The new Showtime series ‘Homeland’ is a CIA thriller based on the Israeli television series ‘Hatufim’ (Prisoners of War). The Israeli version follows two IDF reservists after they are released from 17 years of captivity in Syria and how their lives are different after returning home.
The American version, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m., centers on Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a strong but flawed CIA officer trying not to repeat mistakes that led to the 9/11 attacks. She learns from a condemned Iraqi informant that “an American prisoner of war has been turned.”
As far as she knows, there are no American prisoners of war. Ten months later, U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, presumed dead for the past eight years, is recovered from Baghdad during a raid on a militant compound. Despite all of the pride flowing through the CIA and military circles regarding his recovery, Carrie immediately suspects Sgt. Brody is the “turned” American she had been warned about and begins an illegal surveillance of his home. The viewer is left to wonder who the villain really is.
Growing up in the 1980s, Hollywood never left you wondering who the bad guys were going to be. It was the Russians. The Americans were always the good guys, fighting against Communists to preserve the American way of life. In the years after 9/11 this is not the case.
More often than not, today’s bad guys, radical Islamist terrorists, became terrorists only because we somehow made them do it. The U.S. government or the military are really the bad guys. Welcome to life in the age of political correctness and Saul Alinsky tactics.
That’s why ‘Homeland’ is such a breath of fresh air.
When Showtime first announced that they would be distributing a television series about a CIA officer investigating radical Islamist terrorists, conservative viewers were probably tentatively optimistic. Learning that the series would be produced by the same group who brought us the Fox hit ’24’ may have eased some, but not all, concerns. Conservative viewers do not want to see Americans portrayed as bad guys when they fight evil. Nor do they want to have to listen to ignorant actors who label them as tea-bagging racists.
The Hollywood Reporter recently published an article about actors that Republicans and Democrats refuse to pay to see. Tops on the list were Sean Penn for Republicans and Charlton Heston for Democrats, despite the fact that Heston died in 2008 and his last real film was released in 2003. The list of actors that Republicans refuse to pay to see appears to be getting longer by the day. The producers of next year’s ‘The Avengers’ are probably hoping that the desire of those who want to support Robert Downey, Jr. will outweigh any misgivings over avowed Occupy Wall Street supporter Mark Ruffalo (cast as the Hulk’s alter ego Bruce Banner).
This feeling toward actors also extends to cable news anchors and the media in general. So, when the preview for the third episode of ‘Homeland’ showed Sgt. Brody being interviewed by admitted socialist Lawrence O’Donnell, conservative viewers may have been left thinking “Oh, great. Here we go again. Another show I’ll have to stop watching.”
Thankfully, those feelings were quickly laid to rest. For now, the show is an apolitical look at the War on Terror. O’Donnell’s questions were straight-forward and honest, the complete antithesis of his disgusting interview of Presidential candidate Herman Cain.
In fact, when Sgt. Brody’s wife asks him if he is nervous about the interview, his response is “No. I was told that Lawrence O’Donnell gives everyone a hard time except guys in uniform.” That may be putting it lightly.
Whether the lack of a political ideology continues throughout the series, which will return for a second season, remains to be seen. Thus far, viewers have been treated to a suspenseful thriller with the only question being, who really is Sgt. Nicholas Brody?