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Homeland Season 6
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Eerily echoing real world US politics, series six of cult thriller Homeland continues to veer between chaos and paranoia. In the eye of the maelstrom is excitable spy Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), struggling to keep her footing amid a tangle of conspiracies.
As the weeks clip by, the list of influential players wishing ill upon the former CIA operative lengthens. When in the latest instalment Carrie’s basement tenant Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) was startled by a mystery interloper searching her apartment upstairs, the question wasn’t so much who had it in for Carrie – as who didn’t.
Only three episodes down and already Mathison has ticked off mercurial CIA honcho Dar Adal (F Murray Abraham) and FBI hothead Conlin (Dominic Fumusa). Even her allies have started to doubt her, with her legal partner Reda (Patrick Sabongui) predictably miffed when she went behind his back to speak to off-limits witness Saad.
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Elizabeth Marvel as Elizabeth Keane
Elizabeth Marvel as Elizabeth Keane
Also accumulating foes is her former CIA mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). The gentleman spook had been packed off to Abu Dhabi to assess Mossad allegations of an Iran-North Korean nuclear alliance. And a good thing too. Chock full of prostitutes, feuding siblings and a mid-tempo car-chase Saul’s sojourn in the Middle East added a welcome urgency to an hour more concerned with building tension than progressing the storyline. Here is the rest of what we learned.
1. Carrie’s cunning plan backfired
Carrie had disregarded a judicial dictate to stay clear of FBI inside man Saad – the key prosecution witness in the case against naive jihad advocate Sekou (Mallory McCree). The government blowback was extreme. A plea bargain offer of a seven year jail term for Sekou had been withdrawn. He would go on trial with a minimum 15 years glinting over his neck.
With Carrie’s shenanigans exposed, Reda responded with understandable apoplexy. As did Sekou who – not unreasonably – concluded Mathison had ruined his life (if he was lucky he would be 40 before he saw daylight again) She sobbed and apologised – but Sekou wasn’t having it. He would pay the price for her foolhardiness.
2. It was okay – she had another CUNNING plan
In hot water for breaking the rules, Carrie took the common sense option of breaking even more rules. An old contact from her days in Iraq was badgered into retrieving taped conversations between Saad and his FBI handler Conlin, which thoroughly exonerated Sekou. Into Conlin’s office she stomped with the incriminating clip. He crumpled and it seemed Sekou was off the hook after all. But would a court really deem such iffy evidence admissible? It’s television – let’s not get hung up on it.
Elizabeth Marvel as Elizabeth Keane, F Murray Abraham as Dar Adal and Hill Harper as Rob Emmons
Elizabeth Marvel as Elizabeth Keane, F Murray Abraham as Dar Adal and Hill Harper as Rob Emmons
3. Hold your breath... Quinn still hasn’t washed
It’s two weeks since Carrie bluntly informed her pungent pal that he really, really (really) required a scrubbing down. But Quinn was still in Dickensian orphan mode – whenever he mooched on screen, your first instinct was to hold your nose.
Alas, a decent wash looks unlikely in the short-term. The episode began with Quinn dreaming he was standing under a showerhead only to find himself violently reliving the Sarin gas attack in Berlin. He foamed at the mouth, thrashed on the porcelain, manically swivelled his eyes.
This was merely the start of his worst morning ever. Quinn woke squirming in bed and was comforted by a concerned Carrie. Rather than accept the hug for the platonic gesture it was, he tried to tongue wrestle Mathison, who flinched. But was it because she wasn’t romantically interested or because Quinn was smellier than her recycling bin?
4. Dar’s villainy grows more villainous
The CIA chief took visible pleasure fibbing to Hillary Clinton-esque President Elect Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) about Iran’s nuclear plans. Tehran was indeed in cahoots with North Korea he spoofed, citing “conclusive” evidence uncovered by their man in Abu Dhabi, Saul.
In fact, there was no smoking gun, with Saul having failed to uncover slam-dunk proof of a North Korea link-up. Yet instead of sharing the truth, Dar told the Pres-to-be than Saul was 100 per cent persuaded Iran was conducting a secret nuclear programme, in defiance of its agreement with the US.
Adal’s slyness was underscored several scenes later as he eavesdropped on Keane’s confab with her hush-hush adviser Carrie. Wheels within wheels – but who will be the one run over in the end?
5. Quinn has a gun and is probably going to shoot someone
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t rifling your landlady’s intelligence files. The creak of footsteps from Carrie’s apartment convinced Quinn someone was out to get his host. So he took precautions by having his prostitute pal from episode one hook him up with her robber boyfriend.Yes, the robber boyfriend who clunked Quinn over the head and fled with poison victim’s savings. No hard feelings, presumed the boyfriend who agreed to sell Quinn his gun at an outrageous mark-up.
Actually, there were HARD feelings, as Quinn confirmed when he clubbed the thief across the face and whipped the pistol. An eye for an eye, a loaded fire-arm for a social security cheque. But now that he’s armed, how dangerous will Quinn be?
6. What are the Iranians really up to?
Part one of Berenson’s Abu Dhabi operation went to plan. Iranian fixer Nafisi’s liaisons with a prostitute provided perfect blackmailing material and Saul had fun getting to the bottom of the agent’s mission. But Nafisi (Bernard White) never wavered in his insistence that he had flown to Russia to agree the purchase of a missile defence system rather than continuing on to North Korea.
As Saul pointed out in his call to Dar, the acquisition of defence technology was perfectly legitimate. So why all the tiptoeing about ? And how to explain the crumpled cigarette packet Saul found in the waste basket after clearly observing Nafisi slip the same carton (uncrumpled) into jacket pocket?
