'Homeland' preview: How Trump influenced Season 7

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Elizabeth Marvel as President Elizabeth Keane in “Homeland.” (Photo: Jacob Coppage/Showtime)

When it comes to TV storylines ripped from the headlines, it doesn’t get any more real than Homeland Season 7, premiering Sunday.

The Showtime drama is moving once again, this time to return to Washington, D.C. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is in the thick of the action, as usual, as the former advisor to President Keane (Elizabeth Marvel). But the reform-minded politician that Carrie admired has changed after the attempt on her life at the end of Season 6.

After her inauguration, Keane arrested dozens of intelligence officers, including Carrie’s former mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). She has become paranoid and closed off, and it’s up to Carrie to hold the president accountable for her actions.

“Just the fact that we were telling a slightly parallel story — that held a lot of appeal for us,” showrunner Alex Gansa tells Yahoo Entertainment.

Here are three ways the fictional President Keane parallels the real President Trump.

1. She has a rocky beginning.

Season 6 concluded filming right after Trump’s inauguration. So when Gansa and the writers sat down to work through Season 7, they decided to make it a continuation rather than reset the chess board.

“We were watching just this thing happen,” Gansa says. “We were watching a president who we elected and we were watching him go through the growing pains of the transition period, and then watched him as he started to learn on the job.”

Much like Trump, Keane will reverse course on some decisions and strike new paths for others. For example, she’ll hire Saul — a man she had imprisoned — to be her new national security advisor.

2. She feels she’s under constant attack, but has done nothing wrong.

Keane probably won’t be starting Twitter feuds from the residence, but, Gansa says, “There’s a degree of paranoia about her. There’s a degree of anger and bitterness at what happened last season. The main question that hangs over her arc this season is, ‘I was the one who was [almost] assassinated; why am I the one under investigation?’” (That question would fit in a tweet, though.)

But where Keane sees herself as a sort of near-martyr figure with a mandate, Carrie sees “an administration that is ignoring the rule of law, abusing its power, and degrading, in her mind, our democratic institutions,” Gansa explains. And Carrie is going to do everything she can to rein in the president.

3. She has foes on all sides.

The current president not only has to contend with Democrats working against him but sometimes also his own party. Similarly, Keane has few people she lets in her inner circle.

“Much like Donald Trump was for his transition and during the first couple months of his administration, this is a bit of an embattled and isolated president who is at direct odds with her intelligence community and with the national security establishment, or what the Trump administration likes to call the ‘Deep State’,” Ganza says. “So there is a relevance to what we’re watching on Homeland to what’s going on in the real world.”

Season 7 of Homeland premieres Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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