"Homeland": An unlikely, timely success

Inside a soundstage in Charlotte, N.C., the cast and crew are shooting the second season, which begins next Sunday.

Nearly 2,500 miles away in Los Angeles, the writers and producers are trying to stay an episode ahead.

Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa created "Homeland" and are executive producers. They both worked on "24," another television drama about the war on terror.

They said there is no "message" in "Homeland": "I mean, a message is for propaganda, really," said Gordon.

"Just like on '24', there was an assumed right-wing sort of message," said Gansa. "I think there's an assumed more liberal message here. But I think we're just telling a more nuanced story."

"In the last 10 years, we've been in two wars, we've seen the Arab Spring, we've seen, you know, certain rights, constitutional rights challenged in the name of security," said Gordon. "And so the idea of a soldier coming home from war was something that really grabbed us, and the complexity of and the challenges of that."

For the writers, the challenge this season is to maintain the suspense now that some of the characters' secrets have spilled into view. Brody has been elected to Congress, but still feels pulled into the terrorists' web.

Carrie's recovering from electro-shock, out of the CIA. But she, too, is being pulled back.

"We often said that we were able to pose a lot of questions in the first season," said Gansa. "But we have to answer a lot of questions in the second season, and that is just inherently more difficult."

This psychological thriller addresses some of the most troubling issues of our time. It's filled with moral ambiguities, hard choices, and complicated characters.

That's a lot to ask of a television drama, even one that enters its second season with high expectations.

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