Homeland season 2 ended with Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) having decided to stick her neck out for Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), minus any guarantee that her choice won’t eventually culminate with Brody’s death and Carrie being kicked out of the CIA – permanently this time – or worse, indicted for assisting a fugitive (potential) terrorist.

As the season 3 trailer reminds us, though, the fates of these characters won’t be revealed in the immediate future. Carrie and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) have their hands full, during the aftermath of a devastating attack on U.S. soil that removed several important Homeland players from the equation. It’s all hands on deck for the CIA right now, which explains why the cunning Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) shows up multiple times in the new S3 preview.

Not to mention, Saul’s buddy Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) will be called in to help with the situation. In fact, Abraham – along with Sarita Choudhury (who portrays Saul’s wife, Mira) – has been upgraded to full-time cast member status for this new season. If that means more grumpy old bearded guys reminiscing about the Cold War over waffles, that’s fine by me.

Adal’s cloak and dagger methods ought to prove useful for him along the way, as the overarching story will include fewer 24-style fireworks, violent interrogation sessions and mad-dash terrorist hunts (as happened in season two). Instead, co-showrunner Alex Gansa has claimed that the plan for S3 is for something “that is sort of a little more John LeCarré,” with a focus on power-plays and machinations taking place behind closed doors at the CIA headquarters (even while new enemies and threats crop up around the world).

Elsewhere in the world, Brody – with a cleanly-shaven head – looks to be getting in new kinds of trouble, judging by the footage of him running around in a hoodie and firing rounds in the (South America?) jungle. Nicholas won’t be the only member of the Brody clan who has more than emotional baggage to deal with in season 3. As illustrated by the trailer footage of Jessica (Morena Baccarin) and Dana (Morgan Saylor) being hounded by paparazzi photographers and media reporters, Nick’s actions will continue to haunt his wife and children from both within and the outside world.

Dana’s personal woes during season 2 would sometimes provide an interesting complimentary subplot – when juxtaposed with the central narrative proceedings – yet, at other times, it tended to feel like a concerted (read: strained) effort by the show’s writers to give the Dana character something interesting to do. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes for the better in season 3, between Dana’s teen angst – prompting her to snap topless selfies (for a new admirer?) – and taking up her father’s religious practices.

If things play out well, then the traumatized Brody daughter’s problems will help to emotionally ground the bigger events (read: issues of nationals security) as they unfold in the days ahead. That goes double for the drama teased in the Homeland season 3 trailer’s foreboding conclusion, teasing another poignant exchange – where Saul must, yet again, apologize to and comfort a visibly distressed Carrie. (Any guesses as to the bad news that she’s just gotten this time around?)

Here is the official synopsis for Homeland season 3:

[The season picks up] during the aftermath of the horrific terror attack that decimated the U.S. intelligence apparatus, and prompted a global manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist — Nick Brody. As Carrie and Saul begin to pick up the pieces of their shattered professional and personal lives, they are swept up in the political and media firestorm surrounding the terror attack and the subsequent search for Brody’s whereabouts.

Will the new season of Homeland feature the TV series back in top condition, after the second season proved to be something of a mixed bag (multiple Golden Globe wins non-withstanding)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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