Brody lives! But is that a good thing for Homeland? Some thought it was time for Damian Lewis’ character to leave the show, but Homeland producers have other plans. Below, showrunner Alex Gansa and executive producer Howard Gordon took questions from reporters on a conference call. Producers were cagey and non-committal on several key topics. But here’s what we think we learned.
– Damien Lewis was supposed to die — again! “There was a plan very early on to kill Brody in episode 7 or 8 this year,” Gansa says. “We felt there was enough story between these two characters to tell through [the end of the season] and that there probably is another chapter in that story, but frankly we don’t know what it is yet … The show really elevates when Carrie and Brody are together on screen, so I think that definitely mitigated the possibility of keeping him alive and giving him a role down the line.” Lewis winning an Emmy for his performance, Gordon says, wasn’t a factor in keeping him around though. “You can’t let all the awards and the acclaim dictate where the story would go,” he says. “You can’t let the tail wag the dog.”
– Carrie is not off the hook: “I don’t think Saul is going to be ignorant [of Carrie helping Brody in the finale] and I think Carrie has some explaining to do,” Gansa says.
– Carrie’s attention will shift to a new case: “Inevitably that’s going to happen,” Gansa says. “If you look at these two seasons, the Carrie and Brody story, we’ve told a significant part of that story …. There is a point where we’ll fall back on the franchise — Carrie and Saul trying to keep the world safe.”
– Brody and his family will almost certainly appear in season 3. The producers played it coy. “Damian’s involvement and his family’s involvement is very much up in the air in light of what happened in the finale,” Gansa says. “It’s a nice idea hanging over the next season: Where is Brody? What’s he doing?” But producers also say all the actors whose characters survived the finale (save F. Murray Abraham, who’s pending a negotiation) are signed on for season three. “What is Brody’s role going to be next season if he’s fugitive No. 1? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Gansa says. “The Carrie-Brody [relationship], we began to feel we were repeating ourselves slightly [in season two], so unless we can establish a different dynamic between these two characters, we don’t want to tell the same story again … if there’s a chapter three it needs to be a reinvention of some kind.”
– Season 3 might start with most assuming Brody is dead: “Posit this: The investigators are going to believe Brody was possibly in that car … if Brody was in his car, there’s a very good chance there would be absolutely nothing left of him,” Gansa says. “We also have our ever-present mole who could have been responsible for moving the car. Those are the possibilities that are running around in our head.”
– Brody probably wasn’t responsible for the finale attack. “A lot of people told me they still have a glimmer of doubt about Brody,” Gansa says. “And if you watch his behavior through finale there are moments where it’s a little uncertain as to whether or not he may have been responsible. He was willing to blow himself up in the first season, so it very well may have been a suicide play. But you’re smart to notice it was Carrie who motioned them out [of the memorial service].” Pressed on whether it would be plausible for Brody to execute the attack given what we’ve seen of him this season, Gansa says: “I agree with you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who don’t think of that possibility. I don’t want to dissuade anybody of that … if you look back on the season, you’d have to think hard and your brain would start hurting to understand why he did certain things if he was responsible at the CIA.” Adds Gordon: “People are reading into it more than anything… in our minds, you have to play fair with the audience. We’re astounded sometimes of what people read into it. Most notably Saul last year, he says the mourner’s prayer over a suspect, which is an act of his humanity, and people said suddenly he’s the mole.” Which brings us to…
– The CIA mole is probably not Saul. Gansa notes Saul was conceived as the show’s moral center. “From the very beginning that was always the case, that was the conception of Saul, which made it so strange that people were convinced he was the traitor,” Gansa says. “He was the guy who occupied the moral center of the show and very much so in the finale.”
– Saul might be pitted against the mysterious Dar Adal (Abraham) in season 3: “The intelligence community is decimated by this attack and how is the agency going to move forward?” Gansa says. “And one way it might move forward is to call recently retired intelligence officers to come back and rebuild the [agency]. And Dar Adal may be one of those people who are called back into the fold and that would immediately bring him into conflict with Saul.”
– Producers make no apologies for implausibilities. “One of the things the show does promise is twists and turns,” Gansa says. “I don’t think any of us are on the call to defend the season, mostly because we’re too close to it to know where we were successful or not with certain plot points. I think the show is always going to surprise and whether that’s plausible or implausible is for you guys to judge.”
– That silly car accident subplot was actually going somewhere at some point. “There was a deeper plan for that that morphed halfway through the season,” Gordon says. “It involved something with Brody’s political rise that was going to be leveraged against it … But really it was about Dana’s degrading connection with Brody. It was really as much about a character-thing and loss of innocence.” Gansa adds: “It was also meant to characterize Walden as the villain in the piece.”
– Carrie’s story in the finale is a mirror image of last season’s ending: “Last season ended with Carrie being the only one who thought Brody was guilty,” Gansa says. “Now she’s the only one who believes he’s innocent.”