Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes in "Homeland" (Showtime, eight seasons) (Photo: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME)
PASADENA, Calif. – Pretend spies and the real kind collided during a Television Critics Association panel Monday for Showtime’s “Homeland,” which returns for its final season on Feb. 9 (Sundays, 9 EST/PST).
Mandy Patinkin, whose Saul Berenson has supervised many spy operations over eight seasons, offered an impassioned defense of real-life intelligence operatives that veered into criticism of President Trump’s treatment of them and their work.
He said he was proud to represent “the patriots we met in the intelligence community,” after consulting with CIA officials before each season of the political thriller. I have profound respect for their admission of their mistakes and what they’ve done, that they’ve been criticized for, and … that no one hears about all the good things they’ve done, how they sacrificed their lives,” he said.
Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes of "Homeland" talked about real and pretend CIA intelligence agents at the Television Critics Association ahead of the Showtime thriller's final season. (Photo: Amy Sussman, Getty Images)
He then criticized President Trump, without naming him, for his treatment of the intelligence community and its work, referencing both the recent killing of a top Iranian official and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“The irony of these past three years (is) to watch this current administration … going to war with the intelligence community,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways when you wake up in the morning and say on your tweet that we had imminent knowledge of everything that was going to take place (regarding planning by Iranian official Qasem Soleimani) and that’s why we did this, and in the same breath five minutes earlier or later, choose to ignore intelligence about interfering with the elections in 2016. That doesn’t work.”
Mandy Patinkin plays Saul Berenson in Showtime's 'Homeland.' (Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)
Patinkin wants viewers to watch “Homeland” from a broader perspective than just entertainment, and made “a plea to people who watch ‘Homeland’ all over the world to use it not just as an escape mechanism, but to use their minds in seeking out what they believe is the truth, as opposed to false information, so that when they go to the polls to elect their officials they are voting for people they believe will stop the killing and violence and change the course of humanity, which is profoundly broken right now.”
Both Patinkin and Claire Danes, who plays field agent Carrie Mathison, said they valued their time spent with real CIA agents for the show, , which returns to an Afghanistan story in its final season. Each witnessed a deep and sincere commitment in their real-life counterparts, and Danes said she used that in her depiction of Carrie.
“She is so clear about her patriotism,” Danes said. “She can be challenged in every way, but if her patriotism is questioned, that’s probably the most profound insult she could imagine.”
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