Homeland has returned for a fourth series with one question hanging over its head- can it survive without Damian Lewis as disgraced Sergeant Nicholas Brody? For the first three series the show hung its hat on Brody as a suspected terrorist and his fiery relationship with CIA officer Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes.
After Brody’s execution and Carrie’s posting in Kabul as Station Chief, could the show continue to keep viewers hooked?
“Claire is more than capable of carrying the show on her own shoulders, with Mandy [Patinkin] and Rupert [Friend] and everyone else,” says actress Nazanin Boniadi, who returns in the third episode as analyst turned agent Fara Sherazi.
“In all honesty, I think the producers kept Brody alive as much as they could. Part of that was because Damian was so spectacular in the role, they just couldn’t give him up. But there’s only so much you can do with the character.”
“I think the show has more to offer,” Boniadi adds explaining that viewers will see plenty of “tension”.
“One way or other, there’s something that happens that challenges the dynamic of every main character.”
Boniadi herself is returning to a far more active version of Fara.
“Fara surprises even herself with her courage,” she says, as the former analyst joins Carrie as an agent in her new posting in Pakistan. “[Fara’s facing] new challenges and they involve being on the ground more, rather than being in the office behind a computer.
“I think Fara’s willingness to help Carrie in Iran with her family proved to Carrie that she’s up to the job, so she bought her onto the team.”
Long-standing agent Peter Quinn has a rather tempestuous working relationship with Carrie. Could the often hinted at romantic relationship between Carrie and Quinn develop, with Fara stuck in the middle?
“I think there seems to be a large portion of the audience that’s rooting for [a Quinn/Carrie relationship], but at the same time Carrie is focused on being a new mother, she’s just lost the love of her life. I think she’s very focused on maybe just getting over that and handling herself at the moment.”
Of romance for Fara, Boniadi says, “Why not? It’s nice to see different dimensions of a character. A love interest and family life are always, I think, important in creating layers and textures.”
On returning to the role of Fara, with a stint in Shonda Rhimes’ hugely successful Scandal series in between, Boniadi says, “Fara is a groundbreaking character. I feel privileged to get to play her. I think the writers have done an incredible job of creating a character that is multi-faceted and who happens to be Muslim.
“It’s the first time you’re really seeing a Muslim American humanised as a regular on television. She’s not good or bad. She’s just a human being. I find that extremely fascinating.
“I truly hope this journey lasts as long as it can. I’ve had a blast.”
Homeland continues Sundays at 9:00pm on Channel 4