Has the major star of a TV series ever spent so much time off-screen for strictly creative reasons? Damian Lewis only appeared in one of the first seven episodes of Showtime’s Homeland season 3 this fall. Then, on Sunday, his character Nicholas Brody came back to the foreground in a riveting hour. The episode depicted Brody withdrawing from heroin and then was getting built back up by a special-ops team charged with preparing him for a dangerous assassination mission in Iran. Despite winning an Emmy for his role on the show last year, Brody’s off-screen time reflects the conundrum faced by Homeland writers after they spared Brody’s life last season: How best to fit a falsely accused terrorist who fled the country into a Virginia-based story about a CIA case officer?
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What were you told about your involvement in this season ahead of time?
DAMIAN LEWIS: It was actually only decided right at the very last minute. They always knew they’d need to tell some stories without Brody. They felt the flip-flopping between Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody couldn’t go on forever. As much as people love that story, it will only be loved as long as it’s compelling. They needed to give themselves some time to write another story and develop some plot.
There is varying opinion among fans, even those who like Brody’s character, how long his story should continue and whether he should have been killed off last season. What’s your take?