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Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim (English title: Prisoners of War), which was created by Gideon Raff.[1][2]

The series stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer with bipolar disorder, and, from seasons 1 through 3, Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody, a United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper. Mathison had come to believe that Brody, who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was "turned" by the enemy and posed a threat to the United States.

The series is broadcast in the U.S. on the cable channel Showtime, and is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios (formerly Fox 21). It premiered on October 2, 2011.[3] The first episode was made available online, more than two weeks before television broadcast, with viewers having to complete game tasks to gain access.[4][5] On October 22, 2013, Showtime renewed Homeland for a fourth season,[6] which premiered on October 5, 2014.[7] On November 10, 2014, Showtime renewed the series for a 12-episode fifth season to premiere in September 2015.[8][9]

The series has received generally positive reviews, and has won several awards, including the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and the 2011 and 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, as well as the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, respectively.


Main article: List of Homeland episodes

Season 1 (2011)[]

DHS- Homeland Season 1 poster

The first season follows Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency operations officer who, after conducting an unauthorized operation in Iraq, is put on probation and reassigned to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Virginia. In Iraq, Carrie was warned by an asset that an American prisoner of war had been turned by al-Qaeda.

Carrie's job grows complicated when her boss, Director of the Counterterrorism Center David Estes, calls Carrie and her colleagues in for an emergency briefing. Carrie learns that Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine Sergeant who had been reported as missing in action since 2003, has been rescued during a Delta Force raid on a compound belonging to terrorist Abu Nazir. Carrie comes to believe that Brody is the American prisoner of war whom her asset in Iraq was talking about.[10] However, the federal government and her superiors at the CIA consider Brody a war hero.

Realizing it would be nearly impossible to convince her boss to place Brody under surveillance, Carrie approaches the only other person she can trust, her mentor, Saul Berenson. The two must now work together to investigate Brody and prevent another terrorist attack on American soil. Eventually, Brody attempts to kill the Vice President as a suicide bomber but falters at the last moment after an intervention by his daughter Dana, while Carrie becomes more doubtful and paranoid by her belief that Brody is a terrorist.

Season 2 (2012)[]

DHS- Homeland Season 2 poster

The second season follows Carrie and the CIA working with Brody to capture Abu Nazir. Discovering a video of Brody's confession during a CIA operation in Lebanon, Carrie and Saul, along with analyst Peter Quinn, work to turn Brody into a double agent. Brody gives in to the CIA interrogation and is now an asset for the CIA, sending information to both sides. The downside of being a double agent as well as a rising Congressman with the Vice President's support brings Brody closer to Carrie while worsening his relationship with his family. Mike tries to find the truth behind Tom Walker's death. Egged on by Abu Nazir, who is now in the U.S., Brody silently kills the Vice President while the CIA tracks down Nazir's contacts and Carrie and an FBI team kill Nazir using Roya's information. Seemingly free of being Nazir's man, Brody celebrates with Carrie at the CIA headquarters and both survive an explosion that kills Director Estes and many others. Brody's earlier video confession meant to be released in aftermath of the aborted bomb vest killing of the VP is released by Nazir's people, as the claim responsibility and is used to frame Brody for the bombing. Brody then flees the U.S. with Carrie's help. Saul, who was attending the burying of Nazir's body at sea, is left to pick up the pieces.

Season 3 (2013)[]

DHS- Homeland Season 3 poster

The beginning of season 3 presents the aftermath of a terrorist attack committed by Abu Nazir's people. Carrie is blamed for the CIA's failings as Senator Lockhart grills Saul, now Acting Director of the CIA, in front of the Senate Committee. However, it turned out to be part of a bigger plot, as Saul had Carrie seemingly disavowed by the CIA to lure a senior Iranian intelligence officer Majid Javadi (who financed the Langley bombing) into becoming a CIA asset. He later relayed the information to Carrie that the main perpetrator of the bombing was still in the U.S., and the CIA acted to bring the real bomber and the officer's lawyers in for questioning.

