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Homeland (TV series)

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Homeland (TV series)

Based on Prisoners of War 
by Gideon Raff
Developed by
Composer(s) Sean Callery
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 46 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Claire Danes
  • Joe Hobeck
  • Terry Kelley
  • Jordan Goldman
  • David Latham
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 46–65 minutes
Production company(s)
Original channel Showtime
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run October 2, 2011 (2011-10-02) – present
External links

Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim (English title: Prisoners of War), which was created by Gideon Raff.[1][2]

The series stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer with bipolar disorder, and, from seasons 1 through 3, Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody, a United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper. Mathison had come to believe that Brody, who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was "turned" by the enemy and posed a threat to the United States.

The series is broadcast in the U.S. on the cable channel Showtime, and is produced by Fox 21. It premiered on October 2, 2011.[3] The first episode was made available online, more than two weeks before television broadcast, with viewers having to complete game tasks to gain access.[4][5] On October 22, 2013, Showtime renewed Homeland for a fourth season,[6] which premiered on October 5, 2014.[7] On November 10, 2014, Showtime renewed the series for a 12-episode fifth season to premiere in 2015.[8]

The series has received critical acclaim, and has won several awards, including the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and the 2011 and 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, as well as the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, respectively.


Season 1 (2011)

The first season follows Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency operations officer who, after conducting an unauthorized operation in Iraq, is put on probation and reassigned to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Virginia. In Iraq, Carrie was warned by an asset that an American prisoner of war had been turned by al-Qaeda.

Carrie's job grows complicated when her boss, Director of the Counterterrorism Center David Estes, calls Carrie and her colleagues in for an emergency briefing. Carrie learns that Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine Sergeant who had been reported as missing in action since 2003, has been rescued during a Delta Force raid on a compound belonging to terrorist Abu Nazir. Carrie comes to believe that Brody is the American prisoner of war whom her asset in Iraq was talking about.[9] However, the federal government and her superiors at the CIA consider Brody a war hero.

Realizing it would be nearly impossible to convince her boss to place Brody under surveillance, Carrie approaches the only other person she can trust, her mentor, Saul Berenson. The two must now work together to investigate Brody and prevent another terrorist attack on American soil. Eventually, Brody attempts to kill the Vice President as a suicide bomber but falters at the last moment after an intervention by his daughter Dana, while Carrie becomes more doubtful and paranoid by her belief that Brody is a terrorist.

Season 2 (2012)

The second season follows Carrie and the CIA working with Brody to capture Abu Nazir. Discovering a video of Brody's confession during a CIA operation in Lebanon, Carrie and Saul, along with analyst Peter Quinn, work to turn Brody into a double agent. Brody gives in to the CIA interrogation and is now an asset for the CIA, sending information to both sides. The downside of being a double agent as well as a rising Congressman with the Vice President's support brings Brody closer to Carrie while worsening his relationship with his family. Mike tries to find the truth behind Tom Walker's death. Egged on by Abu Nazir, who is now in the U.S., Brody silently kills the Vice President while the CIA tracks down Nazir's contacts and kills Nazir himself using Brody's information. Seemingly free of being Nazir's men, Brody celebrates with Carrie at the CIA headquarters and both survive an explosion that kills Director Estes and many others. Having been framed for the bombing due to his earlier video confession, Brody flees the U.S. with Carrie's help. Carrie and Saul, who was burying Nazir's body at sea, are left to pick up the pieces.

Season 3 (2013)