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson
7. What is Saul planning?
Another puzzle was posed as Saul visited his devoutly Jewish sister at her West Bank settlement (they bickered, estranged-sibling style, over her right to be there). That night, he crept from her house into the back of a waiting Palestinian police car. The plot, already dense as treacle, thickened further.
8. Was this a “breather” episode – or harbinger things to come?
After sprinting out of the blocks in its first two instalments, Homeland appeared to be pacing itself for the first time this season. The storyline barely advanced, with character development prioritised over narrative twists. Is the series merely pausing for breath – or can we expect the same lolling tempo over the next several weeks?
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Homeland Season 4 - 5
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Carrie's career at the CIA takes off when she becomes an overseas station chief in a highly volatile region, but every drone strike and tactical raid comes at a cost and she quickly learns the true price of power. Saul fights to stay in the intelligence game.
A bipolar CIA operative becomes convinced a prisoner of war has been turned by al-Qaeda and is planning to carry out a terrorist attack on American soil.
Claire Danes is back in action on Homeland as maladjusted Carrie Mathison. Season 4 launches with back-to-back hours Sunday night. Showtime photo
By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
An addiction to action and an aversion to motherhood make CIA operative Carrie Mathison a sad, solitary player at the start of Homeland’s Season 4.
Showtime’s most-honored series reloads with back-to-back hours on Sunday, Oct. 5th (8 to 10 p.m. central). And after a somewhat plodding start in its first season without Damian Lewis’ deceased Nicholas Brody, Homeland begins to find its way again while Carrie (Claire Danes) fixates as only she can.
Without detailing too much, let’s at least divulge this. Initially assigned to Istanbul, where dependents are allowed, Carrie has arranged a transfer to Afghanistan for two principal reasons. War zones have more action and intrigue. But equally important to her is an opportunity to divest herself of baby daughter Frannie, who’s left stateside in the care of Carrie’s increasingly resentful sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves), and a part-time nanny.
This amounts to an emotional rescue for Carrie, who’s drinking hard again while being celebrated as “The Drone Queen” by her co-workers. But when a terrorist hit goes very bad, she’s plunged into the thick of an international debacle along with Islamabad, Pakistan CIA station head Sandy Bachman (guest star Corey Stoll).
Holdover Homeland character Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), equipped with a moral compass that Carrie lacks, also finds himself ensnared. Back home in Washington, D.C., her former mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), has gone to the private sector while the CIA’s diabolical new director, Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts), fumes and covers his tracks.
Homeland, whose fourth season will have 12 episodes, has never re-achieved the highs of Season 1. But its downward slide shows signs of leveling off by the end of Sunday’s opening two hours. Danes’ Carrie is steelier than ever, her heart hardened to near-concrete while going about the exhilarating business of eliminating terrorists no matter what the collateral damage.
Carrie retains residual feelings for Brody, but there are no flashbacks to their time together. He’s Frannie’s father but that’s not a tie that binds her. She’s barely capable of being a mother for a day. See Episode 2 for conclusive evidence of that.
Episode 1 ends with a chilling action sequence that for a time threatens to keep Carrie on the CIA’s bench. Quinn is left dazed and demoralized while she plots a return to action that again will free her from any possibility of diaper-changing and bottle-feeding.
Homeland is no longer a person-to-person love story. Carrie only has eyes for the next covert operation, throwing herself into the task with a ferocious determination to outwit, outplay and outlast all who would deter her. It’s called being a survivor -- strictly on her terms.
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The game has changed for Carrie Mathison. Out of the CIA and living in Berlin, Carrie is trying to start a new life but realizes now she's the one with a target on her back. As the danger intensifies, and without Saul and Quinn to rely on, one thing becomes clear - she's never been at greater risk or with more to lose.
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison (12 episodes)
Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn (12 episodes)
Sebastian Koch as Otto Düring (10 episodes)
Miranda Otto as Allison Carr (12 episodes)
Alexander Fehling as Jonas Hollander (10 episodes)
Sarah Sokolovic as Laura Sutton (10 episodes)
F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal (11 episodes)
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson (12 episodes)
Forgotten what happened in Homeland series 4? Here’s a quick recap
Tim Liew for Metro.co.uk
Sunday 11 Oct 2015 9:15 am
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Forgotten what happened in Homeland series 4? Here's a quick recap
With series five of Homeland starting on Sunday, here’s a quick reminder of what happened in the last series to bring you back up to speed.
In Kabul, she hastily orders a drone strike which decimates a wedding party but fails to kill terrorist target Haissam Haqqani.
Briefly returns to the US, where she nearly drowns daughter Frannie.
Appointed station chief in Islamabad, she tracks down Haqqani’s nephew Aayan, who she seduces.
Uses Aayan to locate Haqqani, who shoots him.
When Saul escapes but finds himself surrounded by Taliban soldiers, she prevents him from killing himself by steering him back in to captivity.
After her medication is swapped out, she hallucinates that Pakistani counter-terrorism chief Aasar Khan is Brody.
Read more: //metro.co.uk/2015/10/11/forgotten-what-happened-in-homeland-series-4-heres-a-quick-recap-5430342/#ixzz4oMjpNLNj
Homeland Season 2 - 3
The second season of the American television drama series Homeland premiered on September 30, 2012 on Showtime and concluded on December 16, 2012, consisting of 12 episodes. The series is loosely based on the Israeli television series Hatufim (English: Prisoners of War) created by Gideon Raff and is developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
Carrie continues her hunt for terrorist leader Abu Nazir while maintaining a complicated relationship with Brody that straddles the line between personal and professional; Brody is forced to work more closely with the CIA; Jessica Brody struggles to keep her family in tact despite increasing difficulty connecting with her husband; Saul discovers a clandestine plot.
