Homeland—Season 1

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Solid acting and great drama



Terrorism hits home!

CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has just learned about a secret plot that could destroy the United States in the battle against terrorism.  Her informant before his death reveals a POW has been turned into an assassin…but Carrie has no idea who it is.  When Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) resurfaces from the dead as part of a two man sniper team that was captured by Abu Nazir (Navid Neghban), Carrie suspects has been turned.  Carrie and her boss Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) must determine if Brody is the threat as Brody tries to readjust to civilian life with his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) and his two children Chris (Jackson Pace) and Dana (Morgan Saylor).  Who is the assassin and what is his plan?


I will destroy you!!!

Homeland—Season 1 aired from October 2, 2011 to December 18, 2011 on Showtime and adapted the Israel series Hatufim (which translates to Prisoners of War).  The show was met with critical acclaim and won Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Claire Danes), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Damian Lewis), Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (“Pilot”), Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (“Pilot”) with nominations for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (“Pilot), Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music, and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (“Marine One”).

I had a lot of friends watching Homeland when it came on and most were excited about it.  I didn’t get a chance to see it until much later and I did find it enjoyable as well.  With a smart story and a good cast, Homeland scores as a strong drama.


Carrie…always willing to go above & beyond the call of duty…

The story for Homeland is does lend itself to binge watching.  The story really moves from episode to episode and has a lot of twists and turns.  It feels like the story would be very finite in its telling, but the plotting is quite smart and keeps opening up more and more storyline potential.

The cast for the series is good.  Damian Lewis really holds his ground as the family man turned spy/assassin with an almost Munchausen syndrome.  Despite being a patriot, he is good because you can tell he really believes he is doing the right thing no matter how insane it seems.  He also does seem very “military” in his delivery and behavior and that helps make his character believable.

There is a lot of divisive reviews of Claire Danes.  I have friends who think she is awful and others who buy into her performance.  I actually feel she does the manic portions right and that was the pleasant surprise of the series.  If she had simply been a driven character (like Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty), the story would have no bite.  Instead both characters are so shattered that the story becomes unique.


How is it all connected? Skittles…taste the terrorist rainbow!

There is a great supporting cast for the show.  I like Mandy Patinkin and his relationship with the Carrie character.  He has essentially the straight man role caught between two insane people…and it is wrecking his own life.  Morena Baccarin is good as the confused wife but I do wish that her role had more meat to it this season.  I have a feeling that she’ll factor in more the second season as the political campaign ramps up.  I liked that the real factor became Brody’s daughter who is neither enamored with him (like his son) nor invested with him like her mother.  She’s the only one who seems to really question the fact that he acts bizarre.

Homeland is a good ride.  The show really reinvigorated the spy thriller and led to other copycat political war thrillers.  The show seems to really feel the void left by 24 (well at least the first few seasons of 24).  I do wonder about the use of Muslim terrorism which seems like a go-to for thrillers nowadays while showing little of the other side of Muslims.  I look forward to checking out Homeland—Season 2 soon to see where they take the story next.

Homeland—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:



1.1       Pilot Airdate:  10/02/11

After eight years as a prisoner of war by the al-Quaida, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) has been found alive after being presumed dead.  Unfortunately, CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) had been warned by an al-Quaida informant that an American P.O.W. had been turned by the enemy.  Brody is reunited with his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), his daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor), and his son Chris (Jackson Pace) who doesn’t even remember him.  Jessica also has moved on with the belief that her husband was dead and now finds herself in a relationship with his friend Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff).  Without the consent of her commanding officer Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie sets up a secret surveillance of Brody, the surveillance Virgil (David Marciano) and his brother make a surprising discovery about Brody while Brody recalls what really happened to his co-captive Tom Walker (Chris Chalk).



1.2       Grace Airdate:  10/09/11

Brody begins suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Saul gets Carrie a warrant for her surveillance but warns her that she only has four weeks to find evidence.  Mike is pressured to bring Brody back into the military to boost support for the war on terror.  Brody’s encounter with a reporter sends Brody out without surveillance.  Carrie gets proof of Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) resurfacing from a contact Lynne Reed (Brianna Brown) and hopes it can be the evidence she needs to tie to Brody.  Brody is hiding a secret in his garage and makes a big decision about his future.


