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The series was broadcast in the U.S. on cable channel Showtime, and was produced by Fox 21 Television Studios (formerly Fox 21). It premiered on October 2, 2011. The first episode was made available online more than two weeks before the television broadcast, with viewers having to complete game tasks to gain access. The series' eighth and final season premiered on February 9, 2020. The finale aired on April 26, 2020.
While on leave from the CIA, Carrie is recruited for an intelligence gathering mission in Beirut. Brody strengthens his position as a potential running mate for Vice President Walden, while still under the command of Abu Nazir.
Season 3 (2013)
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Langley, Brody has fled the country while Carrie strives to clear his name. An initiative by CIA director Saul Berenson targets Iranian intelligence officer Majid Javadi, who financed the Langley bombing.
Season 4 (2014)
Carrie is working as CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan and later in Islamabad, Pakistan. She oversees a botched drone strike on the suspected location of terrorist mastermind Haissan Haqqani, which causes strife within the CIA and provokes the extremely dangerous terrorist. Carrie recruits a young asset in an attempt to track down Haqqani. Information provided to the Pakistanis by a disgruntled American leads to disastrous results.
Season 5 (2015)
Two years after the events of season 4, Carrie is no longer an intelligence officer and is now working as head of security for a private charitable foundation and its billionaire owner in Berlin, Germany.
Season 6 (2017)
Several months after the previous season, Carrie is back in the United States, living in Brooklyn, New York. She now works at a foundation that provides aid to Muslims living in the United States. The season features the election of the first female president and occurs between election day and inauguration day.
Season 7 (2018)
Carrie has left her job in the White House and moved back to D.C. to live with her sister Maggie. She takes on the Keane administration to secure the release of 200 members of the intelligence community who were arrested under President Keane's orders the previous season.
Season 8 (2020)
Saul, now National Security Advisor to President Warner, is sent to Afghanistan to engage the Taliban in peace negotiations. He needs help from Carrie, who is recovering from her confinement in a Russian prison.
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, Brody's wife. Assuming her husband is dead, she has a relationship with Mike. She struggles to adjust when Brody returns after such a long absence (seasons 1-3).
David Harewood as David Estes, 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 (seasons 1-2).
Diego Klattenhoff as Mike Faber, a U.S. Marine Major (formerly Captain in season 1). Brody's best friend who, assuming Brody is dead, begins a relationship with Jessica (starring seasons 1-2, guest season 3).
The series was passed on by FX before landing at Showtime who green-lit a 12 episode order on April 7, 2011. 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.Ben Affleck was originally slated to direct the pilot.
On July 21, 2011, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Showtime announced that the series would premiere on October 2, 2011. Along with the announcement of the premiere date for the series, 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. The series is produced by Fox 21.
In September 2016, Gansa announced that he would be crafting the eighth season as the series' last. He pointed out that the decision would ultimately fall on Showtime, but that he would be moving toward an eight-season close. He also stated that it would be his desire to film the final season in Israel, where Homelands source series, Prisoners of War, originated.
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." Other actresses considered for the Mathison role included Robin Wright, Maria Bello and Halle Berry. 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."Laura Fraser was initially cast as Jessica Brody, "Nick Brody's smart, strong wife.", but after the pilot Fraser was replaced by Morena Baccarin. 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." Gansa pushed for Lewis in the Brody role despite hesitations from series producers in favor of Ryan Phillippe, Kyle Chandler and Alessandro Nivola.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."
Beginning in season four, the showrunners began taking over the top floor of City Tavern Club in Washington D.C. for "Spy Camp". According to Gansa, the day would start at 8a.m. and end after 10p.m. where the writers, producers and some actors would meet with former CIA, ambassadors, ex-military, journalists and intelligence officers to discuss national security issues to inform the storylines. "Spy Camp" experts included A. Elizabeth Jones, Stanley A. McChrystal, Dana Priest and Michael Hayden.
Washington Post writer Barton Gellman connected the Homeland team on an hours-long video call with Edward Snowden before he appeared in documentaries or did interviews. According to Patinkin, they could not "budge him from his soapbox" to discuss personal information while Snowden was in Moscow.
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 is set. Production claims it is easier to get around the area's smaller city atmosphere rather than in large cities where filming typically occurs. 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."
Production for season two began in May 2012 with the series filming in Israel for two weeks, with Israeli cities standing in for Beirut. The rest of the season was filmed in Charlotte and Concord, North Carolina.
The sixth season began production in August 2016 and filmed in New York City and Morocco. The seventh season began production on September 11, 2017, and primarily filmed in Richmond, Virginia. Additional filming for season seven occurred in Budapest, Hungary, for episodes 11 and 12. The eighth season began filming in February 2019 in Morocco.
Since the conclusion of season 2, several pieces of in-universe material have been published.
HomelandAftermath.com provides a deeper look into the aftermath of season 2, with news reports and survivors' accounts.
Twentieth Century Fox partnered with Audible.com to offer Phantom Pain - A Homeland Story (2014), a 30-minute audio piece narrated by Damian Lewis, which details Brody's movements between seasons 2 and 3 of the show.
