The Return Of Homeland – Is This One Season Too Many For The Perplexing TV Drama?

When it debuted in 2011, labyrinthine terrorism drama Homeland had a plot that gripped like flypaper. Starring Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison, series one focused around her investigation into whether Gulf war hero Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) – who’s recently been released after being incarcerated in Afghanistan for eight years – had been turned by al-Qaeda. Subsequent series have varied wildly in quality, with some episodes offering tense high-octane excitement, and others being utter bobbins. What should we expect of series five?

Is Saul Berenson rejoining the CIA?

At the end of Series Four, it looked like smooth-operating agency old hand Saul Berenson (played ever so wisely by Mandy Patinkin) would become CIA director. Series five picks up events two years later, when Saul’s back at the agency but has been passed over for the top job. “Carrie might not have been helpful in that,” Patinkin said recently.

Is Carrie Mathison on the run?

Series five opens with Carrie living in Berlin, working as the head of security for a billionaire philanthropist, and settling into domestic bliss. But the action-packed trailer suggests trouble is afoot, with Carrie on the run – possibly from the people she trusts the most.

Are Carrie and Saul still rowing?

Their relationship was frosty by series four’s end, after Saul betrayed Carrie by forming an alliance with treacherous black ops specialist Dar Adal (F Murray Abraham). Their paths cross again when a CIA cock-up reveals American surveillance of German citizens (which echoes WikiLeaks’ 2013 claim that the US National Security Agency tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone). Patch up ahoy?

Are Carrie and Peter Quinn a couple?

Carrie and co-worker Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) shared a lingering kiss in Season Four, and he promptly bolted to Syria when she hesitated about the idea of getting together permanently. We re-join him in Series Five, dead-eyed and down the rabbit hole as an assassin. “He has fossilised into a misanthropic war machine,” says Friend, which would probably be the worst Tinder profile bio ever.

Is Nicholas Brody coming back?

Episode seven of the last series caused tremors for bringing Brody back from the dead, with Damian Lewis returning for a cameo as part of bipolar Carrie’s hallucination. It was a bit silly, so hopefully the trick won’t be repeated.

Is Homeland actually good again, then?

Probably, Homeland would have worked better as a one-off series, saving us all from series’ Two and Three. Series Four was better though, because it built stories around news headlines. Series Five will do similar, and touch on Syrian unrest, Isis terror, the refugee crisis and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Early indications suggest the show is ageing with grace. If Homeland were a band, it would be The Strokes: it’ll never equal the perfect first album, but is still capable of tossing out a few bangers.