As the Brody family struggles to live within their means amidst Brody's terrorist status, Brody himself is in hiding in Caracas, Venezuela, effectively being held prisoner by his captors until Saul's arrival. Following a gunshot wound to the torso, Brody becomes addicted to the heroin given to him as a painkiller. Saul eventually rescues him, detoxifies him, and recruits him for a mission: to go to Iran and use his notoriety as the "Langley Bomber" to get close to the current head of the Revolutionary Guard, Danesh Akbari, to assassinate him. During the initial assassination attempt, Brody publicly declares that he is seeking asylum in Iran, but is unable to get close enough to Akbari to assassinate him. Assuming that Brody will never have another opportunity to complete his mission, senior CIA officers order his assassination. However, with help from Carrie, Brody escapes and is able to arrange a meeting with Akbari, claiming to possess sensitive information about Javadi. During the meeting, Brody strikes Akbari and suffocates him to death. Carrie takes him to a safehouse, but Lockhart, with a direct order from the President, gives up their location to the Revolutionary Guard in order to increase Javadi's chances of being promoted. Brody is then publicly hanged as Carrie watches in the crowd.

Four months later, Lockhart (now CIA Director) offers Carrie (now eight months pregnant) the job of station chief of the CIA's Turkey operations (after a maternity leave). Carrie accepts the position but her request to place a star on the memorial wall to commemorate Brody is refused. In the final scene, Carrie is seen discreetly drawing a star on the memorial wall herself.

Season 4 (2014)[]

DHS- Homeland Season 4 poster (alternate version)

In the fourth season, Carrie is working as a CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pakistan station chief Sandy Bachman tips Carrie about the location of terrorist target Haissam Haqqani in Pakistan. Carrie orders an air strike, supposedly killing Haqqani, and 40 civilians are killed as a wedding was taking place at his location. A survivor of the air strike, Aayan Ibrahim, after losing his family, returns to medical college where his friend uploads the wedding video from Aayan's phone. This causes uproar and Carrie is recalled to the U.S. by CIA Director Lockhart. Carrie contacts another agent who reveals Sandy was trading state secrets in exchange for target info and Lockhart was aware of it. Carrie blackmails Lockhart to send her back as the new station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan. There, Carrie sets up another secret base with Max and Fara and convinces Quinn to join. Saul arrives at the embassy to oversee private security. Carrie asks Fara to recruit Aayan but she fails to do so as Aayan is too scared. Carrie then makes contact with Aayan offering help, to smuggle him out to London. Fara later follows Aayan to a mosque where it is revealed that Haqqani is alive and being helped by his nephew Aayan with stolen medicines.

Meanwhile, ISI official Tasneem Qureshi contacts the ambassador's husband, Dennis Boyd, revealing the latter as the source of Sandy, by stealing info from his wife, Martha. Tasneem forces Dennis to continue working for her. Aayan confesses to Carrie that Haqqani is still alive. In a staged attack set up by Carrie and her people, Aayan flees the safehouse and makes contact with Haqqani. Carrie monitors Aayan via drone leading them to Haqqani. Dennis gives info about Aayan to Tasneem who alerts Haqqani. Haqqani's men have kidnapped Saul and Haqqani meets Aayan in the mountains where Saul is shown captive. Haqqani blames Aayan for the drone tracking him and kills Aayan. Carrie, out of anger, orders a strike but Quinn intervenes. Haqqani demands five prisoners to be released in exchange for Saul. Lockhart arrives at the embassy to manage the situation. Saul escapes from captivity and calls Carrie who leads him to a nearby town for extraction, but he is later surrounded with Haqqani's men and Saul is recaptured. Lockhart concedes to demands of exchange. At the embassy, Dennis is caught as the leak and imprisoned. Saul is successfully exchanged, despite not wanting the deal to go through.