Homeland: Carrie's Run (2013) is a novel that tells the story of Carrie Mathison in a series of events that take place before season 1.
Another prequel novel set in 2009, Homeland: Saul's Game (2014), was released on October 7, 2014.
The first season received near universal acclaim. Metacritic gave it a rating of 92 out of 100 based on 29 critics.TV Guide named it the best TV show of 2011 and highly applauded the performances given by Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. 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. The second season also received near universal acclaim, achieving a Metacritic rating of 96 out of 100 from 21 critics. The third season initially received generally favorable reviews, with a rating of 77 out of 100 based on 23 critics, but reviews became more negative as the season progressed.
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's 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." Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave it a solid A grade, and said it was his favorite drama pilot of the season.Entertainment Weeklys Ken Tucker gave it an A-, stating "It's the fall season's most intriguing, tense puzzler."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". 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.
Greg Dixon of The New Zealand Herald criticized Homelands thin plotting, Danes's "insane levels of overacting", and Lewis's "passivity". Robert Rorke of the New York Post wrote about the third season that "[s]eldom in the history of cable TV has a series imploded as quickly as Showtime's Homeland. [...] The show, in the middle of its third season, is now impossible to take seriously." In 2014, Laura Durkay of The Washington Post criticized Homeland for its portrayal of Islamophobic stereotypes and called it "the most bigoted show on television.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Homeland and is known to be a fan of the show. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office asked for early screeners of episodes from the first season.
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. The final episode of season one received 1.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched season finale of any first-year Showtime series. Ratings increased in Season 2, peaking with 2.36 million viewers for the December 9, 2012 first-run broadcast.
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. Season 2 saw a drop in viewership, with the season two premiere drawing in 2.3 million viewers, but the finale only 2.1 million.
In October 2012 the Lebanese government was reportedly planning to sue the show's producers, asserting misrepresentation of Hamra Street in Beirut, Lebanon. Specifically, in the second episode of the second season "Beirut Is Back", the street was shown as a narrow alleyway with militia roaming and associated with terrorist activity. In reality, the Lebanese government says, it is a bustling modern hub of cafes and bars. The Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said he would take legal action over the lies, saying "Beirut is one of the most secure capitals in the world, more secure than London or New York." Although Homelands co-creator, Gideon Raff, is Israeli and thus forbidden from entering Lebanon, Abboud also protested the filming of episodes in Israel rather than Lebanon.
Peter Beaumont of The Guardian wrote about the portrayal of Muslims in the series: "High-profile Muslims living in the US share a secret: both willingly or otherwise they are covert helpers of Abu Nazir, the al-Qaida terrorist leader. In other words, it does not matter whether they are rich, smart, discreetly enjoying a western lifestyle or attractive: all are to be suspected."
Raff's works, Homeland included, have been criticized for their portrayal of Muslims. In an article for Salon, Laila Al-Arian called the show the most Islamophobic show on television, accused it of portraying Muslims under the light of simplistic concepts and as a monolithic, single-minded group whose only purpose is to hurt Americans, and basing the Brody character to such an extent on "pseudo-psychology that only an audience conditioned by the Islamophobic, anti-Arab tropes in our media could find him consistent." She further criticizes the show for fanning hysteria of Muslim "infiltration" of the United States; poor mastery of even basic Arabic; misrepresentation of Islamic and Arab culture; and simplifying the politics of militant Islamic organizations, for instance by conflating groups that in real life are rivals.
An article in The Atlantic by Yair Rosenberg challenged al-Arian's criticisms, arguing that they missed what made the show valuable, which was that it was no gung-ho salute to U.S. militarism and tactics on the war on terror nor a black-and-white portrayal of good Americans versus evil Muslims, but rather a show that challenges the prejudices of its viewers rather than affirming them. Similarly, Zach Novetsky asserted that al-Arian's criticisms were a function of the show's having enough "depth and layers for someone to concoct a totally inaccurate interpretation of what the show really is about."
Middle East commentator Rachel Shabi wrote that Homeland's take on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East does little more than defend the talking points of its advocates, presenting even U.S. violence against civilians as "necessary acts in pursuit of far worse crimes".
Middle East policy expert Fawaz Gerges told TheWrap, "Homeland is poisonous to any attempt to bridge the divide between the two nations [United States and Iran]".
The German news magazine Der Spiegel said that the show depicts "hysterical CIA agents in a hysterical country," and demonstrates the "paranoid tactics that delegitimize its democracy" that the United States has applied and exceeded in real life, such as the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.
In a 2014 report, the human rights group Amnesty International found relatively high levels of popular support for torture in the U.S. and Britain, in part due to the glorification of torture allegedly found in popular English language TV shows such as 24 and Homeland.
In October 2015, three graffiti artists hired to add graffiti writings on the set of a season 5 episode (intended to portray a refugee camp on the Lebanon-Syria border) to add "authenticity" to the scenes, wrote instead slogans accusing the show of racism.