I’ve started at the beginning listening to your podcasts because it’s the newest fuel for my obsession. My question is what is it you felt Brody was holding Homeland back from being/doing?

I assume I said this on an early podcast episode? Going back almost six years is hard, but I’ll try… 

I think the writers felt constrained by Brody’s presence in the same way that they ended up feeling constrained by Quinn’s presence. In both cases, killing off those characters fueled somewhat of a creative resurgence. 

The big difference with Brody, of course, is that the show was never meant to be about Carrie and Brody. He was supposed to die in the first season. Then he was supposed to die in the second season. 

Homeland was conceived (and pitched, IIRC) as a story about Carrie, with her relationship with Saul as the backbone. However, the Carrie/Brody relationship and the Claire/Damian chemistry were both so electrifying that the writers chose to ride that wave past the first season. I’m not sorry about that, because it was thrilling and made for tremendous television. It was a bright flame but one that burned extremely quickly. 

The stories the show told in later seasons were deep and rich and sometimes maddening (see: Franny Mathison), and almost all of them couldn’t have happened with Brody in the picture. Perhaps most importantly, Carrie allowing Brody to die was a defining moment in her characterization. 

Carrie Mathison is a woman who is absolutely terrified of being alone, yet she sent the actual love of her life off to die in service of… her country and a withholding father figure whose love and approval she craves. With each mission he convinces her to complete (and that she convinces herself to complete), she gets closer and closer to the life she swore to him she didn’t want. But she can’t stop. This show is about that person, and I don’t think it could have been about that person in those ways if Brody had lived. And it’s why, years from now, I’ll probably still be thinking about it.