CIA analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is obsessed with capturing most-wanted terrorist Abu Nazir. She bribes her way into an Iraqi prison so she can get information from an informant before his execution. Before she is dragged away, the man manages to whisper “an American pow has been turned” in her ear. However her actions cause an international incident and she is benched.
Ten months later, during a raid on one of Nazir’s safe houses, missing POW Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is found. This sparks new interest from Carrie, who suspects that Brody may be the sleeper agent she was warned of. She tries to convince her friend/mentor/boss Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) to bug Brody’s home. But when he denies her requests, Carrie takes it upon herself to monitor Brody’s actions.
Meanwhile, Brody tries to adjust back into the real world after 8 years of being locked up and tortured. While the media treats him like a hero, his kids hardly know him, and his wife was just about the move in with his best friend at the time he was found. Now they struggle to put their family back together.
Carrie becomes obsessed with Brody, both personally and with the idea that he may be a terrorist. She struggles to get people to believe her—everyone wants proof which she can’t seem to provide. She is also self-medicating for her secret bipolar disorder. Soon, Carrie is crossing lines and throwing away everything in pursuit of her obsession, while also trying to keep her condition under control.
The first season of Homeland is a well-crafted psychological thriller that keeps the viewer constantly second-guessing what they believe. Throughout the first half of the season, I found myself accepting Carrie’s theories one minute and then thinking that she was completely crazy the next. I was never quite sure whether I believed that Brody was or wasn’t a terrorist.
Homeland is from the producers of 24 and it has a lot of that same tense excitement. However, it trades 24‘s non-stop action for a more slow-burn character-driven psychological thriller. Like 24, Homeland also focuses on politics and terrorism. There are so many twists and turns that it constantly keeps you guessing. The characters are multi-layered and well-developed, leading to some really intense drama. The season really builds to a tense finale that has you on the edge of your seat.
I watched the first season as it originally aired on Showtime, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around on this Blu-ray set. This first season is nominated for 9 Emmy awards, including the awards for Best Series, Best Actor and Best Actress in the Drama category. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis give excellent performances, and their nominations are well-deserved.
What’s Included on the Blu-ray:
- All 12 episodes of Season 1 (664 minutes)
- Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
- English SDH, Spanish, French subtitles
- Audio Commentary on Pilot (55:19)
Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa talk about what it was like making the pilot.
- Deleted Scenes (12:41)
- Disc 1 – Pilot Sc 40, 41-54 (4:56)
- Disc 2 – Ep 106 Sc 31 and Sc 44 (3:16)
- Disc 3 – Ep 111 Sc 26 & 91 (4:29)
- Week Ten: Prologue to Season Two (3:53)
Picks up almost three months after the season one finale. Carrie has a visitor in the hospital.
- Homeland Season 1: Under Surveillance (33:46)
In this interesting featurette, the cast and crew discuss the themes and characters of Homeland. They also talk about how the show came about, and how it was adapted from the original Israeli TV series. There is a gag reel during the credits.
One great feature of the blu-ray is that it includes a season play option that keeps track of where you are in the season, so you can easily pick up from where you left off. I originally watched this show on the Showtime HD channel, and this Blu-ray looks even better. The picture is incredibly crisp and detailed and the sound is great.
I found the extras on the set really lacking. While the behind the scenes feaurette was really entertaining, there wasn’t a whole lot else—just one commentary track, a few deleted scenes and short teaser scene for the next season. It would have been nice to have some additional material.
The Homeland Season One Blu-ray is an easy recommendation to fans of thought-provoking, intense character-driven drama. The first season really sets things up for the new season, which premieres on September 30 on Showtime, so it’s definitely worth checking out before then.