The biggest question of Homeland’s third season has been: What about Brody? It seemed like the show had written itself into an impossible situation, porting its main character to fugitive status in the hinterlands of the modern world, while the rest of its characters meandered on in Langley. Homeland has given itself a staggering task in trying to knit together the stories of its star-crossed lovers, Carrie and Brody, while keeping the taut psychological tension of the show running smoothly. Showcasing the Emmy-winning performance of Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody can’t hurt. Last night’s episode, “Tower Of David,”finally brought Lewis back to Homeland, showing us a beleaguered character. He is essentially a prisoner of a Venezuelan gang, and in the episode’s final moments, we see him turning to heroin as a means of escape. Brody’s alive, but in dire straits; as far as dark episodes go, it’s one of the darkest. We spoke to Damian Lewis about Brody’s dark night of the soul, as well as how victimhood and redemption are going to play out for his character.
The A.V. Club: In an interview a few months ago, you said that your character has always been a victim of war—which is interesting, because he’s seen as an enemy by nearly everyone else on the show. How do you think that plays out in this latest episode, “Tower Of David”?
Damian Lewis: He’s a victim in a different place now—but Brody’s whole journey was set in motion the moment that he decided to go and fight in Iraq as an American marine. He was caught, captured, tortured, brutalized—essentially deconstructed as a human being. Brody has been a servant to so many masters ever since that moment. He has never been the master of his own destiny and has never really been a full, whole person again. He doesn’t really know who he is.
And now he’s ended up in this place. He doesn’t know where he is. This episode has a feeling of being a waking nightmare. And it ends up with him seemingly just wanting to end it all—if not actually to commit suicide, then to just get away from the pain, the misery, the uncertainty of his life. To choose some peace and just get high, you know? Just get in that cell and get high.
It’s a pretty depressing downward spiral that Brody has been on for the last seven or eight years of his life. He was the threat in the first season. He was a man who told God he was going to commit a terrorist act. But since then, he’s been a pawn for the CIA. For Carrie. Abu Nazir’s used him when he’s wanted to use him. He’s been like a tumbleweed. He’s a character who has entered the nine circles of hell, and I don’t see him getting out any time soon.
AVC: Wow. That’s intense.
DL: Well, I think Homeland is intense. I think that’s how they [showrunners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon] want to write it. It is dark, it’s bleak, it’s unforgiving. This is what happens if you send young men to war. They become this damaged, and then they become this dangerous because of their damage. This man’s life has been ruined by that decision.
AVC: This is a loaded question, but: Do you think Brody is a good person?
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