“Homeland” had us at “hello.” Or rather, had us from the moment we realized that our fictional national security was in the hands of someone like Claire Danes’ character, Carrie Mathison — a dedicated CIA analyst who also happens to be secretly bipolar, possibly paranoid and has serious decision-making issues.
In episode one of Showtime’s quality re-do of the Israeli series “Prisoners of War,” we get some idea of what motivates Carrie — she feels personally responsible for 9/11 and for the death of an al Qaeda prisoner in Iraq years before. But before that prisoner died, he told her something — “An American prisoner of war has been turned.”
Thinking there were no live American POWs, she kept that information to herself. Until Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is found in an Afghanistan bunker, having endured eight years of captivity. He’s brought home and given a hero’s welcome.
Carrie is convinced he’s been turned by fictional terrorist mastermind Abu Nazeer and we want to believe her. The guy is, if nothing else, suffering from severe PTSD and having trouble re-integrating into a family that moved on during his eight-year absence — his wife sleeping with his best friend, his 16-year-old daughter no longer the lovable third-grader he left and a son who doesn’t remember him.
Is he a terrorist or a hero? That’s the crux of the show — watching Danes choke back self-doubt to doggedly pursue a one-woman (well, she freelanced a little bit of help from a surveillance team) crusade to expose and contain Brody.
Did you watch? Share your thoughts on Danes’ performance and the plot (was it believable?) below.