“Clean Skin”

1.3       Clean Skin Airdate:  10/16/11

Carrie seeks information from the contact with the Prince and gets information from his phone.  Brody prepares to do a big national interview and Brody fights the urge to tell the truth on what happened.  Dana questions what to do about the interview and reveals to her mother that she knows about her and Mike.  Carrie suffers another setback with her contact.


“Semper I”

1.4       Semper I Airdate:  10/23/11

Brody begins to suspect Mike as he now finds himself being staked out by the Vice President’s advisor Elizabeth Gaines (Linda Purl) for office.  Carrie is forced to end her surveillance of Brody and questions how she can keep monitoring him. Carrie and Danny (Hrach Titizian) are assigned to find out who might have picked up the stolen Prince’s necklace, and Raqim Faisel (Omid Abtahi) and his wife Aileen Morgan (Marin Ireland) learn someone is on to them.  Carrie makes a desperate move to keep Brody in her sites.


“Blind Spot”

1.5       Blind Spot Airdate:  10/30/11

The last of the men who held Brody is captured and brought to the U.S.  Carrie finds herself stealing pills from her father (James Rebhorn) to deal with her disorder.  Saul’s wife Mira (Sarita Choudhury) returns home, but Saul is forced to cut her time with her due to the capture of an agent named Afsal Hamid (Waleed Zuaiter) who held and tortured Brody.  Saul and Carrie learn Brody is bring brought in as a consultant on the case against her wishes.  When disaster strikes, the chances of capturing Raqim Faisel and his wife could be limited.  As tempers boil over, Carrie worries her career could be over.


“The Good Soldier”

1.6       The Good Soldier Airdate:  11/06/11

With Afsal Hamid dead, Carrie forces those in contact with Hamid to have a lie detector test to force Brody to come clean about slipping him a razor.  Brody learns the truth about Mike’s relationship with his wife.  Raqim and Aileen are on the run and find themselves being targeted.  Saul discovers his marriage is falling apart and it could affect the lie detector test.  When Carrie learns Brody is planning not to take the lie detector test, she decides to try to ensure that he’ll be there…by crossing the line.


“The Weekend”

1.7       The Weekend Airdate:  11/13/11

Carrie continues her affair with Brody to try to get him to slip up in his lies…which includes a weekend trip to her family’s cabin.  Dana has an accident at the house and gives Mike an ultimatum about his relationship with her mother.  Saul has been sent to Mexico to bring back Aileen in the hopes he can convince her to talk about her contact to the terrorists.


“Achilles Heel”

1.8       Achilles Heel Airdate:  11/20/11

Tom Walker (Chris Chalk) is alive and could be targeting the President as the sleeper spy.  As Brody is courted as a potential candidate for Congress, Carrie and Saul are forced to work with the FBI to try to bring in Walker…leading to a disastrous apprehension attempt.



1.9       Crossfire Airdate:  11/27/11

The shooting at the  mosque has raised tempers among Muslims and leaves Carrie trying to broker a deal between FBI investigator Hall (Billy Smith) and the imam of the mosque (Sammy Shiek) to get information about Walker.  Brody’s real ties to the terrorists are exposed as his time in captivity with Abu Nazir is revealed.  Carrie gets a big lead when she hears from a sympathetic voice in the mosque.


“Representative Brody”

1.10     Representative Brody Airdate:  12/04/11

Brody is moving into a position of power when Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) personally selects him to replace a member of the House of Representatives, but first he must convinces Jessica that it is the right thing.  Carrie and Saul’s investigation of the mosque has led them to a Saudi Arabian representative named Mansour Al-Zahrani (Ramsey Faragallah) and they hope a secret about his personal life could get him to turn over Walker…leading to a very risky move to flush Walker out.


“The Vest”

1.11     The Vest Airdate:  12/11/11

Brody is preparing for his campaign and is taking the family to Gettysburg before it kicks off…but Brody has ulterior motives for the trip.  Carrie works to recover from the explosion but suffers a swing in her mental state that could jeopardize the assignment and her job once Saul finds out.


“Marine One”

1.12     Marine One Airdate:  12/18/11

The Vice President (Jamey Sheridan) is about to make his big announcement about his bid for the Presidency, and Brody has a front row seat.  With Tom Walker in place as a sniper, Abu Nazir’s plan is unfolding, and Carrie is helpless to do anything about it.  As Saul tries to track down Abu Nazir’s missing time, Carrie makes one last desperate attempt to stop Brody from completing his mission.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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