The beginning of season 3 presents the aftermath of a terrorist attack committed by Abu Nazir's people. Carrie is blamed for the CIA's failings as Senator Lockhart grills Saul, now Acting Director of the CIA, in front of the Senate Committee. However, it turned out to be part of a bigger plot, as Saul had Carrie seemingly disavowed by the CIA to lure a senior Iranian intelligence officer Majid Javadi (who financed the Langley bombing) into becoming a CIA asset. He later relayed the information to Carrie that the main perpetrator of the bombing was still in the U.S., and the CIA acted to bring the real bomber and the officer's lawyers in for questioning. As the Brody family struggles to live within their means amidst Brody's terrorist status, Brody himself is in hiding in Caracas, Venezuela, effectively being held prisoner by his captors until Saul's arrival. Following a gunshot wound to the torso, Brody becomes addicted to the heroin given to him as a painkiller. Saul eventually rescues him, detoxifies him, and recruits him for a mission: to go to Iran and use his notoriety as the "Langley Bomber" to get close to the current head of the Revolutionary Guard, Danesh Akbari, to assassinate him. During the initial assassination attempt, Brody publicly declares that he is seeking asylum in Iran, but is unable to get close enough to Akbari to assassinate him. Assuming that Brody will never have another opportunity to complete his mission, senior CIA officers order his assassination. However, with help from Carrie, Brody escapes and is able to arrange a meeting with Akbari, claiming to possess sensitive information about Javadi. During the meeting, Brody strikes Akbari and suffocates him to death. Carrie takes him to a safehouse, but Lockhart, with a direct order from the President, gives up their location to the Revolutionary Guard in order to increase Javadi's chances of being promoted. Brody is then publicly hanged as Carrie watches in the crowd. Four months later, Lockhart (now CIA Director) offers Carrie (now eight months pregnant) the job of station chief of CIA's Turkey operations (after a maternity leave). Carrie accepts the position but her request to place a star on the memorial wall to commemorate Brody is refused. In the final scene, Carrie is seen discreetly drawing a star on the memorial wall herself.

Season 4 (2014)

The fourth season takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with Carrie Mathison assigned to a dangerous CIA station in the Greater Middle East. The season premiered on October 5, 2014.[7]

Cast and characters

Main cast

  • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a CIA case officer assigned to the Counterterrorism Center. She suffers from bipolar disorder and believes Brody to be a terrorist when he returns to the U.S.
  • Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody (starring seasons 1–3, guest season 4), a Congressman and retired U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant (formerly Staff Sergeant) who is rescued by Delta Force after being held by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war for eight years.
  • Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson, Carrie's mentor and the CIA's Middle-East Division Chief.
  • Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody (seasons 1–3), Brody's wife who struggles to adjust with his return to her life. Assuming her husband is dead, she begins a relationship with Mike.
  • David Harewood as David Estes (seasons 1–2), the director of the CIA's Counter-terrorism Center and Carrie's boss. The two have a tumultuous relationship due to her aggressive way of working and the suggestion of a past sexual relationship between them.
  • Diego Klattenhoff as Mike Faber (starring seasons 1–2, guest star season 3), a U.S. Marine Major (formerly Captain). Brody's best friend who, assuming Brody is dead, begins a relationship with Jessica.
  • Jamey Sheridan as William Walden (recurring season 1, starring season 2), Vice President of the United States and a former director of the CIA.
  • David Marciano as Virgil (recurring seasons 1 and 3, starring season 2), a freelance surveillance expert and former CIA employee whom Carrie enlists for the surveillance of Brody.
  • Navid Negahban as Abu Nazir (recurring season 1, starring season 2, guest star season 3), a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda.
  • Jackson Pace as Chris Brody (seasons 1–3), Brody's son.
  • Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn (recurring season 2, starring seasons 3–4), a CIA operative and assassin.
  • Sarita Choudhury as Mira Berenson (recurring seasons 1, 2 and 4, starring season 3), Saul's wife.
  • F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal (recurring seasons 2 and 4, starring season 3), a black ops specialist.
  • Tracy Letts as Senator Andrew Lockhart (seasons 3–4), who later assumes the role of Director of the CIA.
  • Nazanin Boniadi as Fara Sherazi (recurring season 3, starring season 4), a Muslim CIA analyst.
  • Laila Robins as Martha Boyd (season 4), the United States ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Recurring cast

