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‘Homeland': How Carrie Mathison Spends the Final Season in Nick Brody’s Shoes

TCA 2020: Alex Gansa tells TheWrap why they didn’t want to have Damian Lewis return

“Homeland” is flipping the script on its lead character for its final season.

The eighth and final season, which debuts in February, sees Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) suffering trauma and falling under suspicion from the U.S. government that she may have been turned into a Russian spy, after spending time as a Russian prisoner. If that sounds like its similar to the show’s first season, it is. The first season it was Mathison who was suspicious (correctly, it turned out) that Damian Lewis’ Nick Brody, who was returning from a years-long stint in captivity, had been turned into an enemy asset.

“Homeland” co-creator Alex Gansa said the symmetry of using the role-reversal storyline for the final season came as a happy accident, given the seventh season ended with Carrie getting out of a Russian prison after seven months. “That just naturally led to the idea that she would become Nick Brody in a way,” Gansa told TheWrap Monday during the Television Critics Association press tour. “For her, the roles were reversed. Her memory is fractured from that time.”

During the show’s panel later on Monday, Danes said that the role-reversal leads to Carrie’s worst nightmare: Getting accused of being an enemy of the United States.

“I thought that was very elegant storytelling. There’s that perfect symmetry. Just psychically, it fused Carrie with Brody in a way that felt right,” Danes said. “She is so clear about her patriotism. She can be challenged in every way, but if her patriotism is questioned, I think that is probably the most profound insult she can imagine.”

Just don’t expect Brody, who died in the third season, to make any kind of physical appearance in the show’s end game.

“We tossed around a bunch of ideas. But, you know, he did kind of come back in Season 4. I don’t think we wanted to repeat that,” Gansa continued. “Brody, like Quinn [Rupert Friend], is alive in the series, just not physically alive. The idea of both of those guys is really prevalent through the last few episodes.”

“Homeland” premieres its eighth and final season on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

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