After hearing a lot of buzz about the Showtime series “Homeland” I’ve started watching the first season on DVD, and I’m quite enjoying it. It concerns a returned American POW, Brody, who was held for years by terrorists. An ambitious CIA agent, Carrie, believes he has been turned and part of a new mysterious plot against America.
The CIA agent wires up Brody’s home with hidden cameras and microphones and obsessively monitors the video feeds on a screen at her home. At the same time, Brody has become a national figure pursued by the media.
A television crew comes in to prepare the living room for a live interview, and, of course, an obnoxious producer wants to pretty up the setting and asks to change a picture in the background to something “less Motel 6.” After some struggle, Brody and his family play along with the happy reunited family that the producer wants to portray.
The contrast of the family assembled for public consumption by a national television audience and the surveillance footage that reveals troubled and fractured relationships is striking.
“Homeland” is all about perception, deception and reality in an unpredictable narrative. But these first few episodes got me thinking about how frequently the public’s appetite is for the predictable narrative, and how often there is so much more to the story than we are let in on.