  • Hrach Titizian as Danny Galvez (seasons 1–2), a CIA officer of Guatemalan and Lebanese origin.
  • Chris Chalk as Tom Walker (seasons 1, 3), a U.S. Marine captured along with Brody.
  • Amy Hargreaves as Maggie Mathison (seasons 1–4), Carrie's sister and a psychiatrist.
  • Maury Sterling as Max (seasons 1–4), Virgil's brother, aiding in the surveillance of Brody.
  • James Rebhorn as Frank Mathison (seasons 1–3), Carrie's father.
  • Timothee Chalamet as Finn Walden (season 2), Vice President Walden's son and Dana's love interest.
  • Zuleikha Robinson as Roya Hammad (season 2), Brody's handler for Abu Nazir.
  • Sam Underwood as Leo Carras (season 3), Dana's troubled boyfriend.
  • Shaun Toub as Majid Javadi (season 3), Iran's Deputy Intelligence Chief and an old rival of Saul.
  • Suraj Sharma as Aayan Ibrahim (season 4), a Pakistani medical student.
  • Nimrat Kaur as Tasneem Kureishi (season 4), a Pakistani ISI agent, seemingly allied with Haqqani.
  • Numan Acar as Haissam Haqqani (season 4), a high-priority target and Taliban leader.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 12 October 2, 2011 (2011-10-02) December 18, 2011 (2011-12-18)
2 12 September 30, 2012 (2012-09-30) December 16, 2012 (2012-12-16)
3 12 September 29, 2013 (2013-09-29) December 15, 2013 (2013-12-15)
4 12[10] October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05) December 21, 2014 (2014-12-21)[11]

Development history

Promotional poster of season 1 of the series.

Based on Gideon Raff's Israeli series Hatufim, Homeland was developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa in early 2010. The two had previously worked together on the similarly themed series 24.[1] On September 19, 2010, Showtime placed a pilot order for Homeland as the first project David Nevins had undertaken since leaving Imagine Entertainment to become president of Showtime.[1] Gordon, Gansa and Raff wrote the pilot, Michael Cuesta directed the pilot, with Gordon, Gansa, Raff, Avi Nir, and Ran Telem serving as executive producers.[1][12][13]

On April 7, 2011, Showtime green-lit the series with an order of 12 episodes.[14][15][16] It was announced that Chip Johannessen would join the series as a co-executive producer, while Michael Cuesta, who had served as the director on the pilot, would join the series as an executive producer.[17][18]

On July 21, 2011, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Showtime announced that the series would premiere on October 2, 2011.[3] Along with the announcement of the premiere date for the series,[3] the network also announced that the names of the characters portrayed by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis had been renamed Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody, from Carrie Anderson and Scott Brody, respectively.[19][20] The series is produced by Fox 21.[15]


Casting announcements began in November 2010, with Jackson Pace were the last actors to join the main cast, with Klattenhoff playing Mike Faber, "Brody's close friend and fellow Marine, Mike Faber was convinced that Brody was dead, which is how he justified falling in love with Brody's wife Jessica", Saylor playing Dana Brody, "The Brodys' oldest child", and Pace playing Chris Brody, "Nick and Jessica's eager-to-please, self-conscious thirteen year-old son."[26][27][28]

It was later announced that Jamey Sheridan, Navid Negahban, Amir Arison, and Brianna Brown had joined the series as recurring guest stars. Sheridan was cast as the Vice President of the United States, Negahban was cast as Abu Nazir, with Arison playing Prince Farid Bin Abbud and Brown playing Lynne Reed.[29][30][31]


The series is filmed in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. The location was chosen because of film tax credits, and the atmosphere matches nearby Virginia and Washington, D.C., where the series takes place.[32] Production claims it is easier to get around the area's smaller city atmosphere rather than in large cities where filming typically occurs.[33] Another frequent setting is nearby Mooresville. Executive producer Michael Cuesta said Mooresville is "played for quite a few rural-type one-stoplight main-street type of towns."[33]

The Brody family house is in Mountainbrook, a Charlotte neighborhood near University Research Park. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the Ritz-Carlton, the old courthouse, Ed's Tavern,[34] and Zack's Hamburgers in Charlotte, as well as Rural Hill in Huntersville and Lake Norman, have also served as filming locations.[33]

Production for season two began in May 2012 with the series filming in Israel for two weeks, with the city of Haifa standing in for Beirut.[35] The rest of the season was filmed in Charlotte and Concord, North Carolina.[36]

Production for the third season began in late May 2013,[37] continuing production in Raleigh, North Carolina.[38] The series also filmed in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, which stood in for Caracas, Venezuela.[39] The series was also planning on returning to Israel for additional filming, but filming moved to Morocco, due to ongoing conflicts in Syria.[40]

