It’s rare that a nightmare is capped by a (seemingly) happy ending, and yet that twist of fate was dealt Jessica Brody on Showtime’s Homeland (airing Sundays at 10/9c).
Having been led to presume that her husband Nicholas (played by Damian Lewis) was killed in Iraq eight years ago, Jessica – and the world – learned that the U.S. Marine sergeant in fact was alive, and had been held prisoner all this time. And while CIA analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) suspects that this war hero was “turned” during captivity and now is part of a terror plot to be exacted on American soil, Sgt. Brody suspects that his wife found comfort in widowhood with his colleague and best friend, Mike (Diego Klattenhoff).
This Sunday, the men in Jessica’s life have their most intense war of words yet. Morena Baccarin, who shines as Brody’s conflicted bride, spoke with TVLine about how she went from playing an out-of-this-world queen V to the grounded, very real Jessica.
TVLINE | I saw you tweeting with “Abu Nazir” [aka actor Navid Negahban] this morning – I’m pretty sure that’s not a good idea.
[Laughs] Maybe I’m a terrorist.
TVLINE | You and I often spoke about how on V, you had work to find your moments as an actress, given Anna’s innate lack of emotions. And here you now are with moments ripe for the taking. How tricky and yet satisfying was that transition?
Yeah, it was really satisfying. And it’s the smallest things that mean the greatest things, like being able to reach and put my hair behind my ear. Suddenly, because I’d been restrained for so long, I had a wealth of human nature things at my disposal. Being able to explore emotion again was really great.
TVLINE | And some of your Homeland moments have been so raw, so vulnerable.
Yes, and they were not easy to tap into after so long of being kind of disconnected from that. [Jessica] is in a very vulnerable place that’s not very fun to be in all the time, but it’s very cathartic!
TVLINE | Jessica thus far has kept up a good façade. But is there a moment coming up where she just lets it all out?
I did kind of lose it a bit when my husband shot the deer, which was completely insane. But no you’re right, she’s a very strong woman and she knows that she needs to support him, so she’s putting herself second at this point, in the name of trying to get him back any way she can. But there is a moment in the eighth episode where Jessica finally says, “Enough! I am not going to keep blaming myself for this. It’s not my fault. I thought you were dead.”
TVLINE | This Sunday, tensions reach a boiling point between Nick and Mike, at a memorial service. What can you say about that?
There’s a very interesting scene where Brody kind of clocks everything that’s been going on, and the boys have it out.
TVLINE | He, what, also “clocks” Mike?
Uh, yeah! It definitely gets physical.
TVLINE | Do you think Nick at this point knows for sure about the affair? Or is he still just strongly suspecting?
I think it’s that thing where you think for a second you know exactly what happened, and the next you’re like, “How could that have happened?” He knows that what I did was not necessarily wrong, but he can’t deal with it right now, for obvious reasons. He was imprisoned for eight years and the only thing that got him through it, besides I guess the Muslim religion, was the thought of his family waiting for him.
TVLINE | Lets talk about those eight years. What would you say is the state of Jessica’s love for her husband right now? Has she almost “forgotten” that love…?
I think it’s more complicated than that. She’s had to come to terms with the fact that he’s not the man that left, that he’s a different person — almost a stranger to her — however they still are who they are. I think she had an expectation of who he would be when he comes back, but he’s obviously not that guy, and the only point of reference she has is those first few years they were together. So it’s about building a relationship again, from scratch. There are nice scenes coming up where we actually share some moments again and you see a bit of the history of their relationship. You see their [current] relationship kind of evolving into a more healthy one. It’s still strained, and we’re both playing at being “the good husband and wife,” but underneath there’s still a lot of recovery we need to do.
TVLINE | You mentioned the deer incident. Are there any other erratic behaviors of Nick’s that start to rouse suspicion in Jessica? That, while not quite along the lines Carrie is thinking, something about Nick is quite different?
No — in fact they start to really patch things up, in a surface, healthy way. [In the Nov. 20 episode] he makes a choice about the life he wants to lead, which is kind of a big twist in the season. She fights it at first, but things between them become better once she allows him this decision. But I have a feeling it’s sort of the calm before the storm. It’s exciting to be playing that, the rumbling underneath of something about to happen!
How are you liking Homeland? Many have called it the fall’s best new drama; do you agree?