Coming off its first season, Showtime’s new series, Homeland, captured multiple awards at the recent Golden Globes (best drama and best actress in Claire Danes), beating out reputable shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. During its airtime on Showtime, Homeland ran right after Dexter, which was a more than appropriate time slot considering both shows’ suspense and intensity.
Heavily based off the Israeli series, Hatufim, which follows the lives of Israel prisoners of war after they are rescued, Homeland revolves around an American POW named Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) who is recovered by U.S. forces after spending eight years in an Iraq terrorist prison. Although he is praised as an American hero upon his arrival back to the states, CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has a suspicion that Brody had actually turned Al-Qaeda and is operating as a sleeper cell in the U.S.
Without any hard evidence, Mathison has to play outside the lines in order to try and prove that Brody is indeed a turned POW who is quietly working with Al-Qaeda to plot a terrorist attack against the United States. However, Brody’s true intentions are well masked and for a large portion of the show it remains a mystery of whether or not he is a turned POW.
Much of the show revolves around Brody’s struggle to reacquaint with his family. He slowly learns of many new developments, including that his best friend had been sleeping with his wife (Morena Baccarin) while he was in captivity. In addition, Brody’s past creepily haunts him as there are many flashbacks to his experiences as a prisoner in Iraq. Soon, however, each fragment of his past formulates together and provides more clarity to his current situation in the U.S.
Mathison also has her own struggles that she has to deal with. Although the CIA doesn’t even know it, she is psychotic and has to take medicine daily to control it. She often seeks advice from CIA agent Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), her close friend and mentor. There is a significant parallelism between Mathison and Brody as each have broken pasts and inner conflicts.
Often compared to the dramatic structure of FOX’s 24, Homeland runs at a more feasible pace while keeping viewers engaged and constantly thinking. But while 24 was centered around high-intensity action, Homeland is more quiet in its nature, yet remains a gripping psychological thriller with crafty writing and top of the line acting performances from Danes and Lewis.
Homeland has already been renewed for a second season of 12 episodes, and production is scheduled to start again this spring.
In other words, those who have not checked out its first season have plenty of time to do so.
Matt Vaghi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org