Recently, I have discovered Showtime’s amazing Emmy-Award winning series, Homeland and I am completely addicted.
If you don’t already know about the show, it follows a CIA agent named Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes whose strong intuition and convictions usually get her into trouble. The series begins with Sergeant Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis being released after being a prisoner of war for over 8 years in Iraq/Afghanistan. As his family and the rest of the United States welcomes him back with open arms, Carrie has her suspicions—she was told by an informant that a POW would soon be released and had been turned and would be working with Abu Nazir—the most dangerous and sought after terrorist.
The hour-long episodes of the first season follow Carrie as she tries to investigate whether Brody is loyal to America, or to Abu Nazir. Throughout the season, we witness Carrie struggle with her mental stability, the bureaucratic strategies of the CIA along with a dangerous flirtation. It is intelligent, fast-paced and has you on the edge of your seat as you try to solve the mystery with the characters. In addition to Danes and Lewis, the series also stars Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood and Morena Baccarin—all of whom give compelling performances.
If you’re not already interested with the information above, then here are a few more reasons as to why you should tune into this political, action-filled drama:
Claire Danes, Carrie Mathison. This girl is absolutely incredible! After winning an Emmy at only 15 years old for My So Called Life, she did it once again for Homeland. Her talents really shine through her portrayal of Carrie who is absolutely passionate about her career, but struggles with authority and a mental illness. Her character is flawed, but easy to support as she is super-smart and manages to see what others cannot.
Damien Lewis, Brody. He is spectacular. Lewis does a fantastic and realistic portrayal about the trauma that soldiers have to deal with, and in the case of Homeland, the fame that comes along with it. Just like Carrie, Brody has obvious flaws—he is a multi-dimensional character and sometimes your understand him while other times you find yourself confused. Regardless, he is played wonderfully.
Thought-provoking writing. The plot of Homeland truly makes you think twice about how we perceive terrorists and terrorism, along with war. Unlike with 24 (which I actually loved) we are given an in-depth look at the lives of everyone who is affected by the doings of Abu Nazir and the reasons behind the decisions they make. This includes agents of the CIA, the soldiers, and civilians in both the Middle East and America, families and children and the terrorists themselves.
If you like other Showtime series. If you’re a fan of Dexter, Shameless, The Big C—really anything that has ever been on Showtime, then Homeland is worth checking out. Showtime constantly manages to produce high-quality television that has it all: talented actors, top-notch writing, incredible sets, great cinematography—it’s all there and it’s no different when it comes to Homeland.
Realistic depiction of mental illness. I wont’ spoil it for anyone, but throughout the series, Carrie is taking pills though you don’t’ really know what for until later. Even though the diagnosis is unknown for a while, it is obvious that Carrie suffers from some mental health issues. Brody, on the other hand struggles with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder from being captured for eight ears. Both of these characters have trouble connecting with others and often find themselves alone or acting irrationally due to their mental state. Homeland portrays mental illness genuinely and realistically and relays an important message regarding it.
If you’re still not convinced as to why you should watch Homeland, then check out the trailer below and give the first episode a chance before you dismiss it. Believe me, you will fall in love with the concept, the characters and the stories.