Something's missing as the third season of Homeland begins. Or, shall we say, someone.
The acclaimed series, which returns Sunday across Canada on Super Channel, always has lived on a knife's edge as far as its main characters are concerned. But obviously, with what occurred at the end of Season 2, every knife in the drawer has been sharpened for Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).
This is a SPOILER ALERT if you haven't made it to the end of the second season.
If you're up to date, then you can imagine what condition the characters are in heading into Season 3, which picks up two months later.
"I keep thinking, 'No way can they (the writers on Homeland) go further, no way, their imaginations must be tapped out at this point,' " says Danes, who this week again was awarded with an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama.
"And they just do it. I mean, I really am in awe of what they can do, and every season is just that much more bold and brave and involved and surprising, and it's so much fun. It feels so, so lucky.
"(Carrie) is in a very dark place (at the beginning of season three). She lost (hundreds) of her peers (in a terrorist attack that decimated the U.S. intelligence apparatus). And if she felt responsible about 9/11, how responsible does she feel about this?"
Homeland, which originates on Showtime in the U.S., began with the story of Brody, a U.S. soldier and prisoner of war who had been presumed dead for eight years but suddenly was found in the Middle East.
Carrie, a bipolar CIA agent, thought it all seemed a little weird. She eventually came to believe that Brody had been turned and was a terrorist-in-waiting. Just about everyone dismissed Carrie as nuts, and it only got more complicated when she came to doubt her own instincts and kind of fell in love with the brooding Brody.
Homeland certainly has made me think a lot about the type of people who are charged with intelligence work. Frankly, I can't imagine the pressure.
"Certainly one of the themes of season three is the cost of being an intelligence officer and what it exacts on the people who are in that career," co-executive producer Alex Gansa says. "And I think Saul and Carrie are obviously the prime examples of that this season.
"As a result of the attack last year, the CIA itself is on trial. It's an agency that couldn't even protect itself, so how should it be expected to protect the country? They are confronted with that very question in the first episode."
If you saw the end of Season 2, you know which Homeland character begins Season 3 as a fugitive. I'm not going to say it, just so I can say that I didn't say it. But actually, if you've seen even a single episode of Homeland, you surely can figure it out.
Then again, most of the characters in Homeland don't have homes, be it literally, figuratively or even emotionally.
Their addresses should be listed as, "State of Turmoil."