Production for the fourth season is slated to take place from June through November 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.[41]

Other media

Since the conclusion of season 2, several pieces of in-universe material have been published.[42] Twentieth Century Fox partnered with to offer "Phantom Pain" – A Homeland Story, a 30 minute audio piece narrated by Damian Lewis, which details his movements between seasons 2 and 3 of the show.[43] provides a deeper look into the aftermath of season 2, with news reports and survivors' accounts.[44] Homeland: Carrie's Run is a novel that tells the story of Carrie Mathison in a series of events that take place before season 1.[45] Another prequel novel set in 2009, Homeland: Saul's Game, was released on October 7, 2014.[46] Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: Total Information Awareness is a scholarly work which examines U.S. counterterrorism history, technologies, and strategies from a thought-provoking approach that includes the make-believe of Hollywood such as 24 and Homeland TV series.[47]


Critical response

The first season received near universal acclaim. Metacritic gave it a rating of 91 out of 100 based on the opinions of 28 critics.[48] TV Guide named it the best TV show of 2011[49] and highly applauded the performances given by Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.[50] Metacritic named Homeland the second-best TV show of 2011, based on aggregating the year-end top-ten lists of a number of major TV critics.[51] The second season also received near universal acclaim, achieving a Metacritic rating of 96 out of 100 from 21 critics.[52] The third season received generally favorable reviews, with a rating of 77 out of 100 based on 23 critics.[53]

Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave the pilot episode an A−, saying "What makes Homeland rise above other post-9/11 dramas is Danes' stellar performance as Carrie—easily this season's strongest female character," and that "The latter half of the first episode is exhilarating. I'm hooked."[54] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave it a solid A grade, and said it was his favorite drama pilot of the season.[55] Entertainment Weekly '​s Ken Tucker gave it an A−, stating "It's the fall season's most intriguing, tense puzzler."[56] IGN TV gave it a positive review, saying that it was an "ace thriller" that also managed to have something to say about the "War on Terror".[57] The seventh episode, "The Weekend", received overwhelming critical acclaim and was described by both the creators of the show and Damian Lewis as a "watershed" episode.[58][59]

However, Greg Dixon of The New Zealand Herald criticized Homeland '​s thin plotting, Danes' "insane levels of overacting", and Lewis' "passivity".[60] Robert Rorke of New York Post wrote about the third season "Seldom in the history of cable TV has a series imploded as quickly as Showtime's Homeland." and "The show, in the middle of its third season, is now impossible to take seriously."[61]

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Homeland, and is also known to be a fan of the show.[62][63][64]


The original broadcast of the pilot episode on October 2, 2011, received 1.08 million viewers, becoming Showtime's highest-rated drama premiere in eight years. The episode received a total of 2.78 million viewers with additional broadcasts and on demand views.[65] The final episode of season one received 1.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched season finale of any first-year Showtime series.[66] Ratings increased in Season 2, peaking with 2.36 million viewers for the December 9, 2012 first-run broadcast.[67]

The series has also performed well in the UK, where it airs on Channel 4. The pilot episode drew 2.2 million viewers and the season one finale drew 2.8 million viewers.[68] Season two saw a drop in viewership, with the season two premiere drawing in 2.3 million viewers,[68] but the finale only 2.1 million.[69]

Season No. of episodes Time slot (ET) Season premiere Season finale Average viewers
(in millions)
Date Total viewers
(in millions)
Date Total viewers
(in millions)
1 12 Sunday 10:00 pm October 2, 2011 1.08[65] December 18, 2011 1.71[66] 1.25[70]
2 12 September 30, 2012 1.73[71] December 16, 2012 2.29[72] 1.92[73]
3 12 Sunday 9:00 pm September 29, 2013 1.88[74] December 15, 2013 2.38[75] 1.95[76]
4 12 October 5, 2014 1.61[77] December 21, 2014 N/A N/A

Awards and nominations

In its debut season, the series received several industry awards and nominations. The series was recognized with a Peabody Award in April 2012 describing the series as "a game of cat and mouse, a psychological thriller and a Rorschach test of post-9/11 doubts, fears and suspicions rolled into one."[78] At the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series received nine nominations winning six awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Claire Danes for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Damian Lewis for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the pilot episode. The series also won awards for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series.[79]

