Showtime’s critically acclaimed series “Homeland” is now in its sixth season. It tackles topical plots lines on national security and terrorism. After spending the last few seasons abroad, the spy thriller is refocusing on – well, the homeland.
When “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Alex Wagner visited the set in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the cast and crew were busy filming an upcoming episode. Set amid all the activity was a Greek Orthodox church, where Wagner sat down with stars Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin.
Danes’ Carrie Mathison has left the CIA for a non-profit legal aid center.
“She was pretty damaged by what was asked of her – in her work as an officer and grew to be kind of calloused and cynical and realized that she needed to take a different tack. And so she’s done that,” Danes said.
Mathison is also secretly advising the president-elect, a major new character playing the role of disruptor.
“We decided that our president-elect would be female, and were pretty sure that that was going to be a direct mirror – not so much,” Danes said. “But actually, they were careful to not quite hedge their bets. But she is a composite of the three major personalities of this last election cycle. And she’s similar to Hillary in that she’s female, but quite different in that she is outstanding because of her outsider quality. But anyway, so she’s a little rogue. But on the extremely liberal side.”
Also working with the incoming president in an official capacity is Mathison’s long-time mentor, Saul Berenson, a top deputy at the CIA.
“So, Mandy, how’s Saul doing this season?” Wagner asked Patinkin.
“How is Saul doing this season? Well, he’s doing well. He’s – good Lord. There’s nothing I can tell you without getting in trouble,” Patinkin said.
He understands the stakes for the intelligence community – both on-screen and in real life.
“Well, I meet them. I have dinner with them. I spend hours talking with them. I email them. I have a relationship with them. They are human beings, first and foremost. They care equally about this country. They care about people all over the world,” Patinkin said. “They are faced with incredible challenges to protect the citizens of the United States of America, and to give the president of the United States of America information that he cannot acquire any – by any other means. That’s their job. They are challenged to the height. They are concerned beyond imagination, both in the fictional world and in the real world. They are attentive to us and our needs because we are – how do I say it? We’re a part of their game.”
“People all over the world watch us represent this institution,” Patinkin added. “They are not unconcerned with how they’re represented, and the information they supply to us. They understand that we’re a television show.”
“There is a discussion happening in Hollywood about the responsibility of the media in portraying Muslims?” Wagner asked.
“Yes,” Patinkin said.
“Where do you sit on that, in terms of this show’s responsibility?” Wagner asked.
“I sit right in the middle of it. I’m part of the responsibility. I hope to be part of the cure, and I’m without a doubt part of the problem,” Patinkin said. “So, we have to work very hard, and we do, at attending to the Muslim/Islamic community’s concerns about how they are portrayed in the media, in the world, in every area imaginable. And we are one of those portrayers, and we must up our game in that area, and we are.”
Mathison’s most lasting relationship has been with Berenson. Her romantic entanglements have not ended well for Nicholas Brody, Aayan Ibrahim and Peter Quinn.
“It’s very dangerous to date Carrie Mathison,” Danes said. “You will most likely end up in a morgue, basically. She’s a bit of a black widow. But maybe it was worth it?”
“Claire, but people really want to see Quinn and Carrie – just they want the little heart over the happy ending,” Wagner said.
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s not the ‘Homelandian’ way. The heart or the happy ending,” Danes said. “But no, I’m sure she’ll find someone else who might be more appropriate at some point along her trajectory. I don’t know. I hope so. I always wish for – you know, for a little domestic bliss, a little easygoing happiness for my girl Carrie ‘cause she’s earned it. I think she deserves a reprieve.”
More than perhaps any other show on television, “Homeland” often finds itself in the crosshairs of current events. This season is no different: Danes says to expect an examination of the tension between fear and national security.