Homeland (season 2)
Carrie (Claire Danes), Saul (Mandy Patinkin), Quinn (Rupert Friend), and Estes (David Harewood) discuss what to do now that Brody (Damian Lewis) has been missing for 12 hours. They decide to apprehend Roya Hammad (Zuleikha Robinson), but their plans change when Carrie gets a call from Brody. Brody desperately asks Carrie to get his family into protection immediately. Carrie opts to send Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) to pick up Brody's family, so as not to arouse suspicion. Mike brings Jessica (Morena Baccarin), Dana (Morgan Saylor), and Chris (Jackson Pace) to a CIA safe house and stays with them.
After looking into Quinn, Virgil (David Marciano) and Max (Maury Sterling) report their findings to Saul. They found anti-intrusion devices all over his apartment, and that his living quarters suggests he is ready to leave at any time. They also found a rifle cleaning kit and a photo of a woman with a baby. Saul tracks down the woman, a police officer in Philadelphia (Daniella Pineda), and talks to her, posing as an IRS employee. Saul confirms that she is the estranged mother of Quinn's child.
At a CIA debrief, Brody reports that he was taken to see Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), who is now in the U.S. He goes on to state that Nazir made a veiled threat to Brody's family, and that Nazir is planning an attack on a homecoming event hosted by Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) where 300 special ops soldiers are to be reunited with their families. Brody's assignment is to convince Walden to allow a lone journalist, Roya Hammad, to cover the event.
Dana, increasingly disillusioned by her father and the difficulties he's brought upon the family, expresses to Mike that sometimes she wishes her father never came back from the war. Mike tries to explain to her that everyone who was in the war comes back with a "wound," himself included.
Quinn meets with a man on an otherwise empty bus. Max, who was following Quinn, takes some photos of the meeting. When Saul sees the photos, he identifies Quinn's contact as Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), a man Saul knew from 18 years ago who was running classified operations out of Nairobi. Virgil notes that if Quinn is reporting to Dar Adal, his job function is far from the 'analyst' that he's supposed to be.
Late at night at the safehouse, Jessica sneaks into Mike's room and has sex with him. The next day, Brody calls his family to check in, talking to Chris and Jessica, but Dana refuses to speak with him.
On the day of the homecoming, the CIA has tracked Roya Hammad and her news team to a restaurant. Back at headquarters, Quinn leaves after being prompted by Estes. Saul asks Estes where Quinn is going. Estes explains that Quinn is acting as a "FBI liaison" today, and Saul asks why that task is assigned to an analyst. While Roya and her news team eat inside the restaurant, an SUV pulls up alongside Roya's news truck. Four of Abu Nazir's men emerge from the van, including the "munitions man" ("MM") who led the attack on the tailor's shop in Gettysburg (played by Mido Hamada), while one remains inside, obscured by tinted windows. They remove some camera batteries out of the back of the news van and replace them with similar-looking but much heavier devices from their van. When Carrie observes this, the go-ahead is given to move in, and the terrorists are captured successfully.
While this happens, Quinn drives a limousine to Brody's house to take him to the homecoming. While he waits, Quinn removes a silenced handgun from the glove compartment and readies to shoot Brody. But when Carrie confirms that the final man in the SUV was not Abu Nazir, Estes orders Quinn to "stand down" and that "we still need him"
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Season 3 of Homeland aired from September 29, 2013 to December 15, 2013.
Carrie goes to extraordinary lengths to solve the latest crisis at the CIA while dealing with a deeply personal secret; Brody struggles to survive; Saul must walk a tightrope and play many opposing sides to keep his job at the CIA and try to revive his troubled marriage; Quinn has a crisis of faith.
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The third season of the American television drama series Homeland premiered on September 29, 2013 on Showtime, and concluded on December 15, 2013, consisting of 12 episodes. The series is loosely based on the Israeli television series Hatufim (English: Prisoners of War) created by Gideon Raff and is developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa.
elebrating television has become such a full-throated, full-time, and, occasionally, full-contact pastime that it’s often easy to forget just what it is we’re celebrating. This is particularly tricky during the final days of Breaking Bad, when critical adulation and audience frenzy have combined to form a crushing tsunami of unanimity and acclaim. As rewarding as it is to experience, this sort of reaction is rare and potentially misleading. Unlike cinema, in which every little detail can be frittered over and futzed with forever, television is the art of anti-perfection: It’s an unforgiving and relentless world of best worst decisions, happy accidents, and lucky mistakes. Breaking Bad aside, nearly every show up on prestige drama Mount Rushmore is laced with cracks we’ve all seemingly agreed to forget: Sopranos dream sequences and general late-stage entropy,1 which returns for a third season this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In its first two years, the series hasn’t proved itself to be so much brave as it is fearless — like those people literally born without the gene that allows them to feel fear. That could be a very bad thing if engaged in race car driving or snake handling, but TV storytelling? It can work and work well: Homeland‘s dizzying debut season began with an outrageous question — was Nicholas Brody, POW turned national hero, actually a terrorist? — and got only more provocative from there, pouring sex, religion, secrecy, and shame into a blender, adding a healthy glug of Chardonnay for taste, some lithium for balance, and then pulsing with the lid off. TV shows rarely get extra credit for degree of difficulty, but maybe they should.
After a surprising sweep of the major categories in last year’s Emmys, Homeland Season 2 opened with a bang and ended with a much louder one, the better to mask the questionable events that had transpired in the interim. There were car crashes and helicopter kidnappings, remote control assassinations and a second 9/11 that somehow played second fiddle to some fireplace nookie in the woods. At some point between Carrie’s shocking, tender dismantling of Brody in “Q&A”2 and her shoddy capture by a freshly shaved Abu Nazir, Homeland‘s delicate high-wire act turned into a public hanging.
