In his executive session for TCA critics in Los Angeles on Tuesday Showtime president of entertainment David Nevins spoke about the importance of taking risks with show development and storyline. And that’s precisely what the highly anticipated season 3 of “Homeland” aims to do. Carrie, Claire Danes’ character, continues to teeter on the brink of insanity. “Carrie is always sitting on, you know, her own personal ticking bomb, and it’s just an impossible dilemma because she is not great on the meds and she’s even worse off of them,” said Danes. Beyond that, producers made a bold choice to exclude Brody for at least the first two episodes of the season. According to showrunner Alex Gansa, it was a function of the story.
“So much was transpiring on the ground in Washington that Brody’s… flight from America just made it impossible to include that storyline in the first couple of episodes,” said Gansa. Actor Damian Lewis, who plays Brody, agreed, adding that he hopes viewers will be intrigued by his return. “When you do see Brody, I think hopefully [what] will be of interest to the audience, is what state will he be in?” he said.
Meanwhile, other characters, including Brody’s teenage daughter, live in the “collateral damage” of the explosion that takes place at the end of season 2, said executive producer Howard Gordon. On the power and role of imagery within the show, Gansa said that a key focus for the creators is presenting events that can be interpreted in myriad ways but that in the end rely on images to convey meaning. “The power of the image transcends any… obvious explanations, I think. And that’s when the show, I think, is functioning at its highest level,” he said.
The character of Saul, played by Mandy Patinkin, also undergoes incredible challenges in season 3 as a consequence of previous events. “With the actual existence of the CIA in question, he has to make some very uncharacteristic choices that he’s not comfortable making,” Gansa said. The trial that’s on display was in part influenced by the actions of Congressman Darrell Issa during January’s Benghazi tribunal, Gansa confirmed. As for the actors, Lewis reads newspapers, watches the news—particularly about the Middle East—and reads the Koran, in which he finds "endless sources" of material. Danes, by contrast, has turned to research and books on bipolar disorder for inspiration, as her character has fallen once again into a state of mental disrepair. “I did the bulk of my research before the first season, and I have little refresher courses,” said Danes. “It really is our job to interpret the heavy lifting that the writers do.”