6:18pm PT by Lesley Goldberg, Michael O'Connell
'Homeland' Downgrades Morena Baccarin, Morgan Saylor
Showtime's Homeland has downgraded two of the Brodys.
Morena Baccarin (Jessica) and Morgan Saylor (Dana) will not return to the Emmy-winning drama as series regulars for its fourth season, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
As first reported by TV Line, the two original cast members will have the option to guest star next season in the same fashion that former regular Diego Klattenhoff (Mike) did during season three, as he filmed his co-starring role on NBC's The Blacklist.
Saylor's Dana has been a point of fan friction since the series' launch, but the character started playing an even more prominent role in the third season. The absence of Damian Lewis' Nicholas Brody from all but two of the first eight episodes shifted focus of the Brody family to Dana, and her increased screen time topped the list of viewer gripes during the particularly divisive season.
As for supporting actress and Emmy-nominee Baccarin, the Jessica Brody character was almost nonexistent in the third season. Her few scenes were only there to fuel the Dana storyline. Baccarin was in her third trimester for much of the production and gave birth in October -- before filming completed on season three.
"Because Brody was not onscreen and not part of the story in those first couple of episodes, we really wanted to tell the aftermath of the bombing in a more personal way," Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa said of the decision to focus on Dana. "The relationship between Dana and her father is very strong. It's stronger than his relationship with Jessica and certainly stronger than his relationship with [son] Chris [Jackson Pace]."
"Going back to the first season … the first time that Brody came back from captivity, he gives his wife a hug -- but it's kind of a tentative one," he said. "The first time we see him open up, it's in response to his daughter. That led to the end of season one, when she talks him off the ledge when he's about to explode that vest inside the bunker with the vice president. Her role grew through season two, and she just felt like the logical person. For the weight of what her dad did, it just landed on her in a more profound way."
Saylor and Baccarin have been absent in the ramp up to the Dec. 15 finale. Gansa told THR in October that they had planned on cutting them both back. "She's not physically onscreen a lot, but her presence is there in a profound way for Brody and for Carrie," he said.
Homeland's third season finale airs on Sunday on Showtime.