A Dysfunctional Spy – Political Animal

Homeland (US 2011-2020) is the brainchild of Howard Gordon and Alex Ganas from the Israeli series We are not dead (War prisoner), created by Gideon Raff. It started in 2011 and ended in 2020.

Initially, only one season was scheduled, but the success of the first opened the space for there to be eight with 12 chapters each, for a total of 96 episodes in eight years of transmission.

CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is the protagonist. He specializes in fighting terrorism, his boss and guide is Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). She suffers from bipolar disorder and therefore must be medicated. Only his father and sister know of this situation.

After leading an unauthorized operation in Iraq, he returns to the United States to take a position at CIA headquarters. From there he participates in multiple and complex missions where his heterodoxy in how to conceive espionage is always present. Berenson protects her. He knows of his ability regardless of his ways.

The scriptwriters and managers of the series met, in the years that it lasted, with active and retired CIA agents, State Department officials and journalists, to obtain first-hand information in order to “feed” the episodes of the different seasons.

Thus, the series assumes current affairs that occurred at the time the episodes were passing. That made it attractive and kept the interest of the general public. In each season the series reinvented itself and encompassed new themes. As a central element in the construction of the narrative, intrigue and unexpected turns always remained. Situations are not as they seem.

Throughout the episodes Mathison’s health condition is present, which complicates his work. Sometimes she doubts herself. What really happened? I imagine? He is always in danger and in events that seem to have no way out.

In the last season, Afghanistan and the foreign policy of the United States are presented, which is also addressed in other episodes, along with the discussion of what are the limits of National Security, inside and outside the country, and what is the role that plays the CIA. The end justifies the means?

The espionage cases that are brought up cover very different subjects and take place in very different places, including the interior of the United States. Always at the center of the story is Carrie and her close, paternal relationship with Berenson.

The seasons are uneven, the first two are the best, then it declines and in the end it becomes interesting again. Throughout the chapters there are many events that are unlikely, but still attract attention. They are part of the plot. They are inventions that have an effect.

Claire Danes’s performance in her role as Carrie Mathison is very good. It is not only the common thread but the center of the plot. Politics and espionage are personalized, humanized, in it. And also in his person ethical dilemmas and loyalties are present. Mandy Patinkin’s performance as Saul Berenson is also very good.

All eight seasons were hugely successful within the United States and in many countries around the world. The series won multiple awards, including five Golden Globe Awards and eight Primetime Emmy Awards. Claire Danes personally won many awards for best actress.

It was difficult for me to finish it, for long, but also because sometimes the treatment of the issues seemed exaggerated and not very credible. He had to let some time pass, and then come back. The performance of Danes and Patinkin always seemed good to me. The characters they represent are human and attractive. On one occasion then-President Barack Obama said that Homeland and Boardwalk Empire They were two series “that must be seen”.


Original title: Homeland

Production: United States 2011-2020

Direction: Lesli Linka Glatter, Michael Cuesta, Daniel Attias, Clark Johnson, Keith Gordon and 19 others.

Creator: Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa

Screenplay: Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff, Chip Johannessen and six others.

Photographer: Nelson Cragg, Giorgio Scali and David Klein

Music: Sean Callery

Performance: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, Morena Baccarin, Miranda Otto, Sebastian Koch, Nina Hoss, Elizabeth Marvel, Alexander Fehling, Beau Bridges, Sarah Sokolovic and 40 other actors.


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A Dysfunctional Spy – Political Animal