Homeland - Season One
"Homeland,"a taut domestic retread of the acclaimed Israeli series "Prisoners of War," is compelling evidence of the axiom that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.
Season One, available on Blu-ray, watches C.I.A. operatives Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) unravel the mysteries surrounding the return of prisoner of war Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and a possible assassination plot while stumbling over elements of the U.S. Constitution and their own very human foibles. There are no "wow" elements in the special features offered (mostly two deleted scenes and a forgettable teaser for Season Two), but the mini-feature "Homeland Season One: Under Surveillance" does offer one insight: If they had made the series for network television rather than premium cable, then producers Howard Gordon. Alex Gansa and Gideon Raff would never have made their lead character bipolar.
Just as well, for we would all have missed out on a performance by Danes that is mesmerizing and at times heart-breaking. Think "A Beautiful Mind" meets "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." In a network TV series, we’d be told a character was bipolar in the first episode, see one incident to make the point, and then have the issue whisked away from future scripts having served its initial shock and awe purposes.
But in having its lead investigator on a psychiatric tightrope, "Homeland" shows us the nuanced grays between good and evil in constant tug-of-war with our emotions, as when the operatives homophobic blackmail to squeeze a suspected spy. We are never really sure how much post-9/11 paranoia is real and how much is a product of Carrie’s addled state of mind. Like Carrie and Saul, we know not who to trust. We just know we can’t stop watching to see what comes next.
Homeland, Season One
$44.99 Blu-ray, $38.99 DVD