Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in "Homeland" (Showtime )
“Homeland’s” growing popularity was cemented further Sunday night when the show won six Emmy awards, including lead acting prizes for Claire Danes and Damian Lewis and an upset win for drama series.
On the Charlotte, N.C., set last month, Lewis spoke at length about what it was that he thought made the Showtime series resonate with so many people.
“The best shows succeed because they tap into a national conversation,” he said of the series, which follows the intersecting stories of bipolar CIA agent Carrie Matheson (Danes) and a possibly compromised former American POW named Nicholas Brody (Lewis).
“This isn’t a social document; it’s a thriller. But there are a lot of issues that suffuse the piece and that’s what make it so haunting and scary for people.” (You can read the full report from the set here.)
Among those issues, he said, are “the polarization of the political and economic classes in America, which Carrie, as a bipolar dark soul, sort of represents. And Brody embodies the debate that rages around war," he added.
The show has become one of the few series about post-Sept. 11 issues to succeed, and it has done it by balancing thriller aspects popular on an action series like “24” (executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon are both veterans of that series), meaty political and ethical subjects and dense character elements.
Danes said in an interview that she too watched as writers created that balance every week.
“When people talk to me about the show, they don’t share as many of their impressions in a political sense," she said. "But they talk a lot about how crazy Carrie gets at the end of the season. It’s like, ‘whoa, she really loses it.’”
She continued. "The show is reflecting on events that we’re still making sense of. But I think it talks about these ideas from a really surprising angle. It’s political and it’s a thriller but it’s also about isolated, complex, screwed-up people and a story about relationships with each other."
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