'Homeland' and the Imagination of National Security

The show Homeland began its third season with record-breaking ratings.

The show Homeland began its third season with record-breaking ratings. The show's creators Alex Ganza and Howard Gordon, who previously collaborated on the wildly popular series 24, seem to have worked out a successful narrative for the War on Terror during the Obama era. If 24 reflected the Bush administration's cowboy, shoot-em-up (and torture them) style, Homeland is about Obama's "smarter" war.

New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley commented, "Homeland is 24 for grown-ups." Not surprisingly, President Obama loves Homeland,listing it as one of two "must-see" shows. Dick Cheney also seems to watch the show, stating that he could relate to a plot in season two, in which the vice-president is killed by terrorist-hackers who take control of his defibrillator. In 2007, Cheney had asked his doctor to disconnect the wireless system in his new defibrillator as a precaution against such threats, anticipating Homeland's storyline by some years.

Writers and commentators have often noted the ways in which cultural products have been shaped by the War on Terror agendas of politicians, the CIA, and the Pentagon. Less examined, however, is the part played by the culture industry in furnishing the security establishment with the cultural imagination needed to meet its goals through productions like Homeland.

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