On their way back to the embassy Carrie's convoy is hit with RPGs by Haqqani's men. Haqqani infiltrates the embassy by a hidden tunnel (information given by Dennis to Tasneem) and kills several people. Threatening to kill more people, Haqqani demands the list of informants, for which Lockhart eventually gives up. However, Haqqani kills Fara, and Quinn attacks, forcing Haqqani to retreat and escape. The convoy gets help from the Pakistani military after a delay. The White House cuts relations with Pakistan and orders an evacuation of the remaining embassy personnel. Quinn escapes the embassy and plans on killing Haqqani. Carrie stays behind to find him. During a rally of Haqqani, Carrie forces Quinn to abort his plan on killing him and discovers Dar Adal in Haqqani's car. Back in the U.S., Carrie reunites with her estranged mother. Quinn accepts a dangerous assassination mission in Syria. Later, Carrie confronts Dar Adal who reveals Saul as a supporter of a deal made with Haqqani, to take him off the CIA kill list, in exchange for Haqqani no longer harboring terrorists in Afghanistan. Carrie leaves in anger and confusion.

Season 5 (2015)[]

The fifth season takes place two years after the previous season and is set in Berlin, Germany, with Carrie Mathison no longer an intelligence officer and working for a private security firm. The season is filmed in Berlin and is scheduled to premiere in September 2015.[9][11]

Cast and characters[]

Main cast[]

Main article: List of Homeland characters
  • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a CIA case officer assigned to the Counterterrorism Center. She suffers from bipolar disorder and believes Brody to be a terrorist when he returns to the U.S.
  • Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody (starring seasons 1–3, guest season 4), a Congressman and retired U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant (formerly Staff Sergeant) who is rescued by Delta Force after being held by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war for eight years.
  • Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson, Carrie's mentor and the CIA's Middle East Division Chief and Acting Director of the CIA during season 3.
  • Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody (seasons 1–3), Brody's wife who struggles to adjust with his return to her life. Assuming her husband is dead, she begins a relationship with Mike.
  • David Harewood as David Estes (seasons 1–2), the director of the CIA's Counter-terrorism Center and Carrie's boss. The two have a tumultuous relationship due to her aggressive way of working and the suggestion of a past sexual relationship between them.
  • Diego Klattenhoff as Mike Faber (starring seasons 1–2, guest star season 3), a U.S. Marine Major (formerly Captain). Brody's best friend who, assuming Brody is dead, begins a relationship with Jessica.
  • Jamey Sheridan as William Walden (recurring season 1, starring season 2), Vice President of the United States and a former director of the CIA.
  • David Marciano as Virgil (recurring seasons 1 and 3, starring season 2), a freelance surveillance expert and former CIA employee whom Carrie enlists for the surveillance of Brody.
  • Navid Negahban as Abu Nazir (recurring season 1, starring season 2, guest star season 3), a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda.
  • Jackson Pace as Chris Brody (seasons 1–3), Brody's son.
  • Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody (seasons 1–3), Brody's daughter.
  • Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn (recurring season 2, starring seasons 3–5), a CIA operative and assassin.
  • Sarita Choudhury as Mira Berenson (recurring seasons 1, 2 and 4, starring season 3), Saul's wife.
  • F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal (recurring seasons 2 and 4, starring seasons 3 and 5), a black ops specialist.
  • Tracy Letts as Senator Andrew Lockhart (seasons 3–4), who later assumes the role of Director of the CIA.
  • Nazanin Boniadi as Fara Sherazi (recurring season 3, starring season 4), a Muslim CIA analyst.
  • Laila Robins as Martha Boyd (season 4), the United States ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  • Sebastian Koch as Otto Düring (season 5), a German philanthropist and Carrie's boss.[12]
  • Miranda Otto as Alison Carr (season 5), the current Berlin Chief of Station, working directly under Saul Berenson.[12]
  • Sarah Sokolovic as Laura Sutton (season 5), an American journalist in Berlin who works for the Düring Foundation.[12]
  • Alexander Fehling as Jonas Happich (season 5), legal counsel for the Düring Foundation and Carrie's boyfriend.[12]

Recurring cast[]

