An interview with Executive Producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. Spoilers, if you haven’t been keeping up with episodes.
That was quite an ending for an episode. It seems to really open things up in terms of taking the focus away from Brody exclusively, making it less purely about whether he’s been turned or not.
Gansa: Yeah, absolutely. The intention actually in the episode was to be able to spend time with Brody before you knew [SPOILER ALERT] he actually had been turned in captivity, and to really live in his state of mind and his relationship with his wife and family; to really settle into a character without suspicion over his head.
Gordon: And also to forward his political profile, the potential of what’s going to happen to him.
So we know now that he’s been turned — but that he’s rebelling against that.
Gansa: That’s exactly correct. In other words, since we sort of exonerated him in the episode previously — well, not entirely, but he did answer all the questions Carrie asked him on the porch truthfully, so hopefully there was a sense at the end of the weekend of, Wow, I think he’s innocent. And we did want to live with him for a little period of time in the next episode where you felt that way, and then rather than just do a big reveal at the end of the episode and just finish, Oh my God, he’s been turned, we wanted to take it one step farther: Oh my God he’s been turned, but he’s backing out of the deal. That was the intent.
It’s surprising to have something this momentous happen quite a few episodes before the end of the first season. Did you think it was important to get that big question out of the way early?
Gansa: Well, there’s value in these thrillers in compressing the story, not trying to drag it out for too long. However, when we first started thinking about the show and Brody’s character, the question became very binary: Is he or isn’t he a terrorist? Has he or has he not been turned in captivity? As we actually sat in the story room and really talked about his character and journey, we realized there were far more interesting questions to be asked. And one was: Well, if he has been turned, will he go through with what he has to do? And that is a much more rich narrative main to tap into. Now that we know he’s been turned but he’s back in the U.S. and in the bosom of his family and other pressures are exerting themselves on his will, what will he do? That’s much more interesting than just, “Is he a terrorist?”
Gordon: And back to your first point, I think you’re right that there was a point at which we said, “All right, we’re going to have to answer, we can’t just string out indefinitely without answering some satisfying questions.”
Read the full interview at nymag.com.