Homeland Elects a Female POTUS (and 4 Other Things to Know About Season 6)

Ileane Rudolph

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND (Season 6, Episode 02).

A new U.S. president has just been elected (timely!) and former CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is living in Brooklyn working for a legal aid firm while helping out former colleague Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who–as it turns out—she did not mercy kill after all. In Season 6, Showtime’s spy thriller continues to be a topical compendium of intrigue and misdirected idealism as Carrie attempts to heal herself and the world around her. Here’s what else you need to know about Carrie and Co.

1.  The new POTUS-elect…is a woman. Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) is a former junior senator from New York City, but she’s no Hillary Clinton. “Keane is both a populist and a maverick who is a fierce protector of our democracy,” explains Marvel. “And she’s aggressively questioning why our engagement in the Middle East has amounted to a multigenerational war with no end in sight.” Though Keane sees the CIA as an important ally during the transition period, her worldview may be very different from that of CIA honchos Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) and especially Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), “who thinks that she has ulterior motives,” says executive producer Alex Gansa. “The season is set between Election Day and the inauguration and deals with the relevant idea of what happens during that transition.”

2. Carrie tries to atone for her sins. After several tortured years abroad in Pakistan and Germany (failed drone strikes, dead lover informants), all the while battling bipolar disorder, Carrie is putting the pieces of her professional life back together. “She works with a Muslim lawyer to defend people who are charged with material support of terrorism, largely by the FBI and NYPD,” says Gansa. “They’re also doing outreach to the Muslim-American community to teach them their rights.”


Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin

3. You will not see the same Quinn. The former black-ops assassin is in a VA hospital “rehabbing physically and psychologically,” reveals Friend. He’s suffering the aftereffects of stroking out when Carrie and Saul demanded that he be forcibly awakened from a coma to give information about the terrorist cell he was infiltrating. “Peter is very much a changed man,” says Friend. “We’ll see the full extent of how debilitated he is now. His struggle: Is his life one worth living?”

4. The civil liberties vs. national security dilemma is explored. Carrie gets caught up in defending young Muslim Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree), who makes anti-American videos in front of iconic NYC sites. “The case features predominantly in the debate about the First Amendment and just how dangerous these individuals can and might be,” Gansa says. “We’re getting into some very gray areas when it comes to prosecuting these people who, for the most part, actually haven’t done anything. The FBI is in the strange position of preempting crime. How can you prove intent?”

RELATED: From the Big Screen to TV: Hollywood's Biggest Stars Make the Leap to Streaming

5. Fake news has some bad consequences. The show also takes on the very real practice of what Gansa calls “the propagandizing of the truth. These false news stories can become larger than life and take over policy, the direction of a campaign or the course of a country.” Adds Gansa: “We will be dealing with that in our own unique Homeland way.”

Homeland, Returns Sunday, Jan. 15, 9/8c, Showtime  @SHO_Homeland