At the 69th Golden Globe Awards, the series won the award for Best Television Series – Drama, and Claire Danes won for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, with Damian Lewis receiving a nomination for Best Actor – Television Series Drama. At the 70th Golden Globe Awards, the series won its second consecutive award for Best Television Series – Drama, Danes won again for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, and Lewis won for Best Actor – Television Series Drama, after being nominated the previous year.[80]

Criticism and effect on international events

In October 2012 the Lebanese government was reportedly planning to sue the show's producers, asserting misrepresentation of Hamra Street in Beirut, Lebanon. Specifically, in the second episode of the second season "Beirut Is Back", the street was shown as a narrow alleyway with militia roaming and associated with terrorist activity. In reality, the Lebanese government says, it is a bustling modern hub of cafes and bars. The Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said he would take legal action over the "lies", saying "Beirut is one of the most secure capitals in the world, more secure than London or New York."[81] In what Iran's Press TV called an "odd coincidence" with Homeland, and what Britain's The Guardian pointed out was consistent with the Homeland portrayal that the Lebanese government complained about, a few days later a bomb exploded in Beirut killing Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.[82][83] Although Homeland '​s co-creator, Gideon Raff, is Israeli and thus forbidden from entering Lebanon, Abboud also protested the filming of episodes in Israel rather than Lebanon.[83][84][85]

Peter Beaumont of The Guardian wrote about the portrayal of Muslims in the series "High-profile Muslims living in the US share a secret: both willingly or otherwise they are covert helpers of Abu Nasir, the al-Qaida terrorist leader. In other words, it does not matter whether they are rich, smart, discreetly enjoying a western lifestyle or attractive: all are to be suspected."[86]

Gideon Raff's works, Homeland included, have been criticized for their portrayal of Muslims.[87] In an article for [88] In the show, for example, Hezbollah is portrayed as being close to Abu Nazir, an al-Qaeda operative who seeks to attack U.S. targets, even though Hezbollah has not in real life demonstrated an interest in attacking U.S. soil, and is an opponent of al-Qaeda. Hezbollah has sent its troops to Syria to battle two al-Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusra and ISIS, during the pending civil war in that country.[89] An article in The Atlantic by Yair Rosenberg challenged al-Arian's criticisms, arguing that they missed what made the show valuable, which was that it was no gung-ho salute to U.S. militarism and tactics on the war on terror nor a black-and-white portrayal of "good" Americans versus "evil" Muslims, but rather a show that challenges the prejudices of its viewers rather than affirming them.[90] Similarly, Zach Novetsky asserted that al-Arian's criticisms was a function of the show's having enough "depth and layers for someone to concoct a totally inaccurate interpretation of what the show really is about."[91]

Middle East commentator Rachel Shabi opined that Homeland's take on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East does little more than defend the talking points of its advocates, presenting even U.S. violence against civilians as "necessary acts in pursuit of far worse crimes".[92]

Middle East policy expert Fawaz Gerges told The WrapHomeland is poisonous to any attempt to bridge the divide between the two nations [United States and Iran]”.[93]

The German news magazine Der Spiegel said that the show depicts "hysterical CIA agents in a hysterical country," and demonstrates the "paranoid tactics that delegitimize its democracy" that the United States has applied and exceeded in real life, such as the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.[94]

Homeland is also being implicated in changing popular attitudes regarding human rights violations such as torture of terror suspects. In a 2014 report, the human rights group Amnesty International found relatively high levels of popular support for torture in the U.S. and Britain, and it has pointed as a contributing factor to popular attitudes the glorification of torture allegedly found in English-language TV shows such as 24 and Homeland.[95]


Internationally, the series premiered on November 1, 2011 on Super Channel in Canada,[96] on January 13, 2012 on RTÉ in Ireland,[97] on January 22, 2012 on Network Ten in Australia,[98] on February 19, 2012 on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom,[99] on April 6, 2012 on TVB Pearl in Hong Kong,[100] and on September 30, 2013 on Star World in Bangladesh and India.[101]


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