Patriots and pretenders populate ‘Homeland’By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Gripping in its portrayal of present-day paranoia, the series “Homeland” masterfully creates foreboding scenarios surrounding an impending terrorist attack on American soil.
Loosely based on the Israeli series “Hatufim (Prisoners of War),” the show was developed by Howard Gordon (former “24” show runner) and Alex Gansa (“X-Files,” “24” writer). It stars Claire Danes as CIA operations officer Carrie Mathison, who strongly suspects that a rescued US Marine sergeant, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), was converted by his terrorist captors and is tasked with a major mission against the United States.
“Homeland” easily establishes an uneasy yet believable atmosphere in the early episodes. Carrie, secretly suffering from manic depression, spies on the former prisoner of war through strategically placed surveillance cameras in his home. Convinced that he’s become a traitor after eight years in captivity, Carrie and a few trusted colleagues watch and wait for evidence that will confirm her suspicions.
Danes’ character presses on when she fails to find concrete proof. As someone who considers herself partly to blame for missing the clues to the 9/11 attacks, Carrie atones by taking talk of new threats seriously. She crosses the line at some point, doing the unthinkable to get her suspect to reveal the truth behind his survival.
Lewis as Nicholas/Nick Brody intrigues; there’s an inherent ambiguity to the character that makes it difficult to identify his true allegiance. Forced to assimilate back into his old life, Nick profoundly changes the lives of his stunned family, who all moved on long ago.
His wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) has begun dating his friend Mike (Diego Klattenhoff), who also assumed that Nick had been killed a long time ago.
The effective portrayals constantly engage viewers; Danes and Lewis were recently nominated for lead-acting Emmys in the male and female categories. The series itself was nominated for outstanding drama series.
And throughout its first season, questions are answered satisfyingly, while new mysteries are raised amid revelations of red herrings, duplicities and scapegoats. Emotionally inveigling, “Homeland” keeps us guessing and gives us convincing reasons to keep watching.
“Homeland” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
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