So what went wrong? Well, for one thing, Homeland fell prey to the problems endemic to any television show, particularly one built on sexy questions: There’s almost no way for the answers not to inevitably disappoint. To showrunner Alex Gansa’s great credit, he recognized this early and, with the urging of the veteran writers on his staff, made a conscious decision to slam down on the accelerator whenever the plot suggested pumping the brakes. Gansa has spoken of how, now that Twitter has transformed a once-passive viewing audience into a nation of nitpickers, the most powerful tool in the showrunner’s arsenal isn’t “what” or “how,” it’s “when.” That’s why, in that thready first season, Carrie and Brody hooked up in Episode 6, why Brody’s true allegiances were revealed in Episode 8, and why confrontations that felt tailor-made for the second-season finale happened before fans had a chance to catch their breath. This constant spinning functioned as a distraction — hey, what were Raqim and Aileen planning on doing with that house near the airport, anyway? — but also as a centrifuge, helping to separate a busy show into its core components of suspense, spying, and sex. Many series take on the attributes of their protagonists,3 and Homeland was no exception: At its best, the series raged against expectation, logic, and even sanity like Carrie Mathison shoving away her meds. And yet, as Carrie learned time and time again, eventually there has to be a reckoning for all that crazy.
Complicating things further was the fact that not all of Homeland‘s wounds were self-inflicted. By piecing together quotes from interviews and some unsourced industry whispering, it becomes pretty clear that Damian Lewis has been ready to hit the unemployment line since Season 1, his character’s continued presence more an executive-suite mandate than a quirk of fate. I insisted in the past that leaving Brody alive for a second year made sense on both a creative and commercial level — having Carrie proved right but continuing to believe she was wrong put an already unstable character in a deliciously wobbly place — but it grew increasingly hard to make that argument as Season 2 tumbled dangerously close to absurdity.4 Brody was the spark that ignited Homeland but now threatened to burn the whole thing down. Yet how do you go about convincing a suddenly ascendant network that the best move for long-term survival is to kill the Emmy-winning costar of your most talked-about series?
The answer is: You don’t. Last year, I wrote about how Homeland augured a new Silver Age of American television, one that replaced auteurist whimsy with steady, genre-tweaking professionalism. There’s a downside to that, too: Unlike, say, Mad Men, Homeland wasn’t designed as a delivery system for the idiosyncratic vision of a single storyteller. It was built to be a TV show, one that creaked and wobbled but stayed on the rails to Profit Town for as long as humanly possible. There’s plenty of art to it, but there’s also a good amount of business.
And so much of the latter half of Season 2 felt like a frantic improvisation to satisfy both masters. Gansa and his team did their best — and I stand by what I wrote at the time; there was much to like about Homeland last year, even after the BlackBerry Skyping — but their hands were tied. No matter how many times Gansa insisted otherwise, Homeland was never a starry-eyed romance between Brody and Carrie. Their connection — like the show that soared whenever it brought them together — was something far more twisted and dark, a collision of damaged people intent on remaking the world before even attempting to fix themselves. When they boinked with the CIA cameras rolling, it was not only kinky, it was saying something audacious about our modern surveillance state and the way all of us — men and women, soldiers and terrorists, gingers and blondes — get off on performing roles, not necessarily believing in them. It decidedly wasn’t saying what Gansa seemed to be suggesting, which is that the bipolar, self-medicating analyst and the would-be suicide bomber turned congressman were just a couple of crazy kids who could have made something beautiful had they not been on the run from the federal government and a shadowy cabal of international Islamists. Homeland is many things — a lot of them good, a bunch of them nuts — but romantic ain’t among them. Turning the show into a doomed love story may be an easier sell, but it’s a far tougher watch.
When the second season ended with a deck-clearing, CIA-and-supporting-cast-decimating explosion, it was dramatic, sure, but also potentially restorative. Carrie and Brody had gone as far as they could go — to the gates of hell, or at least the border of Canada — and the bad soldier had been left behind. It was time for a new crew of antagonists, a new set of questions. Recent events and shifting national attitudes on just what it means to be “kept safe” had given Gansa plenty with which to play. The jittery and brilliant Claire Danes, who attracts Emmys as easily as she sheds tears, remained under contract, as did Mandy Patinkin, whose sturdy, rabbinical Saul Berenson added moral weight and bearded gravitas to even the most fantastical proceedings. No one would have minded a complete reboot in Season 3 because I think contemporary audiences are keyed in enough to recognize that Homeland‘s first story had been told and that one of the benefits of television’s makeshift hothouse5 is the ability to radically improve things on the fly. Yes, Breaking Bad is lauded for the singularity and consistency of its vision, but other shows don’t need to play by its rules — or be judged by them. It’s TV, not chemistry, that’s the real study of change. And Homeland was ripe for some.
Homeland Judging by the first two episodes of Season 3, Alex Gansa and Homeland — much like our real-life national security apparatus — are still stuck fighting yesterday’s wars. Rather than approaching the CIA bombing as a chance to build something new from the ashes, the season premiere, written by Gansa and Barbara Hall, focuses long and hard on the implications of that smoldering crater.6 In the universe of the show, the unthinkable has actually happened: another 9/11, on Carrie Mathison’s watch. The realpolitik of this is almost impossible to wrap one’s head around: A congressman was a member of Al Qaeda? And wiped out 219 men, women, and children (and children of vice-presidents) with a car bomb? The actual response to such an event would be rioting in the streets and 100 new wars, not the gentle upping of F. Murray Abraham from guest star to recurring.
