We’ve become addicted to Homeland, Showtime’s award-winning thriller series about Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody’s return to the US after being held captive in Afghanistan for 8 years. Subjected to torture and isolation, he’s having trouble reconnecting with his wife and two children. CIA agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, is convinced he’s working as a terrorist and stops at nothing to find out. Mandy Patinkin plays her mentor, a paternal figure struggling to remain relevant as younger agents enter the field.
It’s cat and mouse, CIA, FBI, politics, military, terrorism, and romance all packed into 50 -minute segments, each ending with a cliff-hanger.
Not premium cable subscribers, we’re watching the series via On Demand and have four more episodes left of Season Two.
We’re staying up later than we have in years, compelled to watch another episode. And then another.
My knitting has suffered. I began a cowl with a seashell pattern and have ripped it several times. Usually I can knit the more complicated projects while watching television. Instead, I’ve switched to my “easy” car-project— the back of a pullover – that doesn’t require any concentration.
But then I can’t fall asleep. I’m wired awake, replaying the scenes, predicting what will happen next. And what’s worse—we’re talking about it as if it’s real. Discussing the characters’ motivations and behaviors, debating the plot’s probability, dissecting scenes for clarity.
What’s disturbing is how real it is. Beginning after the terrorist attack September 11, 2001, the story involves the search for al-Qaeda, how clues lead to actions, how seconds can turn plans into disasters. It’s history I remember vividly—and don’t want repeated.
It’s not like the television I grew up watching. As a child, I loved My Three Sons and Lassie. Then The Man from Uncle took over my imagination, and I pretended to be a Cold War spy with a few friends. We staged missions in the woods behind our house and had secret identities. As a teenager, I watched Mary Tyler Moore, perhaps inspiring my own decision to be a journalist. As adults, we’ve watched House, and a bit of Boardwalk Empire, and I can’t wait for the third season of Downton Abbey.
But none are as gripping as Homeland.
I won’t spoil the story by revealing too much. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it—if you don’t mind dropping stitches or losing sleep.