane have much in common.
He was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson.
Little is known about Zeus's early life, but the novelization of Die Hard With a Vengeance gives more detail into his life. As a child, Zeus was fascinated with fixing up broken things, and would have been a brain surgeon, but his family did not have the money to send him to medical school. Zeus mentions that the root of his racism may have been caused when his brother, who was in no way involved with cocaine, was killed during a failed crack house raid while trying to get him to come home. His brother's death caused Zeus to clean up his act, although he would be left with some very bitter racial tension from the incident. His brother had a wife and two children, and he would later become a father figure to his nephews.
Zeus is introduced at the beginning of the film quite innocently working in his shop. His nephews, Dexter and Raymond arrive and attempt to sell a stolen boom box, only to be scolded and sent back to school. Raymond points out John McClane, who is wearing a sign that entitles "I Hate Niggers". Zeus tells the children to call the police and he walks outside, to warn John to leave before a local gang sees him and kills him, likely resulting in a riot and some vengeful white cops. Not wanting to lose his shop, which he has worked his entire life for, Zeus attempts to get John to hide in his store until the cops arrive, only for the gang to spot John. John tells him that he is a cop forced to do this by the Bonwit Teller bomber, or else he will cause the deaths of more civilians. Zeus doesn't believe this, but when the gang starts to harass the two, Zeus attempts to diffuse the situation, however after the gang starts beating John up, Zeus notices a revolver duct taped to John's back and pulls it off, threatening the gang to step away. Zeus then uses the gun to hijack a car and drive away from the scene. Zeus complains about the vandalism the gang is certainly doing to his shop when McClane calls Zeus 'Jesus', but Zeus corrects him because he heard one of the gang members say: "Hey, Zeus". Zeus then says that he does not look Puerto-Rican and then demands to know if McClane has a problem with his name when McClane is disbelieving when Zeus tells him his real name.
Back at the police station, Zeus is forced to help McClane by Simon Gruber, otherwise he will detonate more bombs across the city. Zeus insults Simon by saying that he can stick his well-laid plan up his well-laid ass", hangs up and leaves the police station, telling the police to deal with it, and call him when the bomber leaves his neighborhood. However, McClane lies to Zeus that the bomb he found in Chinatown was really found in Harlem, and Zeus decides to help because he knew that the bomber would have bombed his own neighborhood, possibly injuring his nephews. Zeus decides to accompany McClane across the city, attempting to stop Simon's plot. Because his nephews know many riddles, Zeus is able to discover the answer to almost all of the puzzles Simon sends their way. Zeus finds the answer to the first riddle, managing to multiply large sums, but then he realizes that it is a trick question and provides the correct answer. Zeus then travels to the Wall Street Station and answers a phone call from Simon, skipping the fare in the process and getting a gun pulled on him by a trnsit cop. Zeus tells the cop that he has to answer the phone and does so, but Simon tells Zeus that because McClane is not on the line as well, this is noncompliance. Zeus tells everyone to duck, and McClane throws the bomb out of the train just in time, detonating and causing the train to be blown onto the platform, destroying the station.
Later on, Zeus tells McClane not to open a briefcase on a fountain, but McClane does anyway, and it turns out to be an armed bomb. Zeus says that he told him not to open it, but after arguing for a minute on race issues, McClane solves the riddle. At this point, Zeus discovers the robbed Federal Reserve and takes a gold bar. They steal a car and Zeus accidentally leaves the gold bar behind. Zeus heads to Yankee Stadium when McClane investigates the water tunnel, but doesn't find anything and picks up McClane. Then when two of Simon's men chase them on the highway, Zeus learns the name of the 21st president was Chester A. Arthur and was shocked that Chester A. Arthur Elementary School was where Simon planted the bomb, which is the school where his nephews attend to.
They head to the cargo ship and McClane gives Zeus an MP5 submachine gun, showing him how to use it but telling him not to be a hero, and if he finds Simon, come get him so they can beat the code to the school bomb out of him. Zeus disobeys, however, and attempts to kill Simon, failing to realize that the safety catch is on. Simon takes it off and shoots Zeus in the leg, capturing them and handcuffing them to a gigantic bomb. Zeus manages to escape after picking the lock on McClane's handcuffs. The two are disappointed that they were unable to stop Simon and at Zeus' urging, McClane calls his estranged wife, but a clue on a bottle of aspirin leads to Simon's location in Canada.
Zeus accompanies McClane despite his injured leg and watches the arrest of Simon´s gang and how McClane finally brings Simon down. At Zeus' urging, McClane tries calling Holly again.