Showtime picked up Homeland for a full season just last week, and now the network has released a three-minute clip of the first episode.
The clip sets up the central conflict in the opening episodes of Homeland: an American soldier named Scott Brody (Damian Lewis) has been found alive in Iraq after years of captivity. CIA Agent Carrie Anderson (Claire Danes) suspects that the intelligence that lead to his rescue was planted, and Brody has become an Al Qaeda double agent.
The scene opens on field video of an American strike team storming a Middle East compound. In a clear allusion to the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003, a bearded and starving prisoner is lifted out of a spider hole saying "I'm an American." The scene shifts to a domestic CIA briefing where a director (David Harewood) spreads the good news.
But Anderson isn't buying it. The soldier was part of a sniper team, and his spotter is presumed dead. She seeks the advice of Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), telling him that she's been given intelligence that "an American prisoner of war has been turned". Brody is the only known POW in Iraq. Berenson tells her to find proof so that an undercover investigation can begin.
Watch the full clip here:
It's not hard to see Homeland's pedigree in the three-minute clip. Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, who both performed writing and producing duties for 24, fulfill the same duties on the new show. The themes of homeland security and three-letter government surveillance are abundantly clear.
That said, there's a much more subtle feel to Homeland. It's clear the producers are trying to tell a more real and sober story, focusing on the investigation into Brody's potential treason. The tension and frustration felt by Danes' character comes through loud and clear, as does the cautious prodding of Patinkin.
It's good to see both Patinkin and Danes in regular roles. Both are talented actors with established screen presence. Patinkin left the popular procedural Criminal Minds after only two seasons, as he was tired of working in an environment that supported violence on television. Danes has had only two major roles in the last two years, opposite Zac Effron in Me and Orson Welles and starring in the HBO biopic Temple Grandin.
Homeland's freshman season should premiere this fall on Showtime.