It’s a far from familiar Carrie, bipolar scourge of terrorists, who shows up in season 6 of “Homeland,’’ set in that destination strivers around the world dream of living in—namely, Brooklyn. She’s there having abandoned any further service to the CIA, because—she makes clear in the show’s opening episodes—she’s become increasingly dismayed by America’s policies in the Middle East. Not to mention at home, where she’s appalled to discover that the U.S government has been taking the threat of homegrown terrorism seriously and going so far as to investigate enthusiasts of jihad, creators of websites for the dissemination of messages from Islamic State, devotees of suicide bombers, and even charging some suspected of connection with terror networks abroad.
So it is that we find an even more chronically infuriated Carrie than the one of previous seasons. Instead of chasing around the capitals of the world hunting down terrorists about to set off explosions intended to take the lives of tens of thousands of unbelievers, she’s now spending her days in her Brooklyn offices devoted to legal defense of Muslim males she considers unjustly charged victims of the U.S. government. Unjustly charged in many ways, in Carrie’s view—the most remarkable aspect of which is her complaint that the government investigators aiming to prevent the next mass murder of Americans never stopped to consider the emotional factors driving these subjects, or to take into account the fact that the efforts of some of the would-be perpetrators bent on grand-scale terror assaults turned out to be ineffectual anyway. It’s around about this point in her reasoning that you begin to miss the other Carrie who used to pop pills by the handful, and to wish she’d go and find that bottle she used to keep handy.
In episode 1, awash in introductions to Carrie’s new views, she’s furious about the fate of one man convicted of trying to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, using a blowtorch. “He’s doing 20 years essentially for being an idiot,” she broods. She goes into action in the case of a young Muslim, of Nigerian background, arrested as an online fan of jihadists and celebrator of suicide bombers, with a busy website—a possible material supporter of terror networks abroad. But in Carrie’s assessment, “just an angry kid.” In the unlikely event anybody has, within the first five minutes, not grasped the re-education mission of the series’ new season, the writers once given to obliqueness in the interest of mystery and style have Carrie hammering the messaging home. “Law enforcement,” Carrie declaims, “has to stop harassing and demonizing an entire community.”