Friday, January 04, 2013


I watched the second series (12 episodes) of "Homeland," the American TV series about Homeland Security.  It is based on an Israeli series called Hatufim, "Prisoners of war," and has the same central theme, one of the returned prisoners has been "turned," has become a secret Muslim after 8 years in captivity in Iraq, the last three years held by al Qaeda, and the question is, is he a terrorist or is he loyal?  This is the big question that pops up over and over again in the series, and I must say it was so well done that it was riveting.  The production and acting were so good that the story was believable, for the most part.
Claire Danes, one of my favorite actresses, plays the part of Carrie Matheson, the CIA analyst whose job it is to "get" the al Qaeda terrorist leader Abu Nazir, and she suspects the US Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis, from the time he returns to the US as a war hero of being an "asset" of Abu Nazir.  Her superiors ignore her warnings and this sends her over the edge into a bipolar crisis and she lands up in hospital being treated for mental disease and loses her job at the CIA.  Meanwhile Brody runs for Congress and wins and as a Congressman has a poweful position to help his Muslim friends. 
The parallel of this story to that of "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962, remade in 2004) is very clear.  Just as the US soldier Raymond Shaw played by Laurence Harvey has been brainwashed by the Chinese Communists in the Korean War and is suspected by his former comrade Bennet Marco played by Frank SInatra of being a "sleeper" agent, so Brody plays the role of Shaw and Matheson of Marco.   But, the difference is that while Shaw has been truly brainwashed and can be "controlled" (by his mother) to overthrow the US Government, Brody is more independent and wants to kill those in the US Govt. responsible for the wanton murder of hundreds of Muslim children. Brody's sentimental attachment to the dead son of Abu Nazir is being used by him cause a major terrorist incident in the US.
I found two major flaws with this story; that the CIA would trust Brody and not keep tabs on him, such as his meetings with the Muslim agent played by a reporter and his phone calls and especially his call from inside the operations room of the CIA when he warns Abu Nazir that he is about to be shot, which was incredible. Of course, all calls from inside the CIA must be monitored.  Second, Brody photographs a list of 10 incidents that a CIA analyst has in his safe and sends it to the terrorist, but later when he is turned back to supposedly being a  loyal US citizen he neglects to tell them about the importance of this list. 
After Abu Nazir is killed and Brody is supposedly loyal, his car blows up at the Pentagon where the VP of the US (that Brody has murdered) is being eulogized, killing hundreds of notables (such an explosion could not kill that many).  And the question is, did Brody know that they had made his car into a car-bomb and who moved his car so that it could kill the people gathered at the ceremony?  Can't wait for the next season to resolve these questions.


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