When Showtime's Homeland first premiered back in 2011, it was met with rapturous critical acclaim, and quickly assembled a dedicated group of fans. Stars Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, and Damian Lewis were all on the receiving end of awards attention for their performances as two dedicated, investigative CIA operatives and a former soldier who came back from the war after spending years being tortured and imprisoned in Afghanistan. Since the series' first, tense season, however, Homeland's critical attention and acclaim only seemed to decrease with each passing season, plateauing especially in its much-maligned third season.
For many viewers, the series' fourth and fifth seasons marked a much-needed return to form for the beloved spy drama, as it changed locations and its focus from Carrie (Danes) and Brody's (Lewis) problematic relationship to more underground spy and political matters. Just recently even, Homeland returned with its sixth season to similar attention as its previous two, providing some long-awaited answers to the cliffhangers from its season five finale.
Speaking with Deadline following said season six premiere as well, showrunner and producer Alex Gansa seemed to indicate that the series would be ending with its eighth season, teasing what fans can expect from its final two seasons:
"I’m absolutely building the story toward a conclusion and, barring unforeseen world events, we do really hope to go abroad for the last two seasons and to end the story there. We also hope to get Carrie back into the intelligence agency business. She’s been out of it now for two seasons and I think it’s time that she goes back into the fold and then winds up doing her job overseas somewhere.
Really, who knows what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen on the ground in the Middle East? What’s going to happen with the Iranian nuclear deal? What is the United States’ relationship going with Putin going to look like in Russia? These are all the questions that Homeland will be dealing with over the next two seasons, and we’ll take a bit of a wait-and-see posture before we start committing to anything, story-wise."
Right now, Homeland is dedicated to slowing things down in some ways, changing the focus from international terrorist threats to what life is like for the Muslim community actually living inside of America. With that being said, and considering the current political climate, Homeland has the ability to deliver is most politically interesting seasons to date if handled well and with care; even if that also means throwing out some of the bombastic, tense sequences that the series originally made its name for in its first five seasons. In conjunction with that thematic shift, Homeland also brought Carrie back from overseas to the United States, spending a majority of her time in season 6 living and operating within New York City.
Gansa seems to be hinting that Carrie will return to some of her more high-stakes, terrorist-focused missions in Homeland seasons 7 and 8, barring any major political changes within the United States between now and then. Is it also possible, that as the producer and showrunner teases, Russia could be brought into the show's story more in future seasons as well? If there was ever a time for it, it seems like these would be the seasons to address the U.S.' relationship with the nation.
Luckily, any future Gansa has planned or has in mind is guaranteed to be told through Homeland's eighth season, following a two-season renewal from Showtime last year. As such, it all just depends now on what the show's creative team most wants to focus on during Homeland's final two seasons - assuming they do wind up being the conclusion to the series' run.
Homeland season 6 continues next Sunday with ‘The Man in the Basement’ at 9pm on Showtime.