Sunday’s premiere, titled “Tin Man Is Down,” is a strident and occasionally clumsy hour of exposition intended to help viewers adjust to the new normal. Much of that exposition is offloaded, in great gulping bits of speechifying, to new cast member Tracy Letts — an actor better known as a brilliant playwright — as a scheming senator aiming to railroad Carrie and, perhaps, shut down the CIA entirely. Saul is now the acting head of the Agency, with Abraham’s slippery Dar Adal by his side. This change has the benefit of putting Patinkin in a more important role, but it also places Saul’s love of country ahead of his more fatherly devotion to Carrie. There’s a wonderful echo of John le Carré in the shared history of Saul and the season’s new adversary, an Iranian nicknamed “The Magician”; Rupert Friend’s Peter Quinn remains a compelling, complicated spook. And though the racial politics of her entrance is botched, I quite liked the introduction of a Persian American CIA officer named Fara, played by Nazanin Boniadi.7
But for every lurching half-step forward, there’s an agonizing backslide: With Carrie once again off her meds, Danes is forced to play a reveille of familiar, manic notes. It’s a showy solo at a time when harmony is desperately needed. And though Brody, mercifully, is nowhere to be seen in the first two hours — Lewis remains in the main cast, so his return is guaranteed — his family is still hanging around. I admire the intention in this more than I like the results: There’s no one better suited to reflect the personal toll of the ex-congressman’s apparent guilt than the wife and kids he left behind. But I honestly don’t think anyone outside the walls of the writers’ room left last year thinking the solution to what ailed Homeland was more Dana Brody. And so far, there’s a lot more Dana Brody.
Everything set out in the early going is uncomfortably yoked to all that came before: the tracking down of Abu Nazir’s remaining network, Carrie’s unshakable belief in Brody’s innocence. I usually have no interest at all in monitoring the plausibility of my made-up entertainment, but Homeland keeps forcing my hand, asking me to root for a CIA that allowed a terrorist to run for Congress and welcomed back with open arms the loony-tunes case officer who couldn’t keep her hands off her asset. The more Letts’s Senator Lockhart fulminates on the profound failings and illegal madness of the last two years, the more I want to root for him. There’s something noble, if masochistic, about the way Gansa has doubled down on the attempt to find some shades of recognizable truth in his outrageously ballsy fiction.8 But I’m not sure if even Picasso was able to paint himself back out of a corner.
Still, wouldn’t it be fascinating to watch him try? Homeland remains a uniquely compelling series, often as clever as it is dim, as goofy as it is good. (As Saul himself said to Carrie last December: “You’re the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”) Recent history aside, the very best TV is almost never about the destination. It’s about appreciating the perilous journey taken to get there. And that’s something worth remembering as Homeland‘s writers once again attempt to tiptoe across a crater they themselves created.
The first season of the American television drama series Homeland premiered on October 2, 2011 on Showtime and concluded on December 18, 2011, consisting of 12 episodes. The series is loosely based on the Israeli television series Hatufim (English: Prisoners of War) created by Gideon Raff and is developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. The first season follows Carrie Mathison, a CIA operations officer who has come to believe that Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine Sergeant, who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was turned by the enemy and now poses a significant risk to national security.
Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer battling her own demons becomes convinced that the intelligence that led to the rescue of Nicholas Brody, a United States Marine Sergeant who had been missing and presumed dead for eight years, was a setup and may be connected to an Al Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil.
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison (12 episodes)
Damian Lewis as Nick Brody (12 episodes)
Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody (12 episodes)
David Harewood as David Estes (12 episodes)
Diego Klattenhoff as Mike Faber (8 episodes)
Jackson Pace as Chris Brody (10 episodes)
Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody (10 episodes)
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson (12 episodes)
Jamey Sheridan as William Walden (5 episodes)
The New York Times
Chasing Suspicions Of an Enemy Within
‘Homeland,’ Starring Claire Danes, on Showtime - Review
Claire Danes in "Homeland," beginning on Sunday on Showtime.
KENT SMITH / SHOWTIME.
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Nobody likes a naysayer. Until, of course, it becomes clear that yes was the wrong answer.
In his book “The Big Short,” Michael Lewis focused on the Wall Street misfits who bet against the subprime mortgage bubble. The White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke was an alarmist know-it-all in the Bush White House until Sept. 11 proved he had a point. Even “60 Minutes” spiked a 1995 interview with the obsessed tobacco industry whistle-blower, Jeffrey S. Wigand.
Cassandras are easy to dismiss because being around them is so hard. And there is nothing pleasant about Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a C.I.A. officer on “Homeland,” a Showtime series that begins on Sunday. Carrie has suspicions about Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a Marine who is rescued in Afghanistan after spending eight years in captivity. The show’s ads put it this way: “The nation sees a hero. She sees a threat.”
It’s possible that he is not who he says he is, but Carrie is not the most reliable judge. “Homeland” is well made and gripping, and a lot of its allure lies in those uncertainties.
Comparisons to Jack Bauer are inevitable and even in some ways apt, given that some of the executive producers of “Homeland” also worked on the Fox hit series “24.” But this show, which has only 12 episodes its first season, is inspired by an Israeli series, “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War”), and is more of a psychological thriller than an action-adventure yarn.
This series is not particularly high-tech, and it doesn’t have a real-time ticking clock conceit, spectacular special effects or preposterous red herrings. “Homeland” is “24” for grown-ups.
Mr. Lewis, who played a steadfast American major in “Band of Brothers” and a priggish husband in “The Forsyte Saga,” brings a little of each of those traits to his portrait of Brody.
While he was a prisoner of war, Brody’s friends and family believed he was dead. His beautiful wife, Jessica (Morena Baccarin), has moved on, and his children barely remember him. Brody was horribly tortured in captivity, but he keeps his experience and feelings to himself. He seems remarkably healthy, given his ordeal, but there are fissures just beneath the surface that suggest a deeper rupture. His attempts to reconnect with Jessica are awkward and painful to watch, and someone is peering into their bedroom: Carrie.
