“Homeland” picks up just months after the terrorist bombing of the CIA office in Washington, D.C., which took the lives of 219 employees — and Brody (Damian Lewis), of course, is now the No. 1 name on the most-wanted list of terrorists worldwide.
Truth be told, his character doesn’t appear in the first two episodes of the season, and at the Television Critics Association annual press tour in Beverly Hills, neither executive producer Alex Gansa nor executive producer Howard Gordon would say when the character re-enters the action.
"It is a function of the story that you don't see Brody," Lewis told reporters. "He is on the lam. He has to lay low. Hopefully, of interest to the audience will be what state he will be in when we see Brody for the first time. Is he aboard a yacht on the coast surrounded by a bevy of Russian beauties? That was my pitch! … When you do see Brody for the first time, it will be interesting."
The first two episodes focus more on Carrie, who is off her meds, and the investigation being conducted by members of Congress to determine whether or not the CIA should even exist any more. After all, if it can't protect its own, how can it protect its country?
Saul (Mandy Patinkin) has been put in the unenviable position of taking the job as CIA Director, a position he never aspired to, nor wants. And in taking it, he has been forced to make some difficult decisions, including hanging Carrie [Claire Danes] out to dry.
"Carrie is always sitting on her own personal ticking bomb," says Danes. "It's just an impossible dilemma. She is not great on the meds, but even worse off them. There is a really great sweet spot she is trying to land on, where she is high performing. She is in the process of finding that balance. She is pretty weak in the beginning."
Someone who does stick by Carrie is CIA hitman Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who comes to visit with her several times when no one else will admit to even knowing her.
"I think there is a mutual respect for someone who takes personal risks for their job," Friend said, by way of explaining his loyalty to Carrie. "They are both edgy people. They both have a propensity to take risks to get the work done. That is something that will be explored more in Season 3."
Watch the First Official Full Trailer for Season 3 of “Homeland”:
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As the only voice in the wilderness who believes that Brody is innocent - and didn't have knowledge of the bomb in his car, Carrie is isolated from everyone at the CIA. It isn't until well into the season - Episode 6 - that she teams up with the more familiar characters.
"I have been feeling lonely as Claire, the actor," Dane says. "Both Saul and Carrie share a profound amount of guilt and responsibility for this devastating bomb and this loss. Even though they are estranged, they're deeply connected. They experience that trauma in a way no one else has."
While not revealing any specifics, Gansa does reveal that one of the themes of Season 3 of "Homeland" is the cost exacted on the lives by those who serve as intelligence officers. In this case, Carrie and Saul.
"We just find Saul in a very difficult spot," Gansa says. "He is a man who is loathe to make decisions, and is now forced to make the most important one of his life… I think he fears he maybe the last director of the CIA."
“Homeland” premieres its third season on Sept. 29, 2013 at 9/8c on Showtime.