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‘Homeland’ Showrunner on Giving Carrie One Final Mission and Her ‘Ed Snowden-Like’ Turn

Alex Gansa tells TheWrap why he didn’t want to have Carrie’s ending be ”entirely tragic“

(Warning: The following story contains major spoilers for the series finale of “Homeland”)

Showtime ended “Homeland” by giving Carrie (Claire Danes) one last, probably permanent, mission — sending her to spend the rest of her life publicly as an American pariah, and secretly as a spy for Saul.

For co-showrunner Alex Gansa, that was the most fitting way to end her eight-season journey, in what Gansa described as “not entirely tragic.” We’ll let him explain.

“We didn’t want to see her end in a way that killed hope,” Gansa told TheWrap. “We decided to give her a mission and decided to give her a guy, but also decided to make it clear that she sacrificed a hell of a lot to get there.”

Carrie certainly sacrificed quite a lot over her eight years. She has virtually no relationship with her sister and daughter and ends the show branded as an Edward Snowden-like outsider. Most importantly, she loses the one person who has stood by her all throughout the entire series’ run, even to his own determent. But Carrie, after first trying to make it seem like she would assassinate her mentor to get him to give his decades-long Russian asset, is able to find out her identity and give her up herself. All it took was a visit to Saul’s sister and telling her that her brother had died. And then there was the actual death of said asset, who was very high up in the Russian government.

Geo-politically, Carrie’s plan works. The Russians are satisfied enough that they reveal the contents of the Black Box from the plane crash that killed President Warner and the Afghanistan president Daoud, proving that it was not a terrorist attack by Jalal Haqqani but a simple equipment failure. It ends a standoff between the U.S. and Pakistan that threatened to lead to war.

But it cost Carrie everything, forcing her to flee to Moscow with Yevgeny (Costa Ronin), where at first it seems like she’s content to live out her days in Russia… until the very end when she sends a coded message to Saul buried in her tell-all book about the CIA, using the same spycraft methods her predecessor used.

“She was trying to repair the relationship that she had severed forever,” Gansa said. “She replaced the person that he said was irreplaceable.”

Of course, Carrie had to make it appear as if she turned her back on her own country. “She has to find a way to convince him that she’s not a threat to the Russian government anymore,” Gansa said. “She writes this Ed Snowden-like book and what she’s hoping is that that is literally her cover, that will take the suspicion off of her… Saul has no idea this is happening, until the book arrives.”