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'Homeland' exec says writers can wriggle 'out of a box'

January 12, 2012 |  1:52 pm


[Note: There are some spoilers in this post about the recently concluded season of Showtime’s “Homeland.” Please skip if you’re really behind on your DVR viewing.]

The December finale of “Homeland’ didn’t polarize viewers the way, say the season's final episode of “The Killing” did. But some fans of the series — created by “24” veterans Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon as well as Gideon Raff, who conceived of the Israeli original — were divided about the way the first season ended.

Claire Danes’ Carrie was far from vindicated — in fact, she seemed to be going down a new path of memory loss. Damian Lewis’ Brody seemed to be positioned for an improbable spot in political office. And we still have no idea who might be the bad seed at the CIA.

David Nevins, the Showtime entertainment chief who put the show on the air, acknowledges how fans might feel a little squeezed by the new direction. But he said the show’s creators would find a way out when the series returned. “Alex and Howard are very good at writing themselves into a box, but they’re also very good at writing themselves out of a box,” he said in a recent interview with Show Tracker.

Nevins said that a finale for a serial mystery like “Homeland” meant walking a fine line between revelations and reticence: “We don't believe in closure, but we do believe in rewarding people for their time.”

At Showtime’s Television Critics Assn. panel on Thursday, Nevins continued the frank talk, saying fans were “justified” in feeling skepticism about whether the second season, which is likely to return later this year, could continue building the mystery without gving fans the sense they were being thrown red herrings. But he said that new revelations would keep the story moving forward.

One of the biggest questions is whether the wider intelligence community will know about Brody’s terrorist connections. To reveal that would be to rob the show of its woman-versus-the-world drama, but continued milking of that idea could get old.

Nevins did suggest at the event that the (romantic?) relationship between the two main characters would continue. “Brody and Carrie have only just begun,” he told reporters.

In other Showtime news, Nevins revealed at TCA that “Nurse Jackie,” “The Big C” and “The Borgias” will all return on Sunday, April 8. He also disclosed the network was producing a documentary about former Vice President Dick Cheney from independent filmmaker R.J. Cutler (who did the Anna Wintour doc “The September Issue”).

And Nevins told TCA that it's "a real possibility" that last summer's season of "Weeds" could be its last. Meanwhile, he said that “Dexter,” which in December ended its sixth season, could go beyond the planned eighth season. Maybe. "This is the likely endpoint, but I'm leaving open the possibility that plans could change," he told reporters.


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— Steven Zeitchik

Photo: A scene from the first season of "Homeland" Credit: Kent Smith/Showtime.