Leading up to the premiere of “Homeland” Season 4, Zap2it is running a series of articles from a lengthy interview with showrunner Alex Gansa as the Showtime series prepares for its most important season yet. In this second piece, Gansa discusses Carrie’s relationship with her bipolar disorder in Season 4.
“Homeland” has told a variety of stories about Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and her struggle with bipolar disorder over its first three seasons. When audiences meet up with Carrie again in the Season 4 premiere, they’ll find that she’s surprisingly stable, all things considered.
Though Carrie will still be dealing with her grief
over the death of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, the show is depicting a period where she is able to find balance between her work, her life and her disorder. “Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa describes this as being a true-to-life depiction of living with bipolar disorder instead of just the writers giving Carrie’s struggles with it a season off.
“Her illness is commensurate with who she is as a person. It’s something she has to deal with every day of her life,” he says. “But there are periods, years probably go by, where she is quite stable; where she is religiously taking her medication; where she is exercising, eating right, sleeping well — all that stuff.”
That’s not to say some of the problems Carrie’s issues with being bipolar won’t play a role in Season 4. Though Gansa says this season is one of her periods of calm, Danes will play the character so “the spectre of that illness creeping in should be present at every moment, and [Carrie is] on guard about it.”
“When she’s overseas and doing this job and when she’s particularly vulnerable to stressful situations, that’s when she’s most religious about doing what’s required to keep her on an even keel,” he explains.
That echoes the comments executive producer Meredith Steihm said while promoting “Homeland” at the summer TV press tour. “Emotionally, she has stabilized,” Stiehm said of Carrie
. “She’s going into this season very steady. There are some people who are so talented that you forgive past deeds and erratic behavior. I think Carrie Mathison is one of those people.”
“Homeland” Season 4 premieres Sunday (Oct. 5) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.