Homeland

Showtime’s new spy thriller, Homeland, stars Claire Danes as a CIA officer convinced that rescued prisoner of war Damian Lewis has been “turned” by Al-Qaeda and is planning a terrorist attack. Danes has a poorly-controlled mood disorder, so is she just being paranoid?

The series debuted on Channel 4 four weeks ago and is now on 4OD. The pilot established what to expect: great acting from its well-known leads, reliable support from the likes of Princess Bride‘s Mandy Patinkin, and an unflinching approach to conflict – both on the battlefield and in the home. After eight years in brutal captivity, Nicholas Brody (Lewis) is reunited with his wife (Firefly‘s Morena Baccarin). His reintegration into regular American life proves difficult: assuming Brody dead, she’s been having an affair.

Carrie Mathison (Danes) has been in trouble before for her unorthodox methods, and has trouble convincing her old boss/mentor (Patinkin) that Brody’s a threat, though he does clean up after her. She’s been tipped off about Brody by an asset, but her frantic attempts to prove his guilt aren’t working out so well. It’s all kept wonderfully ambiguous: even his secret conversion to Islam could mean absolutely nothing.

It will be interesting to see if Homeland keeps its quality through the rest of its run. So many hyped shows such as Flash Forward and Heroes fizzle out after a great start. It’s been renewed for a second series, so that at least is promising, though I hope they won’t drag out this storyline beyond its sell-by date. At this point at least, it’s gripping and thought-provoking entertainment.

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