At a lunch with reporters Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills, "Homeland" showrunner Alex Gansa began by addressing the dramatic farewell of a major character in the Season 3 finale.
"This was a character who people loved to hate and people hated to love, and somebody we miss every day in the story room and on set," Gansa said. "And I can say unequivocally that Dana Brody will not be back for Season 4."
Kidding aside, the character Gansa was actually referring to was Nicholas Brody, the Marine/P.O.W./terrorist/congressman/international fugitive played by Damian Lewis and killed under highly dramatic circumstances.
Brody's tragic and highly public death brought an end to his wild romance with CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a relationship that dominated -- and some say derailed -- "Homeland" over the course of its first three seasons.
Season 4, which Gansa revealed will premiere Oct. 5, finds Carrie in her new role as station chief in Istanbul and trying to recruit new sources, one of whom is played by "Life of Pi" star Suraj Sharma. In a brief trailer played for reporters Friday, Carrie travels to Pakistan and appears to be longing for her infant daughter, left behind in America.
As Gansa has indicated in the past and reiterated once again Friday, the Brody storyline was initially only meant to last a single season, and the writers had always planned to send Carrie overseas. "It’s just taken us three seasons to get there instead of one," he said.
The overhaul is so complete that executive producer Meredith Stiehm compared writing this season to creating an entirely new series. "I think you could drop in and enjoy it like a new show."
As for Carrie, Gansa said that while she is in a stable place mentally, she continues to grieve the loss of Brody, and their baby acts as a "marker for her emotionally." As for how the series will handle the death of actor James Rebhorn, who starred as Carrie's father and the would-be guardian of her daughter, Gansa declined to elaborate, saying only that he "was one of the kindest, most supportive and wonderful men to work with and we want to honor him this season."
Some critics have permanently soured on "Homeland," which won an Emmy for oustanding drama series in its freshman season but was looked over in the category last week, but Gansa vehemently defended his show Friday.
"I don’t know how you can look at the last six or seven episodes that we did last season and not say that 'Homeland' is one of the best shows on television," he said. "The criticism hurt. The lack of an Emmy nomination hurt. But we’re going to come back strong and try to get to the mountaintop again."
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