When “Homeland” Season 4 returns on Oct. 5, the one name you won’t hear mentioned in the first episode, “The Drone Queen,” is “Brody.” After being a dominant presence in the first three seasons of the Showtime drama, the ghost of Sgt. Nicholas Brody has been laid to rest — for the most part.
Yes, Carrie is still dealing with her grief over the loss of the man she loves. And yes, she did have his child. But showrunner Alex Gansa tells Zap2it that there was a very specific reason that Brody’s name isn’t uttered during “Homeland’s” return in Season 4: It’s time to move on.
“All of us here at ‘Homeland’ are aware of the significance of this season, and whether or not Carrie Mathison is a compelling enough character with the other immediate people in her world to push the story forward into a couple more seasons at least,” Gansa says. “It does feel like we’re telling Chapter 2 of the Carrie Mathison story, which is the post-Brody era.”
That’s not to say Brody won’t have a presence in “Homeland.” Like in real life, Carrie’s connection to the father of her child won’t be severed just because the TV show is ready to explore a new part of her story. Gansa says Brody “haunts and will haunt this season,” but his name isn’t referenced specifically because it’s “not a name or anything [Carrie] particularly has to reference directly. It’s just a part of who this character is now.”
Gansa knows that stance won’t win him any fans when it comes to people who stand firmly in the Brody camp. “I know that there are plenty of fans out there who are saying they’re never going to watch the show again because Brody isn’t in it,” he admits, “but I just feel that people are invested in this character and curious about where her life takes her after the loss of this very important person in her life.” He also realizes that most fans will realize “Brody will always be a part of Carrie Mathison.”
Brody’s death will always be a part of her as well. As viewers watch Carrie grapple with the responsibilities of being a mother in Season 4 — specifically being the mother of Nicholas Brody’s child — they’ll see her dealing with her own role in his demise.
Carrie deals with that culpability and her guilt in Season 4 the best way she knows how: By avoiding it. She delves into a job that keeps her away from her child, and it doesn’t give her much time to think, let alone grieve. Her job as a “drone queen” occupies every minute of her waking day, and “that’s how she’s coping,” Gansa says. “That’s how she’s dealing with her grief, that’s how she’s coping with the abandonment of her child back in Washington with her sister. She’s just occupying her brain from the minute she gets up to the minute she goes to sleep with her work, and she is a little off as a result.”
But Carrie can’t avoid her child forever. A trailer for Season 4 shows her holding her baby and crying, promising that she will have some one-on-one time with Brody’s daughter. But just being around the child will be difficult for the CIA agent. No matter how much she is able to move on, Carrie will always see Brody when she looks at her daughter thanks to the baby’s shock of red hair — and yes, the babies are “true gingers.”
So Brody might be left behind in Season 3, but his spectre is not. Gansa admits Season 4 is “an experiment” as the series moves away from its previously established format, though one he is optimistic about. “But we’ll see. We’ll see on Oct. 5,” Gansa acknowledges. “Our job is to tell the best story we can in the time frame, and it’s the audience’s decision about whether they want to join that story or care about that story anymore.”
“Homeland” airs a two-hour Season 4 premiere on Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.