Homeland's Miranda Otto Teases Allison's Ambiguous Loyalties

Ileane Rudolph
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Showtime

Berlin CIA station chief Allison Carr is a vintage Homeland character: Smart, ambitious and cagey with morally suspect baggage and ambiguous loyalties. “She’s very keen to succeed, very self-assured and very much a loner,” says Miranda Otto, the Australian actress who portrays the spook with steely determination. She’s also wary of her former colleague Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), not only because she now works for the lefty Düring Foundation but also because Allison believes her boss—and lover—Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) will always favor Carrie, his former protégée. “One of Allison’s big goals is to rise to the top of the CIA, and she wants Saul to be in her pocket, not Carrie’s,” Otto says.

“Allison is someone who needs to put everything under control,” she adds. But that control seems to be crumbling. Under her watch, local hackers leaked classified CIA files that damaged the U.S. and German political relationship and have opportunistic Russian agents hovering. “Allison is desperate to retrieve the rest of the files before they go public. If she can’t get them back, it won’t be good for her.” Nor, it seems, will her involvement in a controversial and risky Syrian operation that Saul has pulled her into. She’ll have to decide just how low she’ll go in order to survive.

“In this week’s episode,” Otto reveals, “we’re dealing with the repercussions of what happened with Syria. The Berlin station is in turmoil, with everyone trying to work out what went wrong in a world where you can’t really be sure of anybody.” We’d put Allison near the top of that list.

Homeland, Sunday, Nov. 8  9/8c, Showtime