"Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?"
Just when we were ordering a funeral wreath for Sgt. Nick Brody, Homeland star Damian Lewis transformed from suicide bomber to ideologue in last night's incredible finale.
So is the Golden Globe nominee—and his amazeballs costars Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin & Co.—definitely returning for season two? Showrunner Alex Gansa gave us the answer to that question—and so many more—about the critically acclaimed series...
Are all the actors returning for the second season?
Alex Gansa: Right now I think everybody's coming back. We've dodged the bullet of killing anybody. When we settled on the vest and the vest malfunctioning it gave us the best of all possible worlds—Brody could carry out the attack with no one knowing the vest had malfunctioned. That gave us the runway for the next season.
Did you plan to cast the amazing Claire Danes and Damian Lewis from the start?
We had Claire in mind almost from the first discussion—in fact we called the character Claire instead of Carrie for the longest time. We had no idea Claire would ever say yes—it was all a pipe dream. Damian came much later in the process [but] we can't think of anybody else who could embody the ambiguity of Brody. He's like a Norman Rockwell American and he's tough all at once.
Can you elaborate on the parallels between Abu Nazir's son Issa and Brody's daughter Dana?
Issa and Dana were both Brody's children in an interesting way. Brody during his captivity was psychologically broken, then he was reintroduced to humanity by [becoming] very close to a child who got taken away from him in the most horrific way. When he comes back to his own children, his natural posture [in planning his terrorist attack] was to be removed…[But] Dana being who she is got under the radar and [they] started reconnecting. By the time she made that call to him in the finale she was the logical and only person who could've talked him down from the brink at that moment.
Why didn't you reveal the agency mole?
We decided not to reveal the mole for a number of reasons. I think the most important one being 24 [on which Gansa and fellow showrunner Howard Gordon were both EPs] revealed the mole two or three times a season. [Laughs.] Our show is a more psychological telling of life in the intelligence community. One of the things you realize as you research this stuff is a lot of time moles are never revealed. There's a sense they are still operating and able to exist in their roles undercover forever and never be revealed. I'm not saying we're never going to reveal this mole, but it didn't seem as important to us this season as following the characters we know already to their psychological conclusions.
Can Carrie still work for an intelligence agency in some capacity?
I think we have very plausible and realistic way in which she can come reinvolved [next season]. Probably not in the same capacity, but this is a very talented, sanguine and brilliant intelligence officer—her knowledge and expertise will always be valued despite what she may or may not have done in the past.
How did you arrive at the finale's shocking ending? It was still explosive—only it happened in Carrie's brain rather than the bomb we expected.
[ECT] felt like the most dramatic and also psychologically the most realistic thing [based on our research] for her to do after suffering in her own mind this incredible defeat—accusing Brody of doing something [but being] ultimately convinced she is wrong…All of it is so painful to her that she…wanted to do whatever she could to make it stop…What we liked about [the last] moment—and this is open to interpretation—is that the revelation doesn't come out of the blue, it comes out of her romantic feelings for Brody…[When] we found out that memory loss is a side effect of the therapy, her memory being erased felt to us like a way to not only deny the audience's expectations but to reset the show for next year.
Were you wowed by Homeland's finale? What do you hope to see in season two?