  • Hrach Titizian as Danny Galvez (seasons 1–2), a CIA officer of Guatemalan and Lebanese origin.
  • Chris Chalk as Tom Walker (seasons 1, 3), a U.S. Marine captured along with Brody.
  • Amy Hargreaves as Maggie Mathison (seasons 1–4), Carrie's sister and a psychiatrist.
  • Maury Sterling as Max (seasons 1–4), Virgil's brother, aiding in the surveillance of Brody.
  • James Rebhorn as Frank Mathison (seasons 1–3), Carrie's father.
  • Timothee Chalamet as Finn Walden (season 2), Vice President Walden's son and Dana's love interest.
  • Zuleikha Robinson as Roya Hammad (season 2), Brody's handler for Abu Nazir.
  • Sam Underwood as Leo Carras (season 3), Dana's troubled boyfriend.
  • Shaun Toub as Majid Javadi (season 3), Iran's Deputy Intelligence Chief and an old rival of Saul.
  • Suraj Sharma as Aayan Ibrahim (season 4), a Pakistani medical student.
  • Nimrat Kaur as Tasneem Kureishi (season 4), a Pakistani ISI agent, seemingly allied with Haqqani.
  • Numan Acar as Haissam Haqqani (season 4), a high-priority target and Taliban leader.


List of Homeland episodes

Development history[]


Promotional poster of season 1 of the series.

Based on Gideon Raff's Israeli series Hatufim, Homeland was developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa in early 2010. The two had previously worked together on the similarly themed series 24.[1] On September 19, 2010, Showtime placed a pilot order for Homeland as the first project David Nevins had undertaken since leaving Imagine Entertainment to become president of Showtime.[1] Gordon, Gansa and Raff wrote the pilot, Michael Cuesta directed the pilot, with Gordon, Gansa, Raff, Avi Nir, and Ran Telem serving as executive producers.[1][13][14]

On April 7, 2011, Showtime green-lit the series with an order of 12 episodes.[15][16][17] It was announced that Chip Johannessen would join the series as a co-executive producer, while Michael Cuesta, who had served as the director on the pilot, would join the series as an executive producer.[18][19]

On July 21, 2011, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Showtime announced that the series would premiere on October 2, 2011.[3] Along with the announcement of the premiere date for the series,[3] the network also announced that the names of the characters portrayed by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis had been renamed Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody, from Carrie Anderson and Scott Brody, respectively.[20][21] The series is produced by Fox 21.[16]


Casting announcements began in November 2010, with Claire Danes first to be cast. Danes portrays Carrie Mathison, "a driven CIA officer battling her own psychological demons."[20][22] Next to join the series was Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson, "the smart and politically savvy CIA Division Chief ... who is Carrie's main champion in the intelligence upper echelon and her sounding board."[23][24] Laura Fraser was initially cast as Jessica Brody, "Nick Brody's smart, strong wife.",[25] but after the pilot Fraser was replaced by Morena Baccarin.[26] Next to join the series were Damian Lewis and David Harewood, with Lewis playing Brody, "who returns home after spending eight years as a prisoner of war in Baghdad", while Harewood was cast as David Estes, "a rising star in the CIA, Carrie's boss ... is the youngest director of the Counterterrorism Center in the Agency's history."[21] Diego Klattenhoff, Morgan Saylor, and Jackson Pace were the last actors to join the main cast, with Klattenhoff playing Mike Faber, "Brody's close friend and fellow Marine, Mike Faber was convinced that Brody was dead, which is how he justified falling in love with Brody's wife Jessica", Saylor playing Dana Brody, "The Brodys' oldest child", and Pace playing Chris Brody, "Nick and Jessica's eager-to-please, self-conscious thirteen year-old son."[27][28][29]

It was later announced that Jamey Sheridan, Navid Negahban, Amir Arison, and Brianna Brown had joined the series as recurring guest stars. Sheridan was cast as the Vice President of the United States, Negahban was cast as Abu Nazir, with Arison playing Prince Farid Bin Abbud and Brown playing Lynne Reed.[30][31][32]


The series is filmed in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. The location was chosen because of film tax credits, and the atmosphere matches nearby Virginia and Washington, D.C., where the series takes place.[33] Production claims it is easier to get around the area's smaller city atmosphere rather than in large cities where filming typically occurs.[34] Another frequent setting is nearby Mooresville. Executive producer Michael Cuesta said Mooresville is "played for quite a few rural-type one-stoplight main-street type of towns."[34]

