Carrie (Clarie Danes) & Saul (Mandy Patinkin)

New to Channel 10 in 2012, the US series Homeland is an intense experience right from the word go. Part-West Wing, part-24, it’s a series that will get under your skin and keep you tuning in week after week.

Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is found as a POW after eight years in captivity during the Iraq War, and CIA Analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) suspects he’s turned due to intel received ten months earlier while she was stationed in Baghdad. The man’s a war hero. The military want him back in the fold. But can he be trusted? Will the CIA listen to Mathison, an analyst that’s proven to be less than stable? Even her mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) thinks she’s gone too far. Everyone in Brody’s life has moved on – his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), his daugher & son (the latter having no memory of him, being only a baby when Dad was sent to war). They all thought he was dead. What’s a former soldier, struggling to fit back into his old life, going to do?

It’s 24-esque in it’s end of episode revelation of the next micro-segment of plot – given a number of the show’s writers were on the 24 writing team, it makes sense. Brilliantly layered, Homeland delivers viewers tidbits of information to reveal background and character history as sparingly as the plot. It’s these teases that ensure the audience connects with the characters and opens their emotions to the manipulation on-screen.

Mathison is herself a riddle. What’s with the pill? The ring she takes off? What was her role within the government during the September 11 2001 attacks? Is her belief that Brody is indeed the operative she’s been alerted to truth or a misinterpretation she has to believe to ensure she doesn’t lose complete faith in herself?

Lewis is spectacular in the tortured skin of Brody. So is Patinkin, though we see him only in spurts. Danes does well to define Mathison as the strong-willed and experienced analyst with a dysfunctional personal life. Fans of the remake of V will recognise Morena Baccarin from her role as Anna – this role revealing a little more than the sci-fi nerds were ready for. Every part of the Washington DC backdrop blends into the story as neatly as the CIA itself. With S01 completed in the US and S02 on the way, Homeland will absolutely be an hour of must watch television every week when it airs in Australia in 2012.

Homeland – coming soon, Ch10.