'Homeland' Boss Explains the New Normal: "We're Adopting the Model that 'The Wire' and '24' Set"

"Each season we pick up Carrie in a new geographic location and a new emotional location as well."
Courtesy of Showtime

Homeland returns to Showtime on Sunday night, again in very narrative different territory.

Much like the location shift of the fourth season —  production headed to Cape Town, subbing for Islamabad — the fifth moves locations again (camera and off), this time to Berlin.

The core foursome of Carrie (Claire Danes), Saul (Mandy Patinkin), Quinn (Rupert Friend) and Dar (F. Murray Abraham) are all still in place, and the war on terror remains the centerpiece, but the rest of the players, threats and interpersonal variables are brand new. Per co-creator and showrunner Alex Gansa, reboots like this are now "hugely intrinsic" to the identity of the show.

"We're adopting the model that The Wire and 24 set," Gansa tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Each season we pick up Carrie in a new geographic location and a new emotional location as well. It's going to be a big part of the show moving forward."

The premiere finds Carrie two years out of the CIA and working as head of security for a German billionaire. Life in the private sector seems to be treating her well, before a combination of hackers, fundamentalist cells and her awkward detente with her former employers seem poised to derail the new status quo. "Our annual trip to DC yielded a lot of discussion about Europe and Russia and the Islamic State's recruitment efforts in places like Germany, France and Britain," Gansa says of the current events that inspired the new storyline. "Right around the time we went, Edward Snowden had just taken refuge in Russia."

Given the general critical praise for the rebooted fourth season, and Homeland's return to the top Emmy race, it's easy to see why the show's writers are now so keen on the refresh button. "The audience has been with us for four years," adds Gansa. "Do they want to see the same thing or do want to see something different? We choose to believe they want to see something different ... which may be a mistake. [Laughs]."

Gansa spoke extensively about the fifth season premiere. Return to THR after the Oct. 4 episode for a full Q&A with the showrunner.