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Damian Lewis on the Season Finale of ‘Homeland’, New York Times, December 16, 2013

 Damian Lewis on the Season Finale of ‘Homeland’ (Spoiler Alert!)

Dave Itzkoff, New York Times, December 16, 2013

Nicholas Brody, the Marine and prisoner of war turned sleeper agent turned congressman played by Damian Lewis on “Homeland,” was all but a ghost in the most recent season of this Showtime thriller. Having gone on the run at the end of Season 2, Brody was largely absent from Season 3 — except for one episode, in which he resurfaced in Caracas, Venezuela — and then in the year’s final arc, he proceeded to make up for lost time.

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in "Homeland."
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in “Homeland.”Credit Kent Smith/Showtime

Retrieved from Caracas by spymaster Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Brody was sent by the C.I.A. into Iran with the mission of assassinating the leader of its revolutionary guard. Brody accomplished this mission and was sped away to a safe house by Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), the C.I.A. agent and his sometime lover, where the two of them began to contemplate their future together.

(This is your last chance to avoid significant spoilers.)

Instead, Brody was snatched away by Iranian authorities, having been given up by the C.I.A.’s new overlords. He received a speedy trial and was hanged in public while Carrie watched in horror.

Alex Gansa, one of the creators of “Homeland,” said in a telephone interview on Monday that Brody’s death had been planned from the start of this season.

“Wherever he stepped onto the stage, we wanted it to be something alive and electric,” Mr. Gansa said. “As you realize that those moments are fewer and farther between, the time just comes for that character to leave the stage.”

In a way, Mr. Gansa said, the season finale could almost be a series finale. “We are saying goodbye to the central relationship of the first three seasons — which is not to say that there isn’t a compelling story to be told with the characters we have left.”

Mr. Lewis, an Emmy Award-winner for his portrayal of Brody, spoke from London on Monday about his final year on “Homeland,” his character’s fate and the next phase of his career. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Q. How are you holding up today?
A. I’m very well, thank you. It’s raining in London, which seems appropriate. It’s a sympathetic landscape. The grief from the heavens.
Q. Were you told at the start of this season what the full trajectory for Brody was going to be?
A. Yes. I’d known for some time now. There was a big chunk in the middle where I wasn’t in very much of the season. All that was made clear back in March, April. They were very generous and they freed me to up do other things. So certainly, I’ve known for the better part of the year and it’s been a difficult secret to keep. Only my wife knew. I couldn’t afford to tell anybody.
Q. This may sound like a preposterous question, but given that this is “Homeland,” is he definitely dead?
A. [Laughs] Well, people liked to have a go at “Homeland” occasionally, on the grounds of plausibility. It’s everybody’s favorite show, but occasionally the wool isn’t pulled over everybody’s eyes successfully. If Brody was resurrected somehow, that might just be pushing it too far. But, hey, as 007 himself said, Never say never. In the world of successful TV shows, anything is possible. But I’d be surprised.
Q. When you were informed yourself, how did you take that news?
A. With a mixture of emotions. I loved doing “Homeland,” I loved playing Brody. I’m extremely proud of who we all created together. I think he’s a tragic hero for our time. He himself embodies a cautionary tale, going right back to the beginning, about sending young men to war and the damage it can do. He had brief moments of happiness and glory, but was essentially a very unhappy figure for three years. I enjoyed playing him, but I never expected him to last this long.

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