New ‘Homeland’ Season 3 Plot Details; Showrunners Talks Abandoned Season 2 Plans

Published 2 years ago by

Homeland season 2 managed to follow in season 1’s footsteps by securing the Golden Globe for Best Drama. However, for many fans of the Showtime CIA drama series, it was a wild roller coaster ride – one that featured some extreme highs, but also lulls in storytelling that were all the more obvious by comparison.

Regardless, the game-changing event that transpired in the season 2 finale offered more than just the characters a new (if traumatic) beginning. It also laid down the groundwork for a third season that could throw unprecedented challenges at the brilliant – but not always stable – Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), in addition to Carrie’s loyal mentor/friend and the new acting CIA director, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).






As the latest short Homeland season 3 teaser suggests, the U.S. government will be demanding answers and accountability during the immediate aftermath for that devastating terrorist attack that occurred during the (ex-)Vice President Walden’s memorial service – one which not only left the CIA as an organization crippled, but may lead to awkward questions about the (presumed-dead) man who appears to be responsible: the former POW Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis).

Homeland co-showrunner Alex Gansa has addressed the state of things, when season 3 picks up (via THR):

“As a result of the attack last year, the CIA itself is on trial. Saul finds himself in a unique position that he’s never been in before. He’s in the director’s chair. He has to make some very uncharacteristic choices that he’s not comfortable making… Both Carrie and Saul feel a devastating amount of guilt from this loss. Even though they’re estranged, they experienced that trauma in a way that no one else has.”

Saul’s old acquaintance Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) – who will become a full-time cast member in season 3 – foreshadowed rough waters ahead for the former back in season 2, when he accused Saul of having never been cut-out for their line of work. Combine that with Saul’s continued frustration – one also shared by a number of Homeland viewers no doubt – about Carrie’s true Achille’s Heel (i.e. her love for Brody), and the days ahead look to really test the character’s loyalties to his protege (and vice versa).

homeland season 3 plot details New Homeland Season 3 Plot Details; Showrunners Talks Abandoned Season 2 Plans

On that note: the scenes focused on Brody and Carrie’s relationship during season 2 started to become tests in patience along the way (in this writer’s opinion). That was not so much due to the romantic elements, but more because it seemed as though no matter how outlandish it became for Brody to still be alive, the character just kept on miraculously surviving by the skin of his teeth. It started to get to a point where it seemed as though the show, as a whole, might have benefitted from Brody having died at the end of season 1, as was the showrunners’ original plan.

Interestingly, Gansa and fellow Homeland co-creator Howard Gordon also originally had plans to kill off Brody in season 2 (as the latter revealed during a TV Academy panel at 20th Century Fox’s Zanuck theater):

“We had sketched out this plan in the early parts of season two which called for Brody’s demise, which may have been premature, and [Showtime] asked us to reconsider. [Call it] the happy accident of having very good partners.”

The full Homeland season 3 trailer reveals that Brody will be getting up to trouble elsewhere in the world, while his family – who believe him to be both dead and guilty of executing the deceased Abu Nazir’s (Navid Negahban) final strike – attempt to move forward with their lives. As more food for thought, with respect to what might’ve been: there were plans for Carrie to join Brody as a believed-dead fugitive on the lam, which ended up being scrapped:

According to [former co-showrunner Meredith Steihm], who has since left Homeland to run FX drama The Bridge, the writers all wanted Carrie (Claire Danes) to go with Brody across the border in the season two finale instead of returning to the CIA.  In fact, in the first draft, she did. After much debate, they ultimately decided it was more in character for Carrie to stay and carry out her mission with the Agency after helping Brody escape safely to an underground network.

Viewers will have to wait at least one episode to find out what’s next for Brody, as Gansa said that “his presence wasn’t required” in the season three premiere. While it might’ve been interesting to see Carrie use her covert operations knowledge and connections to keep Brody and she globe-trotting under the radar in season 3, right now it feels as though the showrunners have gotten all the mileage they can (as far as progressing the overarching story while the two characters are together).

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in Homeland  New Homeland Season 3 Plot Details; Showrunners Talks Abandoned Season 2 Plans

Shortly after season 2 concluded, the Homeland showrunners teased that season 3 wouldn’t have the 24-style narrative of the previous seasons – where Carrie must race against time in order to prevent an impending terrorist attack – and that the writers were considering a more slow-burn approach (a la a John LeCarré story like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), focused on the daily going-ons in the CIA and the missions they undertake in the name of national security.

Here is the latest, with regard to what viewers can expect from Homeland season 3:

When asked if season three will feel different from the first two, [co-showrunner Alexander] Cary explained that “in the first two seasons you see Carrie and the CIA on the defensive, and now you see them on the offensive,” which he hopes will be especially interesting paired with the unfinished love story. Gansa added that a big theme of the new season is the toll that being an intelligent officer takes on Carrie and Saul, especially now that the stakes are so exponentially high.