The Brody family house is in Mountainbrook, a Charlotte neighborhood near SouthPark Mall. Queens University of Charlotte is Morgan's college. CIA headquarters is Cambridge Corporate Center in University Research Park. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the Ritz-Carlton, the old courthouse, Ed's Tavern,[35] and Zack's Hamburgers in Charlotte, as well as Rural Hill in Huntersville and Lake Norman, have also served as filming locations.[34]

Production for season two began in May 2012 with the series filming in Israel for two weeks, with the city of Haifa standing in for Beirut.[36] The rest of the season was filmed in Charlotte and Concord, North Carolina.[37]

Production for the third season began in late May 2013,[38] continuing production in Raleigh, North Carolina.[39] The series also filmed in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, which stood in for Caracas, Venezuela.[40] The series was also planning on returning to Israel for additional filming, but filming moved to Morocco, due to ongoing conflicts in Syria.[41]

Production for the fourth season took place from June through November 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.[42]

Other media[]

Since the conclusion of season 2, several pieces of in-universe material have been published.[43] Twentieth Century Fox partnered with Audible.com to offer "Phantom Pain – A Homeland Story", a 30-minute audio piece narrated by Damian Lewis, which details Brody's movements between seasons 2 and 3 of the show.[44] HomelandAftermath.com provides a deeper look into the aftermath of season 2, with news reports and survivors' accounts.[45] Homeland: Carrie's Run is a novel that tells the story of Carrie Mathison in a series of events that take place before season 1.[46] Another prequel novel set in 2009, Homeland: Saul's Game, was released on October 7, 2014.[47] Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: Total Information Awareness (Second Edition) is a scholarly book which examines U.S. counterterrorism history, technologies, and strategies from a thought-provoking approach that includes the make-believe of Hollywood such as 24, Homeland, and The Americans TV series.[48]


Critical response[]

The first season received near universal acclaim. Metacritic gave it a rating of 92 out of 100 based on the opinions of 28 critics.[49] TV Guide named it the best TV show of 2011[50] and highly applauded the performances given by Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.[51] Metacritic named Homeland the second-best TV show of 2011, based on aggregating the year-end top-ten lists of a number of major TV critics.[52] The second season also received near universal acclaim, achieving a Metacritic rating of 96 out of 100 from 21 critics.[53] The third season received generally favorable reviews, with a rating of 77 out of 100 based on 23 critics.[54]

Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave the pilot episode an A−, saying "What makes Homeland rise above other post-9/11 dramas is Danes' stellar performance as Carrie—easily this season's strongest female character," and that "The latter half of the first episode is exhilarating. I'm hooked."[55] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave it a solid A grade, and said it was his favorite drama pilot of the season.[56] Entertainment WeeklyTemplate:'s Ken Tucker gave it an A−, stating "It's the fall season's most intriguing, tense puzzler."[57] IGN TV gave it a positive review, saying that it was an "ace thriller" that also managed to have something to say about the "War on Terror".[58] The seventh episode, "The Weekend", received overwhelming critical acclaim and was described by both the creators of the show and Lewis as a "watershed" episode.[59][60]

However, Greg Dixon of The New Zealand Herald criticized HomelandTemplate:'s thin plotting, Danes' "insane levels of overacting", and Lewis' "passivity".[61] Robert Rorke of New York Post wrote about the third season "Seldom in the history of cable TV has a series imploded as quickly as Showtime's Homeland." and "The show, in the middle of its third season, is now impossible to take seriously."[62]

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Homeland and is known to be a fan of the show.[63][64][65]


The original broadcast of the pilot episode on October 2, 2011, received 1.08 million viewers, becoming Showtime's highest-rated drama premiere in eight years. The episode received a total of 2.78 million viewers with additional broadcasts and on demand views.[66] The final episode of season one received 1.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched season finale of any first-year Showtime series.[67] Ratings increased in Season 2, peaking with 2.36 million viewers for the December 9, 2012 first-run broadcast.[68]

The series has also performed well in the UK, where it airs on Channel 4. The pilot episode drew 2.2 million viewers and the season one finale drew 2.8 million viewers.[69] Season two saw a drop in viewership, with the season two premiere drawing in 2.3 million viewers,[69] but the finale only 2.1 million.[70]

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