Showtime released a trailer Friday teasing season four of its popular CIA thriller “Homeland.” (Watch the video at the end of this post.)
“Homeland” creator Alex Gansa, along with fellow writers and producers Meredith Steihm and Alexander Cary, talked to reporters about what’s in store next season during Showtime’s portion of the TV critics’ press tour Friday in Beverly Hills. (Gansa & Co. also found themselves defending parts of season three that didn’t sit well with some critics.)
Here are 10 things to know about season four of “Homeland:”
1. The story picks up roughly six months after season three ended. Carrie’s (Claire Danes) head — if not her heart — is in a better place. “Emotionally she has stabilized,” Stiehm said. “The [bipolar] mental illness that we’ve dealt with she has now dealt with, and she’s going into this season very steady.”
2. Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes) has had a change of travel plans since the season finale. Instead of heading to Istanbul, Turkey, to take over as CIA station chief, she’ll end up in far more dangerous territory: Islamabad, Pakistan. “We spent about two weeks seriously considering the possibility of setting the show in Israel this season,” Gansa said. “All I can tell you is I’m very happy that we didn’t.”
3. It’s being shot in Cape Town, South Africa. “Though Cape Town might not seem like an ideal place to shoot for Islamabad, it’s actually amazing,” Gansa said. “A lot of Bollywood films have started shooting in Cape Town, and there’s a big expatriate community of Pakistanis and Indians there which provides us extras and great character actors.”
4. Carrie has given birth to (RIP) Brody’s (Damian Lewis) baby, but we won’t be seeing too much of Brody Jr. “The place that she’s in now is a place where you cannot have dependents, so she was forced to leave the child at home,” Gansa said. Carrie’s dad would be the natural choice for caretaker but the actor who played him, James Rebhorn, passed away in March from melanoma. “We want to honor him this season,” Gansa said. “But how we actually going about doing that, I’d rather not say.”
5. No longer at the CIA, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) makes the public-to-private sector jump. He’s now working for a private contractor, a la Blackwater. “Another interesting ramification of a military drawdown in Afghanistan, for example, is that private contractors become that much more important,” Gansa said. “That’s who Saul has gone to work for. So largely that’s how his character gets introduced back into that world.”
6. Sorry, fans of terminally mopey teenagers: Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) will not be back. That was the punch line to a joke Gansa made about the painful end to last season when viewers had to say goodbye to a beloved character (Brody). In fact, Gansa said none of the Brody clan is likely to be back this season.
7. “There’s a very big storyline with somebody [Carrie] is recruiting and trying to get close to and trying to get his trust,” Steihm said coyly, before copping to the fact that this somebody is played by Suraj Sharma. “We chased and chased him and just are so lucky to have gotten him,” Gansa said. “He’s a natural. And his work in ‘Life of Pi,’ I thought, was remarkable. So we’re catching him for a while.”
8. This one isn’t a certainty, but Gansa hinted at potential sparks — at some point — between Carrie and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend). “We have the character of Peter Quinn who’s hovering around the edges of Carrie and, I think, waiting to see when Carrie might be emotionally available for a relationship of some kind. Carrie has a process of grief to go through first before she’s going to be open to something like that.”
9. The overarching theme of the season explores the public and private costs of keeping America safe, Gansa said. “We put a character at the center of that, a compelling character, hopefully, in Carrie Mathison, to really identify the personal costs of the journey. But there also is a national cost to our policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan specifically. And one of the things that the intelligence officers and the State Department people were talking to us about in Washington is this idea that we have left Iraq and we are about to draw down in Afghanistan. Largely who’s left on the ground to pick up the pieces once the military draws down are intelligence officers and State Department people. And those are the embassies that are scattered in those two places, in Islamabad and Kabul. And that’s the story that we’re dramatizing this year. So it’s got some juice to it.”
10. Season four premieres at 8 p.m. (Chicago time) Sunday, Oct. 5.