Stars: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Morena Baccarin
Writers:
Howard Gordon & Alex Ganza, developed for American television by Howard Gordon & Alex Ganza, based on the series HATUFIM created by Gideon Raff
Director:
Michael Cuesta
Network:
Showtime, Sundays @ 10 PM
Original Telecast:
October 2, 2011

Based on what can be determined from its pilot episode, Showtime’s new series HOMELAND is exactly the sort of paranoid, tense, twisty serialized thriller that threatened to vanish for good when 24 went off the air. Good news – Howard Gordon & Alex Ganza, both 24 veterans, are at the helm here, having developed HOMELAND for American TV, based on the Israeli series HATUFIM, created by Gideon Raff.

HOMELAND of course doesn’t have Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, but it does have Claire Danes as Carrie Anderson, a bipolar CIA agent who unhesitatingly shatters the law whenever she’s sure she’s right.

Trying in vain to rescue an about-to-be-executed asset inIraq, Carrie is told by the man that there’s a terrorist agent in deep cover. Much later, U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is rescued from a secret terrorist hideout after eight years in captivity. The government sees the making of a great p.r. situation. Nicholas’ wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) is flummoxed, as she long ago assumed Nicholas was dead and has become romantically involved with his best friend, fellow Marine Mike (Diego Klattenhoff). Nicholas and Jessica’s teenaged daughter barely remembers her father, and the couple’s young son has no direct memory of him at all. As if all this family drama wasn’t enough, Carrie is certain Nicholas is the undercover terrorist she was warned about, and neither her CIA boss nor the U.S. Constitution can deter her from putting Nicholas under surveillance. Carrie’s CIA mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) thinks his protégé has gone over the edge – until Carrie finds something that helps prove her case.

HOMELAND has pretty much everything that this genre can and should offer, done right. We are eager to piece together many different puzzles here: whether Carrie is indeed correct in her beliefs, or if she’s tumbled onto something else altogether; what Nick is doing, and why; who his allies are; whether he and/or Carrie will implode (and how many times each) before all this is over. There are harrowing scenes of torture, and humorously quasi-mundane scenes of illegal surveillance installation guys bickering over their job.  There is real, complex emotion in the parent/child reunion scene and the kind of loaded office politics that promise to make for great character moments down the road.

Danes is convincingly driven and dangerous as Carrie, while Lewis (an English actor who played an American soldier in BAND OF BROTHERS and more recently starred as a police detective in the series LIFE) is fascinating as we see him react viscerally to events without tipping his hand as to where Nick may be going with all this.

HOMELAND is off to a great start that indicates continued non-clandestine audience observation is warranted.

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Article: TV Review: HOMELAND – Season 1 premiere 

 

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