It’s not too late. If you haven’t already been watching the Showtime series “Homeland,” now about to conclude its second season, you’ve only got a season to catch up on. If you’ve already been a fan, you know it won’t take long to catch up. “Homeland” is available via Netflix and iTunes and it’s well worth the money and time investment. Here’s why you should be a fan.
It’s pretty challenging to explain the concept of “Homeland.” But we’ll give it a try. It’s based on an Israeli series called “Prisoner of War” about what happens to military captives when they try to reenter society after being liberated. “Homeland” begins with a similar premise. Marine sergeant Nicholas Brody returns home after eight years in captivity and tries to return to his family and life. But his return attracts the attention of CIA agent Carrie Mathison who believes he was turned in captivity and now poses a threat to America. But Mathison has her own problems. The show won the 2012 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, among other awards.
Both Damian Lewis and Claire Danes who play Brody and Carrie took home much-deserved Emmys earlier this year for their roles on the show. To say that they put on an acting clinic is to understate the genius of their work together. There are times that an actor meets a storyline and another actor and what takes place is truly phenomenal. That is what happens on “Homeland.” The ensemble cast is stellar as well, particularly veteran actor Mandy Pantinkin as Carrie’s CIA mentor and David Harewoodas her ambitious boss.
Though largely unknown in the U.S., British actor David Harewood should see an uptick in recognition now that he’s played David Estes, the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Estes is a cooly ambitious man who has the tough job of reigning in Mathison, his most talented but most troubled agent. For sheer eye candy, the chocolate brown, solidly built Harewood is eminently watchable and he’s one of the strongest black male characters on TV.
Nothing about “Homeland” is TV formula. The first season is full of so many twists and reveals, it’s dizzying. Although some of the plotting does strain believability, the writers do a great job at conveying the tension of the relationships of the hunter and the hunted, as well as the challenging personal lives of those who work in secrecy to keep America safer. The writers flesh out the storylines on either sides making “Homeland” chock-full of satisfyingly complex characters. Lewis and Danes do exceptional work but it’s only because they can handle such meaty writing.
Regardless of what side you fall on U.S./Arab relations, there’s something in “Homeland” for you. The writers do a good job at maintaining the humanity of all parties, making a great case as to why people are often motivated by love to do the most horrific things.
Of course, “Homeland” is a show that has a decidedly pro-American slant but there is just enough exposition of the humanity that drives all the characters to make it palatable to anyone interested in world politics.