Those are the times when even the troubled and enigmatic former P.O.W. seems more trustworthy than the C.I.A. officer who suspects him. Carrie is so sure that she is right that she deceives her one remaining friend at Langley, her boss and mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), in order to mount a ragtag rogue surveillance operation.
An American Marine turned Qaeda agent may not be the most imminent threat, but betrayal is a favorite theme in espionage dramas. John Le Carré’s best villains were based on Kim Philby and the other real-life moles who charmed their way to the top of British intelligence. Especially in the wake of Sept. 11, television has been loath to stereotype Muslim characters as extremists: “Sleeper Cell,” a Showtime series, posited American and European converts to Islamic extremism. A recent study by the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California found that on dramas that focus on terrorism, like “NCIS,” 67 percent of the terror suspects are white; only 14 percent are identified as Middle Eastern or Muslim.
That kind of casting is only partly prompted by political correctness. An all-American hero who may have a secret agenda is more compelling than a foreign agent; the enemy within is always more sinister than the one lurking across the ocean.
Carrie has no trouble imagining the worst of her fellow citizens. Ms. Danes, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of an autistic animal scientist in the HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” is well suited to play an intelligent, high-strung woman who can be almost appealing one moment and despicable the next. Her character is not entirely new to thrillers: Annette Bening notably played a flinty and deceitful C.I.A. operative in the 1998 movie “The Siege.”
Carrie is even more erratic; she suffers from a psychiatric condition that she has kept hidden from her bosses. She’s a loner who picks up strangers for sex and keeps her family at bay. In that sense she is a lot more like Helen Mirren’s character in the British series “Prime Suspect” than Maria Bello is in the NBC remake.
Ms. Bello softens the detective with warmth and sex appeal; Ms. Danes is better at preserving her character’s selfish and self-destructive side.
That’s not so easily done. Outcasts are shunned everywhere, except in fiction. Television in particular loves a flawed protagonist, be it the manipulative lawyer Glenn Close plays on “Damages,” the teacher turned drug dealer portrayed by Bryan Cranston on “Breaking Bad” or Michael C. Hall, who plays a serial killer with scruples on “Dexter.” Ms. Danes comes a lot closer to fulfilling the famously wrong prediction Jane Austen made about “Emma,” saying, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”
Carrie is hard to like, but “Homeland” is almost impossible to resist.
Showtime, Sunday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Produced by Fox 21. Written by Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Gideon Raff; Mr. Gansa, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Raff, Michael Cuesta, Avi Nir and Ran Telem, executive producers.
September 21, 2015
The Showtime political thriller Homeland is a high-quality and provocative series that exemplifies what serial television can do. Season 1 follows the return Stg. Nickolas Brody, a U.S. Marine who was held prisoner by al-Qaeda for 8 years in Iraq, as he struggles to reacclimate to life back home with his family; meanwhile the CIA secretly investigates Brody as a possible double agent after receiving a tip that an American POW had been turned by al-Qaeda. The material is especially rich, and quickly evolves into a complex and compelling story. The casting is also especially good; as Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are incredible, and really give dynamic performances. And the supporting cast members, such as Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin, are equally as strong. Full of intrigue and suspense, Homeland delivers an extraordinary first season.
Claire Danes' performance in this series has been extraordinary, and she deserves all the awards she has received. To see her so broken at the start of the episode, like a child, asking Saul to "tell me a story", was devastating – she'd been betrayed by Brody, but also by her own mind. With a final neat parallel to Brody's story, she is also in pursuit of a justice, and in many ways, they are fighting against the same enemy. Which brings us to the mole …
Summer TV: the definitive guide to 2017
There was no big reveal, as I was expecting there to be. The implication appears to be that Estes and the VP had been hindering Carrie's investigations – does that mean that Estes slipped Afsal Hamid the razorblade in the interrogation room? Did he leak the information about the operation to capture Walker? If so, this cover-up is at any human cost, much like the initial drone strike. On reflection, the murkiness of the truth seems fitting considering the tone of the show.
But there is more to come after the aborted suicide mission. Brody meets with Walker – or rather Nick meets with Tom, in one of the rare uses of their first names. Abu Nazir accepts that the vest malfunctioned, or that the benefits of having Brody in office outweigh the idea of assassinating half of the US government. "Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?" he says, somewhat hokily, and not entirely convincingly. That said, when Brody handed Walker the phone and then shot him in the head, the violence of it shocked me. Perhaps it shouldn't have. Brody has already dealt with the guilt of murdering him once. What was left unclear was Brody's motive – was it commitment to the cause, or self-preservation, or both? Is he being co-opted by the system he despises or will he work from the inside for Abu Nazir's change?
Meanwhile Carrie has lost absolutely everything. She submits to electro-convulsive shock therapy, knowing that it may affect her memory, almost willing it to. She understood the case. Saul's final act of care was to let her know that she was right. But it wasn't enough. I respected the writers for only allowing her to be a partial hero, for resisting the temptation to have her run in to the bunker and save the day with triumphant fanfare. This was a bleak, hopeless end to the series, and what a series it's been.
The creation of a terrorist and the agent determined to stop him
ByWayne Kleinon December 2, 2012
Emmy awards don't necessarily guarantee that a show is great--there have been plenty of mediocre shows that have won awards over the years but "Homeland" continues to demonstrate the growth in dramatic adult programming and its growth.
A warning for those who want to watch the show--there is nudity, sex, violence and plenty of four letter words. If you're not prepared for that, you won't enjoy the show.
