The Remote: No Brody, no problem for ‘Homeland’

Ryan Pait

Killing off characters has become almost standard practice for TV today.

Some of TV’s most popular series are regularly wiping their slates clean by sending characters to meet their makers.

“Game of Thrones” has slaughtered numerous important characters over the years.

“Downton Abbey” exterminated two very popular lead characters just last year.

Even newer shows, such as “House of Cards,” have no trouble killing off characters after they serve their purpose.

It’s a brutal practice, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Rather than stringing characters and viewers along, fate intervenes. It can often re-invigorate a show.

It’s no wonder that Alex Gansa, show-runner of Showtime’s “Homeland,” has considered killing off one of the main characters.

Gansa has expressed in multiple interviews that he and his writing team have often considered putting Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) on the chopping block.

Brody, while integral to the first season of the show, became less of a driving force in the second season of “Homeland.”

The show is now two episodes into its third season, and Brody hasn’t made an appearance.

He’ll return in episode three.

“Homeland” is essentially operating with one of its two lead characters missing — but it’s totally working.

The other lead character is Carrie Mathison, portrayed by Claire Danes. Danes has won two consecutive Emmys for her portrayal of Carrie.

Danes and her character are the true vim and vigor behind “Homeland.”There hasn’t been a character like Carrie on TV in quite some time.

While Carrie and Brody’s messed-up relationship has been the driving force of some of the show’s drama, it’s far from being the most important part.

This has never been clearer than in the first two episodes of the third season.

Both episodes have strongly focused on Carrie and her struggles after the bombshell finale of season two.

It’s a smart move — it’s always intriguing to watch Carrie’s ever-shifting mental state play out on screen.

Other characters have also stepped up to fill the Brody-sized hole in the show.

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is more present than ever, and season two guest star Rupert Friend has been upped to a regular this season.

New characters have also been added to the mix and the show has paid less attention to Brody’s family.

And if this is what the show would look like without Brody, I’m fine with it.

Brody’s been put through the ringer story-wise on “Homeland,” and some of the turns his story took in season two were preposterous.

Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t really be so huge of a blow for Brody to bite the bullet. He’s a character that has largely run his course.

No more Brody would also mean the absence of his family — a problem that’s plagued the show for a while now.

While there was some mildly interesting material in the first season for Brody’s erstwhile wife, Jessica (Morena Baccarin), and daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor), much of that dropped off in the second season.

The depiction of Brody’s family life never quite clicks tonally with the rest of the show. It’s always a disappointment to have to sit through a scene with Brody’s family after watching some intense bit of espionage or government intrigue.

Gansa and his team may be on the right track.

Killing Brody and writing out his family could potentially re-energize “Homeland.”

Such a move could get it back to the highs of season one rather than the dire lows of season two.

So off with his head, I say.