It hits home
After taking out a string of Emmys, hopes are high for the second series of psychological thriller Homeland, writes Anooska Tucker- Evans
THE expectations for season two of Homeland are high – overwhelmingly high.
The first series of the counter- terrorism drama had audiences and critics around the world on the edge of their seats and singing the show’s praises.
It changed the way many looked at the so- called ‘‘ war on terror’’, was touted as US President Barack Obama’s favourite program, and recently won a string of Emmys for best drama, writing, and lead actors Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.
It’s a lot to live up to for creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, also behind hit series 24, and their team of experienced writers.
‘‘ The six of us sit in a shabby, windowless room and break story together,’’ Gansa says.
‘‘ We share the intermittent glory and those grinding hours of asking ourselves, ‘ What should happen next?’.’’
Last season followed Marine Sgt Nicholas Brody (Lewis), a prisoner- of- war- turnedterrorist, on a secret mission from his former captor, Pakistani terrorist Abu Nazir, to avenge the death of his son, the victim of a drone attack ordered by US Vice President Walden.
Fighting to prove Brody was up to no good was bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison ( Danes), whose determination to capture her target led to her sacking and a mental breakdown.
This season kicks off six months after the gripping finale in which Brody tried to blow up himself, the vice president, and a room full of politicians, only to be talked out of it by his teenage daughter.
The POW is now a newly elected US congressman and prospective vice- presidential candidate, but also a reluctant soldier for Nazir.
Carrie, recovering from her breakdown, spends her time teaching English and gardening, before being recruited by the CIA for a one- off mission to Beirut, Lebanon.
‘‘ Brody is brought back into two very distinct realities,’’ Lewis says of his character.
‘‘ Through the first season he’s in a sort of state of limbo where he’s waiting for some sort of instruction [ from Nazir].
‘‘ He’s actually not sure what it’s going to be and when that [ suicide bomb] vest is handed to him, you know, I think that’s a surprise to him as it is to anyone else.
‘‘ At the time, he has very real issues of just returning to his family, integrating with his family, learning how to be intimate with his wife again. And I think that grounds the show very importantly. And I think it’s actually what people have responded to.’’
What has also struck a chord with audiences has been the intense relationship between Brody and Carrie.
The pair had a brief affair in the first season and, this time around, the story follows their doomed romance.
‘‘ Carrie and Brody will always be drawn to one another because there’s a sort of, frankly, unhealthy co- dependency there between two people who suffer from conditions,’’ Lewis says. ‘‘ She has a volatile temperament that manifests, and she becomes clearer on what that is as the season goes on. He suffers from post- traumatic stress disorder and whatever hidden agenda he may have.’’
Danes says her character has ‘‘ an intrepid spirit’’ and that she wanted to hang out with her. ‘‘ She is preternaturally gifted. Her mind works faster than most people’s.’’
The show has a very well- known fan in the US President, which is not something Danes says fazes her. ‘‘ No pressure,’’ the actor says.
‘‘ It’s way cool that he is a fan. It speaks to the relevancy of the show and it’s hugely validating.’’
She says the part of Carrie, who was originally called Claire, was written with her in mind. It’s one of the reasons she is so passionate about the role, which she was only too happy to voice when she took home the Emmy award for best actress.
While Lewis is thrilled he said yes to the role, which also earnt him an Emmy, he initially had reservations.
‘‘ I did make very clear early on that . . . if there were going to be easy parallels drawn between Islam and violence, I wouldn’t do it,’’ he says. ‘‘ I wouldn’t be interested in
Carrie and Brody will always be drawn to one another because there’s a sort of, frankly, unhealthy co- dependency there
– Damian Lewis
telling that story because it’s not a fair reflection of what is actually going on for a majority of people, so that would be irresponsible.
‘‘ And they worked really hard and kept to their word . . . for the Islamic faith to be a nurturing, sustaining force for good for Brody.’’
However, although now happy with his choice, he knows his time on the show is short- lived. Originally the character of Brody was created for just one season, but the connection between he and Carrie was too much to deny and the creators extended the role into the second season.
But Gansa reveals Lewis is now on borrowed time. ‘‘ The possibility of Brody’s demise really does exist,’’ Gansa says.
‘‘ Whether it happens this season or next, or the season after, it will happen when the BrodyCarrie story stops feeling compelling.
‘‘ And, by the way, that day will be a very mournful one around here, because the show will fundamentally change at that point.’’
TDT, tonight, 8.30
Editor Stuart Gillies Chief Sub Editor Kirsty Eade Contributors Leigh Paatsch, Craig Miller, Rebecca Fitzgibbon, Jarrad Bevan, Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson TV Writers Debbie Schipp, Tim Martain, Darren Devlyn, Anooska Tucker- Evans, James Wigney Production NEWSCentral Queensland Designer Kristen Burrows, Khan Tihema
Advertising Inquiries Greg Crowden [ p] 03 6230 0773 [ f] 03 6230 0766 [ e] crowdeng@ dbl. newsltd. com. au Cover Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in Homeland Published by News Magazines. Proprietor and publisher Davies Brothers Pty Ltd ( ACN 009 475 754) of 91- 93 Macquarie St, Hobart, 7000 for insertion in the Sunday Tasmanian.
❏ Programs subject to late changes by the TV stations.
BRINGING IT HOME: Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in Homeland.