The cast and producers of Showtime’s Homeland appeared at the Television Critics’ Assoc. summer press tour on Monday to preview Season 3 — with at least one actor doing his best to conceal a major plot point.
“I’m not Damian,” a buzzed-cut ginger who sure looked like Damian Lewis claimed in the course of dodging a question about his alter ego’s Season 3 status.
Showrunner Alex Gansa said it “would be a betrayal” to specify exactly when disgraced Marine sergeant Nicholas Brody is next seen, though he was OK with it being divulged — as per the first screeners sent to the press — that it does not happen in (spoiler alert) the first two episodes.
After all, Lewis noted, “Brody is on the lam,” having disappeared into an exfiltration process coordinated by Carrie at the close of Season 2, after a bomb planted in Brody’s car exploded at the CIA, killing more than 100 people.
“He’s the most wanted criminal in the world, at this point, so he has to lay low,” the actor added. “When you do see Brody, hopefully of interest to the audience is, ‘What state will he be in? Is he surrounded by a bevy of Russian beauties? Or is he hidden away?’ But I do hope when you see him for the first time, it will be interesting.”
This much else can sensibly be revealed about the new season of the acclaimed cable drama:
As Season 3 opens, Carrie is again off her meds (“What are ya gonna do?” Claire Danes shrugged) and things are “pretty bleak” in the wake of the CIA bombing and the tragedy’s unusual circumstances (including what Carrie and Saul knew and when they knew it.)
Cue a Jack Bauer Season 7-style series of appearances before a senate committee, where things are said that perhaps cannot be unsaid. “Carrie does feel betrayal” on Saul’s part, previewed Danes. “But even though they’re estranged from each other [as a result], they’re very deeply connected.”
Gansa said a theme of Season 3 is “the cost that being an intelligence officer exacts on the people in that career. As a result of the attack, the CIA itself is on trial” and as such “Saul has to make some uncharacteristic decisions he’s not used to making”” — and with the fate of his very agency in jeopardy. “He’s actually fearful that he might be the last director of the CIA.”
Elsewhere on the canvas, the producers and a new batch of writers asked themselves the tough question: “Are we interested in watching the Brody family if Nicholas Brody wasn’t part of the mix? And the consensus was there is interest in Jessica, Dana and Chris,” Gansa related. “It felt like a very good avenue to explore, how this [terrorist act seemingly perpetrated by a husband/father] would reverberate down on these people.”
Also during the TCA panel, Gansa maintained Season 3 isn’t meant as a response to backlash about leaps of logic made last year (“Our 11 Emmy nominations are a nice comeback,” he countered); it was revealed that the show will return to film on location in Israel “for the last couple episodes of the season”; and Lewis did not take for granted his longevity on the series where no major character is safe. (R.I.P, David Estes.)
“These guys have been trying to kill me since Episode 1,” Lewis remarked. “But you must be ruthless with the story and with characters — so I’m sure there will be more [deaths].”