in Recent Years
The superb US drama Homeland recently ended its second series on Australian television and all around the world for that matter. Thanks to modern communications foreign shows can now be downloaded (or Fast Tracked as the TV stations like to call it) and broadcast before too many spoilers are posted on the Internet.
Homeland seems to have been a worldwide success, well certainly in the USA, Australia and Great Britain. It had a superb cast, was well filmed and a great story line.
For anyone who has been hiding under a rock, the brief outline is that US Army Sargent Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is freed and returned to the USA after having been held by terrorists in Iraq for eight years. He returns a hero, but CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has been told that an American prisoner had been turned by Al-Qaeda and she suspects that it is Brody. She’s not wrong. But the twists and turns in the telling of the tale explain that there is good reason for his turning and it may not be a full 180 degree turn.
While trying to investigate Brody, Carrie falls for him and the two have an on/off affair. At the end of series one the CIA find firm evidence that Carrie’s suspicions were correct, although they had mistrusted her judgement all along. Brody is offered a deal. If he helps capture the terrorists, especially their leader Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) who was personally responsible for turning Brody, then they will let him go and give him and his family a new identity.
Series two is all about capturing Nazir and his compatriots, who are in the USA and planning atrocities against the forces and civilians alike. I do not want to reveal too much for anyone who has not seen the series, as I would I highly recommend that you do. Homeland is one of the best TV series in recent years, even President Barack Obama said that it was his favourite show, which could be a little worrying considering the subject matter.
Homeland featured two British actors, with American accents, in lead roles. Damian Lewis was superb as Sargent Nicholas Brody, but it was not his first lead role in a US TV series. Lewis played Charlie Crews, another former prisoner, in the series Life from 2007 to 2009. That is another show worth catching, if you get the opportunity.
David Harewood was the other British actor in Homeland. He played David Estes a CIA boss and adversary to both Carrie Matheson and Brody. Harewood once held high rank in Great Britain as Major Simon Brooks in the series The Palace, a story of a fictitious British Royal family that closely resembled the one living in Buckingham Palace these days.
Mandy Patinkin played Saul Berenson another senior CIA agent and line manager to Carrie Matheson. But Saul was firmly on Carrie’s side and supported her whenever he could, even when he was not sure that her judgement was right, or functioning correctly.
Mandy Patinkin has starred in many well known US TV shows such as Criminal Minds and Chicago Hope, as well as being an established Broadway musical star. But he wore a beard in Homeland and was barely recognisable, closely resembling a Rabbi.
Eye candy was provided by Morena Baccarin as Brody’s wife Jessica, who was frequently naked. But she also played the role of the troubled wife, having difficulty reconnecting with her husband who had been missing for eight years, really well.
Teenage actress Morgan Saylor was a revelation as Brody’s daughter Dana. She had some strong storylines of her own and interacted well with Damian Lewis and the other lead actors.
Series two of Homeland finished with a fantastic twist. Just when you thought everything was being resolved, the bad guys all in their place and the good guys free to carry on, there was a major change that put Sargent Nicholas Brody in danger again, with the terrorists, the CIA, the FBI and anyone else with an acronym.
If you have not seen Homeland, do yourself a favour and rectify that right away.
By Max Power