Showtime's "Homeland" Returns with Gripping Spy Drama (Spoilers)

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Homeland is the spy show to end all spy shows. And since I love, love, love a good spy show, I had last night's Homeland second season premiere circled on my calendar. Only Game of Thrones' return last spring had me as excited.

courtesy of Showtime

A taut and ruthless thriller, Homeland is based on an Israeli TV series and is about a POW, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), who returns from eight years of captivity in Iraq. Publicly he’s proclaimed a hero, but privately his home life is a struggle and he may or may not be a terrorist.

One brilliant but troubled CIA agent, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) believes he is indeed working for al-Qaeda and goes to extreme lengths to prove it but fails, costing her her job.  By the end of the season, Carrie, hampered by her out of control bipolar disorder, nonetheless unknowingly prevents a catastrophic attack by, yep, you guessed it, Brody.

Oh, and did I mention that Brody and Carrie had an affair, Brody converted to Islam in captivity, and Brody’s daughter, at Carrie’s prompting, is the one that prevented him from igniting that suicide vest and taking out half the cabinet of the US government?

Good stuff.

But on to season two.  Brody is a newly elected congressman and even being groomed as a potential vice-president. He thinks he’s free and clear, but before you can say “dead drop,” he’s given new orders from al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile Carrie is recovering from electroshock treatments. She’s teaching English and growing vegetables when a call comes from her former CIA mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). There’s an international crisis and Carrie’s the only one who can help. Reluctantly she agrees to the overseas mission, but it’s soon apparent she may not be up to the task.

By the way, there’s a mole in the government. You know, the person who in the first season got the razor blade to that terrorist in custody and the person who warned the terrorist wife and husband team.

I’m sure they’re just waiting for the perfect time to spring that name on us, but I’m begging the writers, please don’t let it be Saul! I know he kinda, sorta, almost flunked that lie detector test, but please, I don’t think I could stand it!  Like all the actors, Mandy Patinkin is just too good.

Executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were the creative team behind Fox’s groundbreaking “in real time” drama 24. During Homeland’s first season, they upped that 24-like intensity to the stratosphere and gave us characters so intricate and flawed it was often painful to watch their struggles. Add to that, edge-of-your-seat plotting and excellent acting, and it’s no wonder the show swept the major drama categories at the Emmys.

I saw Homeland’s first season as a marathon and thank God, because I don’t know how I would have stood the tension of a week between episodes. This time I won’t have that luxury, but hey, sacrifices must be made for quality TV.

If you don’t have Showtime, it might be a good time get it because based on the second season premiere, Homeland's gonna totally be worth it.

Christal Roberts is a BlogHer contributing editor and is a confirmed TV junkie. You can follow her on Twitter @ChristalRoberts

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