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Inside Homeland

The epic TV show has already won awards, and promises to keep everyone on the edge of their seats in the second season this fall
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
The Brains Behind Homeland, May/June 2012

(continued from page 6)

His own cigar education began while working on a series, “Maximum Bob,” with producer-director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black): “Barry was directing the pilot of the show in Miami and he got me started,” Gansa says. “My first cigar was a Partagas Serie D No. 4. I remember sitting in this old hotel in Coral Gables, the Biltmore, drinking mojitos and smoking cigars. It became a thing with us: Every time Barry came to Miami, he and I would have a cigar. My dad smoked cigars and we started sharing them. That 45 minutes together rejuvenated our relationship.”

Gordon, who owns two humidors, started smoking cigars while working on “The X-Files”: “I was part of a wine club and some of the guys in the club were cigar collectors,” he recalls. “I was excommunicated from the wine group because I didn’t pay close enough attention and didn’t retain enough knowledge. I guess it’s the same with cigars; I pretty much stick with one that I like and smoke it for a while. I like the Fuente Work of Art, but you don’t always have time to indulge like that. I like a Montecristo No. 2, too.”

He holds up a prized souvenir of his years on “24,” a lethal-looking cigar cutter, saying, “This was a prop on the show. It belonged to a Russian ambassador whose finger found its way into the cutter.”

As noted, Gordon and Gansa turn to the cigars when confronted with knotty writing problems—and they acknowledge that the challenges are big for “Homeland” and its second season.

“We’re at a point where the rubber has not hit the road yet, so there are a bunch of possibilities,” Gansa says. “We’re trying to figure out a way to tell a story with the same energy as the first season, and that’s a bit challenging.”

“It will very much be a continuation of the first year,” Gordon adds. “We’re very excited about ways to bring Carrie back. And the story of Nicholas Brody is only beginning.”

The second season will begin six to 12 months after the end of the first season. While Gansa and Gordon won’t give away particulars, they are hoping to shoot for a couple of weeks in the Middle East. And they mention introducing a major new character.

“The first season was very crystallized in the premise, which had this great hook,” Gordon says.

Says Gansa, “The second year will be different—different rhythm, different narrative, different energy.”

They’ll draw upon the current headlines for inspiration: “There have been so many fantastic world events, from the Arab Spring to Israel threatening to bomb Iran. That’s fascinating for the intelligence community to deal with,” Gansa says. “I was just in Washington, D.C., meeting with some active and retired intelligence officers. And they said that there are discussions at the highest level of government about the same issues we’re dealing with. There is concern in the intelligence community about things like whether we can, in an extrajudicial way, blow people up from long distance, while we’re prevented from interrogating people in a harsh way on the ground. We’re dealing with that moral quandary of how to project American power overseas.”

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