Based on an Israeli TV series, "Homeland" takes us into the life of a CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes)who believes that a recently resurfaced American hostage from Afganistan Sgt.Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis)may have been turned into a terrorist. Mathison who suffers from bipolar disorder and has kept it secret from her former boss Saul (Mandy Patinkin), believes that information she has from an informant points to Brody as the terrorist. She goes on a crusade to get surveillance on Brody with unintended consequences.
END OF SPOILERS:
Danes, Lewis and the rest of the cast give stellar performances in this intense drama. We get plenty of answers about what happened to Brody and what happened to him overseas.
The DVD for the series looks quite nice with a sharp looking transfer. Presented in its original broadcast ratio of 1.78:1, the show has the look of a big screen production.
We get English subtitles as well as Spanish and French.
Special features aren't as extensive as I would have liked or expected but they are quite good. We get deleted scenes, an excellent commentary on the first episode. We also get a prologue for the second season (which started in September). Also included is an exceptional making-of documentary entitled "Homeland Season One: Under Surveillance which features comments from the various production crew, writers and actors for the show.
An exceptional series "Homeland" is well worth watching but it isn't appropriate for any youngsters and those easily offended by nudity, sex and bad language would be best advised to steer clear.
One person found this helpful
The only bad aspect of “Homeland” is that it accurately describes the ...
Bylorenz m. wordenon March 24, 2017
The only bad aspect of “Homeland” is that it accurately describes the evilness that motivates and accompanies this country’s ill-fated foreign “policy.” Claire Danes is, as always, superb and is supported by an outstanding cast. I am on my second viewing of the “Homeland” series to date and still find it as captivating as before.
One person found this helpful
Deserving of every Emmy it received
ByInspiring Insomniaon December 20, 2012
Homeland's first season won Emmy's for best drama, and best actress and actor, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. With the completion of season 2 last week, it's hard to see how the show won't pick up a slew of Emmy's next year.
Homeland can be compared to 24, another show I loved, but I believe Homeland surpasses 24, especially in the quality of its actors. Claire Danes plays a mentally unstable CIA agent, Carrie Matheson, and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody is a newly rescued POW who may or may not have been turned by his Muslim captors during his years in captivity. The cat and mouse game played by Carrie and Brody is tense and exciting, as we never know who holds the upper hand. The episodes build to an incredible finale that had my hear pounding.
The blu-ray looks great, but the special features are not exactly special. However, at $20, this is a steal. I picked up a copy for myself, as well as three more for Christmas gifts family members who have so far resisted my pleas to watch the show. I know they won't be disappointed.
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The Game of Thrones Season 7
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Season 7 of Game of Thrones was announced by HBO on April 21, 2016.
In contrast to previous seasons, the seventh season has been shortened to seven episodes, due to the smaller amount of story content remaining, as well as the increased production values and time required to film episodes involving larger set pieces than in previous seasons. Filming began in Belfast on August 31, 2016 and ended in February 2017.
The season premiered on July 16, 2017.
Like the sixth season, Season 7 is based on an outline of the two final, presently-unpublished novels in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
After a summer lasting almost ten years, the words of House Stark have finally become reality once again: winter is here.
In King's Landing, Cersei Lannister has finally seized the power that she has craved for many years. In one swift move, she has eliminated nearly all of her enemies, rivals, and obstructions; Queen Margaery Tyrell, Lord Mace Tyrell, Ser Loras Tyrell, Cersei's uncle Ser Kevan Lannister, Grand Maester Pycelle, the High Sparrow, and most of - if not all - members of the Faith Militant were killed when the Great Sept of Baelor was destroyed using large amounts of wildfire, an event orchestrated by Cersei. She has crowned herself the undisputed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, with Qyburn as her Hand and the undead knight Ser Gregor Clegane at her side. After nearly four decades of serving as the power behind the throne, House Lannister has finally become the new royal house. However, Cersei is still haunted by the prophecy she was told during her childhood, which claimed that the deaths of her three (future) children would predate her own; Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen are all dead, Tommen having taken his own life shortly after the Sept's destruction. This has made Cersei all the more determined to crush her enemies once and for all, but the number of her enemies has just increased exponentially. Though she now sits on the Iron Throne, she has effectively undone all of Tywin Lannister's efforts to ensure that his family stay in power as her actions have undoubtedly earned her the hatred of all of Westeros. Most of the realm is either in open rebellion against the Iron Throne or has fallen out of her allies' control, leaving Cersei effectively as the Queen of King's Landing and the lands owned by the Lannisters. It is the beginning of the end.
In the Riverlands, the last bastion of Robb Stark's independent Northern-Riverland kingdom, Riverrun, has fallen to House Lannister and House Frey in a siege led by Ser Jaime Lannister. Lord Edmure Tully, who had been held hostage by the Freys ever since the Red Wedding, ordered the Tully garrison to stand down for the sake of his wife and child, whom Jaime had violently threatened if Edmure refused to cooperate. Edmure's uncle, Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, is dead, having chosen to fight to the death rather than surrender. Brienne of Tarth and her squire, Podrick Payne, had traveled to Riverrun in an attempt to recruit the Blackfish to assist Sansa Stark in reclaiming Winterfell from House Bolton. The attempt failed, and they were only barely able to escape when the castle fell.
Although House Frey has reclaimed Riverrun, Lord Walder Frey is also dead. Arya Stark, despite nearly being killed by the Waif and ultimately overcoming the assassin in single combat, has completed her training as a Faceless Man in the Free City of Braavos. With her original mission clearly back in focus, she has abandoned the Order and returned to Westeros to cross more names off of her list of vengeance, starting with Walder Frey, the last surviving orchestrator of the Red Wedding that claimed the lives of her mother, brother, and pregnant sister-in-law, at the same time butchering Walder's two most prominent sons, Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers who also helped carry out the massacre, and leaving the rule of the Riverlands in unknown hands. Also, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane has survived his brutal fight with Brienne of Tarth and attempted to build a new, humble life, but has been dragged back into conflict by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who intend to head north to fight in the war that is coming.
