Power Players

Making ‘Homeland’: Creators of hit TV show on their responsibility to reality in fictional storyline

Power Players

On The Radar

The creators of the hit Showtime series "Homeland" say they feel a responsibility to deal fairly with the controversial real-world issues that are weaved into the show’s fictionalized storyline.

“We do absolutely search our consciences as a group, as a group of writers,” co-creator Howard Gordon told On The Radar.

“Ultimately we have to gut check ourselves and sort of say…‘Are we being incendiary for the sake of being incendiary? Are we being provocateurs in a random kind of way?" Gordon said.

The television series follows the story of bi-polar CIA Agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, as she tracks a Marine Sergeant who she suspects turned to terrorist ideology after being held captive by a terrorist group for many years.

Co-creator Alex Gansa said the show's writers spend a great deal of time discussing ongoing policy debates and the news of the day as part of their creative process.

“We also tend to be real wonks about this kind of stuff,” Gansa said. “We love to talk about it and spend, I would argue, more time debating world events than we do actually talking about the story.”

Gansa explained how he and Gordon settled on making drones a central issue in the show.

“We were just you know searching around for what subject ‘Homeland’ could put forth into the popular consciousness, and these drone strikes were all over the news,” Gansa said.

Gordon said they didn’t expect the show to turn into the success it has and thought “people might be just fatigued” of the subject of homeland security and terrorist threats.

Asked about the fact that their show now enjoys popularity among Washington policymakers, including President Obama, Gordon said they are “flattered to have such a high-caliber of fan” but don’t set out to convey a particular political message.

“I don't think we'd go into the room saying, ‘What…do we want to tell the president?’" Gordon said. “We just hope he likes it, keeps watching.”

For more of the interview with the creators of Homeland, including some hints about what’s in store for the third season that starts this fall, check out this episode of On The Radar.

ABC's Eric Wray and Betsy Klein contributed to this episode.

Scott Shulman, Chris Komives, Jean-Claude Malet, Lenny Manfred, Patty Sharaf, Glenn Fishkin, Steve Kahn, Karl Wagner, Ryan Dumville, and Mark Phillips assisted in the production of this episode.


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