‘Homeland’ Team Explains Why They Put Carrie in Brody’s Shoes for the Final Season

The core creative engine of "Homeland" took the stage for their last TCA panel to preview what shaped their vision for Season 8.
Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes in "Homeland"

The final season of “Homeland” is putting a new spin on its original story. Creators and executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon joined co-stars Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, along with director and executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter, to share spoiler-free plot details about the upcoming Season 8.

For a show cloaked in secrecy, Gansa laid out the full season in two succinct, telling parts.

“The really big idea of this season is that Carrie Mathieson steps into Nicholas Brody’s shoes,” Gansa said. “That’s the first big part of the season. The second big part is the real resolution of the primal story of ‘Homeland,’ which is the relationship of a mentor and a protege, between Saul [Patinkin] and Carrie [Danes]. That’s what you’ll see resolved by the end of the 12 episodes.”

Season 8 opens with Carrie still in recovery from her time in captivity. At the end of Season 7 — which first aired almost two years ago, in February 2018 — the on-again-off-again CIA operative was captured by the Russians and held prisoner for more than six months. While Saul orchestrated her release, American officials are now suspicious of the controversial agent who can’t remember a large chunk of her time under interrogation.

Could she have been turned? Did the Russians break her? Is Carrie the double agent she once accused Nicolas Brody (Damian Lewis) of being, nearly a decade prior? “I thought that was very elegant storytelling,” Danes said. “There’s that perfect symmetry. I think psychically it fuses Carrie with Brody in a way that felt right.”

Danes went further to say Carrie’s biggest challenge this year is understanding the legitimacy of her country’s concerns. “She can be challenged in every way, but if her patriotism is questioned, I think that’s the most profound insult she can imagine,” Danes said. “That was interesting to play and explore. It was a good entry point.”

With Season 1 top of mind, producers were asked about past accusations that the series skewed toward one side or the other of the political divide.

“When you’re taking flack from the right for being soft on terror and you’re taking flack from the left on being Islamophobic, I think you’re having the right conversation,” Gansa said.

He added that the main focus of Season 1 was to make the audience see a Muslim terrorist’s point of view through Nicolas Brody’s journey. “We were always rigorously invested in telling both sides of that story,” he said.

“A quintessential ‘Homeland’ scene is when two characters have opposing beliefs and they’re both right,” Linka Glatter added.

When asked if they would return to “Homeland” after the final season, Gansa wouldn’t rule it out, but there was little excitement surrounding the idea.

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Gansa said. “But not now.”

“He needs a vacation,” Danes said.

“[But] we never say never,” Gordon said.

“Homeland” returns for its final season Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. Watch the latest trailer for Season 8 below.

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