During season 2, the Homeland showrunners and writing staff relied on a number of storytelling contrivances and cheap short-cuts, which ultimately did get them where they wanted to go – but, occasionally at the expense of the characters’ development and those political themes/ideas that are fundamental to the show. Having said all that, season 3 will pick up in an interesting place – and could pave the way for more well-conceived and fascinating developments in the future.

For more on what might’ve been in season 2, check out this breakdown of the Fox theater Homeland panel.


Homeland season 3 premieres Sunday, September 29th @9pm on Showtime.

Source: THR

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Homeland
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  1. The way it ended basically killed the show for me. Not looking forward to this season.

    Hey, is Last Resort still on?

  2. I can’t wait for its return.

    I’m assuming that Damian Lewis and his sudden popularity during season 1 helped keep the character alive and the showrunners decided to keep people happy by writing him as still being alive, just would’ve been interesting to see how season 2 would’ve played out without Brody.

    The one good thing that came out of him being alive was that we got to see him and Nazir as sympathetic characters thanks to the US drone strike that destroyed the school, killing innocent children and showing the Western world the kind of things that get ignored in our own media (mainly US aggression and drone strikes that kill innocents in the name of stopping terrorism and thus becoming terrorists themselves to the people in those countries).

    Thought that was interesting and extremely brave of them to do so, thankfully there was no backlash about that.

    I can honestly see Brody returning, killing his best friend and taking his family hostage in the vain hope of getting his life back and ending up being shot by a sniper from his old unit that could be now working for the CIA/FBI in a nice full circle kind of closure. Just don’t see a need for him to come back into the show but doing it that way could tie off the Brody family’s threads while we move onto Saul, his wife and Carrie’s dad and sister.

    • Americans are not targeting innocents in drone strikes.
      Terrorist do target innocents and that is a key distinction.

      • Don’t get political. Lots of non-terrorists have been killed by Americans as part of the war on terror. If a group from Uganda came to America and killed a few innocents, we as a country would want to invade that entire country and would persecute all Ugandans. I am not pro-terrorist or a muslim, but you have to look at it from both sides.

        • “Don’t get political” and then you get political.
          I stated a fact using my right of free speech.
          Americans do not target innocents. Period.

      • @Robert Palmar

        Gonna have to disagree here.

        I never said Americans target them, just that they kill more of them than they kill terrorists.

        That’s why both sides are as bad as each other. That’s also why I was ashamed that the US could lock Bradley Manning in jail for up to 90 years for trying to highlight the few bad ones who enjoy killing innocent people while over there fighting terrorists and genuinely DO target innocents on purpose.

        • I did not say you said Americans target innocents.
          I was saying there is not the equivalence of culpability
          on both sides because Americans do not target innocents.

          Americans are not terrorists because innocents are killed.
          Americans were attacked, where I live, all innocents
          and what is happening now is all a result of that.

          The happen to disagree with the current administration’s
          preference to use drone attacks to the messy work of
          capture, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorists.
          I would favor the use on only proven hard targets.

          The overuse and the injudicious use of drone attacks leads to
          the death of innocents but no one can say more innocents
          than terrorists have been killed even with the overuse.
          Listening to those targeted they all claim innocence.

          • *I* happen to disagree

      • Pretty sure when they don’t care about innocent people if they have a chance to take out the “Big Man” they’re after.

  3. Morena Baccarin has been great on this show.
    Unappreciated, in my view, and I imagine
    there will be very little of her this year.

    • I surely hope not…
      For the first 2 seasons one of the best parts of Homeland was seeing Brody trying to navigate between his two life’s and after spending so much time with his family it would be a total shame if we didn’t see the fallout of Brody being outted.
      It might not be fun to watch but seeing how his actions have affected his family is ripe for some pretty compelling drama and would be just as interesting to watch as the other side of the show.

      • The family dynamic was very compelling and
        I too am just as interested in the consequences
        there as anywhere else on this show but I have the
        sense the showrunners are moving away from all that.

        We will have to see though in all the promotions
        for the new season Morena Baccarin is missing
        unless I missed it and I am not encouraged.

    • She was great on that show…. when she was naked.

      • There is a quite lot more to appreciate of
        Morena Baccarin besides her undeniable beauty.
        Morena Baccarin is great on the show dressed or not.

  4. The first handful of episodes for season 2 were fantastic IMO. Everything was happening at such a break-neck pace that each week was more thrilling than the last.
    But then we got to the pacemaker episode and the episode with Carrie held hostage in the warehouse and things got a bit wonky. None of it was so bad that it changed my enjoyment of the show it was just a bit 24ish and up until then the writers had done such a great job of avoiding that.