Homeland season 7: what to expect as Carrie takes on President Keane
Homeland is set to return to our screens this month, with season seven promising more high-stakes tension, political subterfuge and shots of Carrie Mathison looking panicked.
But before you bemoan another overextended TV show that doesn't know its own expiry date, consider the fact that last year's series was a return to form for Homeland, full of intrigue and topical relevance (even if it did call the US election wrong and created a female president character).
Furthermore, showrunner Alex Gansa has said that Homeland has been renewed for two more seasons, but that's it. So we can expect two more climactic seasons before Carrie bows out.
Ahead of its return to Channel 4, here's a primer for season seven - including spoilers up to and including season six.
Where did we leave the characters last time?
In short, chaos.
The season six finale featured a dramatic assassination attempt against President Keane (Elizabeth Marvel).
While that plot failed, it did result in the death of fan favourite character Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who was shot while driving Carrie (Claire Danes) and Keane to safety.
Carrie (Claire Danes) in the penultimate episode of Homeland season 6 (Photo: Channel 4)
Following the failed assassination attempt, the ever-scheming Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) was left languishing in prison, but still told his old pal Saul (Mandy Patinkin) that he found Keane "distinctly un-American". It remains to be seen whether he will find a way back into the fold.
Keane, meanwhile, ended up betraying her personal adviser Carrie by having 200 members of the intelligence community rounded up and arrested, including Saul. She felt they were implicated in a conspiracy against her.
In the end, Carrie was escorted from Keane's office after her complaints over the looming autocracy fell on deaf ears.
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What can we expect in season 7?
In the immediate aftermath of the assassination attempt, Carrie has moved back to Washington D.C. in order to campaign for the release of her colleagues, pitting herself directly against Keane's administration.
Despite initially finding himself in prison, Saul manages to become Keane's National Security Advisor, to Carrie's disbelief as she watches on TV.
Expect trust (or the lack of it) to be a major theme once again.
Comparing the season seven storyline to Donald Trump's current situation, writer and producer Gansa told the Washington Post: "You have an embattled and isolated president believing that the 'deep state' is against him. In our story, we have a president who feels the same way."
There will also be a return for new character Brett O'Keefe (Jake Weber), the right-wing 'shock jock' who confronted Keane in his studio last time round, and was running an underground troll farm, in tandem with Dar.
Saul's fate remains uncertain (Photo: Channel 4)
Will this be the last season of Homeland?
No, but it is the penultimate season.
On the end of Homeland, Gansa said: "We’re doing one more season [after this one], and we’ve already started thinking. We’d love to take Homeland back to where it started, in Israel. Will that be feasible? We’ll have to see.
When does Homeland season 7 begin for UK viewers?
Homeland returns in the US on 11 February. A UK premiere is expected to follow on Channel 4 the week after, most probably the Sunday (18 Feb), although this is yet to be confirmed.
In the meantime, you can catch up on All4 or Netflix.