Jordan Goldman on Editing Homeland

Studiodaily by Bryant Frazer

How Script, Performance, and Avid Technique Keep Audiences Guessing

The first season of Showtime's Homeland — which won six major awards at the Emmys last week — amounted to a very tricky cat-and-mouse game involving Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a brilliant but bi-polar CIA officer, and Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a U.S. Marine Sergeant recently returned from eight years of captivity in Iraq. During his ordeal, Mathison believes, Brody has been turned into a terrorist. The tricky part? She's the only one who believes that.

With so many viewers catching up on new episodes days or even weeks after they air, we're loathe to reveal any surprises from the second season, which airs through December, but we asked one of the show's three editors, Jordan Goldman (an Emmy-winner for his work on the series pilot), about the first season, including some of his editorial techniques and the creative strategies that were used to keep viewers guessing. And if you haven't started watching Homeland yet, be warned that there are some season-one spoilers here.

"It's one of those shows where, when the script comes out, work stops because everyone just wants to take 45 minutes and read the new script," Goldman told StudioDaily. "Working in an environment like that is just wonderful."

With a pilot episode built entirely around the burning question of whether or not Brody had been turned against his own country, Homeland got a reputation early on as a high-wire act. Viewers wondered whether the show would be able to maintain suspense about his allegiances across 12 episodes. Partway through the season, the show revealed that Brody had, in fact, agreed to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.S. The subject of Homeland then became Brody's motives, and his ability to actually carry out the plans he had made. read more...

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