On the Iron Islands, King Balon Greyjoy is dead, having been murdered by his psychopathic younger brother, Euron Greyjoy. Balon's son, Theon, returned to the Iron Islands after helping Sansa Stark escape from Ramsay Bolton and endorsed his elder sister, Yara, as their father's successor at the subsequent Kingsmoot. However, Euron has claimed and won the Salt Throne by promising an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen, which he will use to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. In desperation, and in fear for their lives, Theon and Yara have stolen a hundred ships from the Iron Fleet. With sailors and soldiers loyal to them, they have traveled to Meereen and sought out Daenerys's help first. They have managed to secure an alliance between House Targaryen and House Greyjoy to help Daenerys retake the Iron Throne and overthrow Euron in return for the Iron Islands' independence. Euron, however, has ordered the construction of an even bigger fleet to begin his own invasions, seek out new alliances and destroy all who may stand in his way of taking the Seven Kingdoms for himself.
Also aiding Daenerys are the Dornish and the Tyrells, the rulers of the Reach. In Dorne, Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes have staged a coup; they have murdered Prince Doran Martell and his heir, Trystane, and taken control of Dorne in retaliation for Doran's refusal to wage war against House Lannister after the brutal death of his younger brother Prince Oberyn at the hands of Ser Gregor, who also murdered their sister Princess Elia and her two young children, Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon. With Cersei declaring war against the Sands for their murder of her daughter Myrcella, Ellaria has turned to Daenerys and her loyalists to help bring down the Lannisters. Unknown to Ellaria, however, is that Tyrion Lannister, Myrcella's uncle, is now serving as Daenerys's Hand of the Queen, and will likely demand justice against the Sands for murdering his beloved niece in cold blood. Lady Olenna Tyrell, herself now a target of Cersei as she is now the only surviving Tyrell, has met with Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, a meeting facilitated by Varys. Although skeptical of their motives (and wary that they essentially murdered their own family to seize power), grief-stricken and incensed by the deaths of her son, grandson, and granddaughter, Olenna pledges House Tyrell's forces to Daenerys in the hope of revenge for her slain family, no longer caring about her own survival.
In the North, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, aided by Ser Davos Seaworth, Tormund Giantsbane, and Lady Lyanna Mormont, have finally defeated Ramsay Bolton and reclaimed Winterfell following a spectacular battle. Their victory was also due in large part to the support from the knights of the Vale, the elite soldiers of House Arryn, the lords of the Vale, courtesy of Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Even though House Bolton is now extinct following Ramsay's brutal execution, the future of House Stark is left in question: with Robb and Rickon dead, and Bran believed dead as well, the Northern and Vale lords have turned to Jon and named him the new King in the North, while Sansa has rejected Littlefinger's proposal to help him take the Iron Throne and become his queen. Given that Littlefinger was instrumental in the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings (by conspiring with Lysa Arryn to murder Jon Arryn, pit the Starks and Lannisters against each other, and throw Westeros into complete chaos), and that one of his initial goals was to become the new Warden of the North, Jon's ascension to King in the North is now a major obstacle in his master plan, setting the stage for a looming conflict between Jon and Littlefinger, the latter already having sewn seeds of distrust in Sansa towards Jon. The Red Priestess Melisandre, meanwhile, has been dismissed from Jon's service following the discovery of her role in Shireen Baratheon's death, as well as for the burning of countless innocent people as sacrifices to the Lord of Light during her service to Stannis Baratheon, stripping Jon of easily one of his most valuable advisers, and is now heading south to locations unknown.
In the Reach, after navigating various obstacles, Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and her son have finally reached the Citadel in Oldtown, where Sam intends to train as a maester to replace the deceased Maester Aemon of the Night's Watch, hoping to gain some insight into the White Walkers and how to defeat them. However, with Sam's theft of his family's ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane, he has undoubtedly incurred the immense wrath of his father, Randyll Tarly, who will now likely seek retribution, while the absence House Tyrell's armies will have also left the Reach open to coming outside attacks, so Samwell must use the sword in his studies and uncover the secrets behind Valyrian steel for the coming battle against the dead, before all is lost.
Across the Narrow Sea, having at last defeated the slave masters and the Sons of the Harpy, Queen Daenerys Targaryen has finally set sail for Westeros. She has acquired an army consisting of the Unsullied, the Dothraki, and troops from House Greyjoy, House Tyrell, and Dorne. Tyrion Lannister serves at her side as Hand of the Queen, though at the cost of two of her advisors: Ser Jorah Mormont, whom Daenerys has sent to find a cure for his spreading greyscale infection, and Daario Naharis, her lover whom Daenerys has ordered to stay behind with the Second Sons (on Tyrion's advice) so that she may pursue a potential marriage alliance to aid her in her campaign. Unknown to Daenerys, however, there is already somebody across the Narrow Sea who may very well have a stronger claim to the Targaryen monarchy than she does, and who may prove to become her most valuable ally or her greatest enemy yet.
Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark has been training in his power of greensight under the tutelage of the three-eyed raven and has learned some devastating secrets, specifically the origin of the White Walkers and the true parentage of his believed half-brother, Jon Snow: Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, which would make him the nephew and a rival claimant to Daenerys Targaryen for the Iron Throne. Following an attack which claims the lives of the three-eyed raven, Hodor, and seemingly the last of the Children of the Forest, Bran and Meera Reed have been rescued by Bran's undead uncle, Benjen Stark, and taken back to the Wall. There, Bran must prepare for the arrival of the Night King, who at all costs must be defeated before Westeros can dream of another.
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