Warning: Major "Homeland" Spoilers Ahead!
It's been almost two days since the death of Sergeant Nicholas Brody, the "Homeland" antihero played for three seasons by Damian Lewis. The Emmy-winning actor made his final appearance as Brody on Sunday's season-three finale, which culminated with his character's public execution in Iran following his participation in a covert operation.
Brody's death provides some sense of closure to one of "Homeland's" central stories, but it keeps the window open on a whole slew of other questions. "Homeland" showrunner Alex Gansa has been making the interview rounds in the time since the finale aired, providing answers to some of our most burning questions — like these:
1. Why Did Brody Die?
Brody's bomb-vest was originally set to explode at the end of season one. Then, Brody was set to die at the end of season two. On both occasions, Showtime prevented the "Homeland" writers from killing off their male lead. Clearly, there was no such interference this time around. So it begs the question: What changed? Why was Brody finally allowed to die?
"Yes, there was pushback last season. There was pushback at the end of the first season. There was pushback this season. But all done in very good spirit of, 'Let's make sure this is the right call,'" Gansa tells TV Line about the network's role in Brody's death. "But there was a real strong feeling, both at Showtime and in the story room, that we've crossed a lot of emotional ground and the time was right. Hopefully, it was the correct decision."
2. What If He's Still Alive?
There's always the chance that Brody's death was faked — not a good chance, but a chance. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Gansa contextualizes fans' hopes for Brody's continued survival through the lens of "24," which balked on killing a main character in its fifth and seventh seasons.
"The specter of Tony Almeida haunts the show a little bit. He was strangely resurrected in the [penultimate] season of '24,'" says Gansa. "I think it's going to be hard to spiritually kill Brody forever. Carrie has his child, his little daughter, so Brody will be alive that way. But everybody should rest assured that physically he will not be resurrected. ... Honestly, you can ride me out of town on a rail if that happens. You have my permission."
3. What About Brody's Baby?
Let's rewind a second. Gansa mentions Carrie and Brody's baby. What's the story there? Is it possible that "Homeland's" fourth season will focus on Carrie Mathison as a working mother?
"Absolutely," Gansa tells TV Line. "That's certainly one direction it could go — and an interesting one. I don't think you'd spend a lot of time [on that], but who knows? Read Valerie Plame's book about being a case officer and having a child. It's an interesting dynamic."
4. What About Saul?
Brody's death aside, what about the other big question from the "Homeland" finale? What about Saul? Mandy Patinkin's world-weary operative left the CIA in the season three finale, leaving some to question whether or not the actor will return for next year's fourth season.
"I've got to put everyone's minds to rest about Mandy," Gansa tells THR. "The fact of the matter is that the character of Saul Berenson is now working for a private contractor. The CIA outsources so much work these days to these private contractors. Saul may not have a desk at Langley, but his operational interface with the CIA is going to be big."
5. What Does "Homeland" Look Like Sans Brody?
Honestly, it looks a lot like season three of "Homeland," which already scaled back heavily on the Brody of it all. Lewis only appeared in a handful of episodes in season three, with characters like Peter Quinn and Dar Adal stepping in to pick up the dramatic slack.
"These are characters we got to explore and enrich and see whether or not the show can withstand Brody's absence," Gansa reveals to THR. "Honestly, I think it has. I think they raised their game and made the show vital without that central character onstage."
In other words, expect more from Quinn and Adal, and expect some new faces as well. While you're at it, expect even less from the Brody world: Not only is Brody off the show, but his family is gone as well. Showtime has confirmed that actors Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor won't return to "Homeland" as series regulars next season. If there's any reason to celebrate Brody's death, that's the one.
What do you make of the "Homeland" finale? Where do you see things headed for season four? Let us know in the comments below!