"Homeland" is fresh off its Emmys sweep in the drama categories -- with Best Actress Claire Danes, Best Actor Damian Lewis, Best Writing in a Drama Series for Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Gideon Raff and the night's biggest win for Best Drama Series -- and they're kicking off Season 2 (premieres Sun., Sept. 30 st 10 p.m. ET on Showtime) with plenty of new momentum.
"It will surprise people how accelerated it is," star Damian Lewis told HuffPost TV Emmys weekend. "But that's the thing: We've just got to keep a jump ahead of the audience, and I think they're brilliant at doing that. So far they've managed to do it without it becoming cartoonish or crazy. They've managed to still ground it in reality. It's still a character-driven show. What's brilliant about the plot and the incident and the storyline in this show is it's generated by character, rather than the other way around. It's always believable, so as long as they can keep doing that, then I think we're in good shape."
At the start of Season 2, Brody (Lewis) is a congressman and Jess (Morena Baccarin) is once again his devoted, supportive wife (who's also very much enjoying the perks of the job); Carrie (Danes) is recovering from her electroconvulsive therapy treatments, but won't be gone from the CIA action for long; and that's all because Abu Nazir (new series regular Navid Negahban) is still a threat.
"All I can tell you is you will see more of his footprint and a little bit more of his connections, how involved he is," Negahban teased of his meatier role this season. "He's very connected -- it's scary. But you're in for a treat. I'm telling you, not because I'm part of the show, but you saw the end of Episode 2. [Laughs.] Where are they going to go with this? It's fantastic!"
But while Brody is paranoid and filled with anxiety, juggling his new life and his old mission, Lewis noted in a previous chat with HuffPost TV that Jess is loving the spotlight: "There's an interesting development with Jess where you see a woman suddenly with her eyes on the prize a little bit ... Jess becomes a bit of a social climber, and that's not actually particularly attractive."
And Baccarin agrees. "She's crazy. I don't know how the writers do it, but it just keeps getting better. And I get really great outfits. [Luaghs.] It's nice to have a bit of a character shift this season -- she has a little bit more power and she's a little more dialed in to what's going on with Brody. In the first episode, she finds out a big secret about him, and there's a lot to play there, and a lot to explore throughout the season."
There are plenty of secrets about Brody to uncover -- "It only gets worse, let me tell you," Baccarin said with a laugh -- but it sounds like Jess won't be navigating the rough waters of her husband's psyche alone.
"Our daughter Dana ... she's a little sh--. She makes me crazy," Baccarin said. "But it's actually really wonderful -- halfway through this season, we start to connect more. There's a shift in our relationship that helps us both be more in tune with what's going on with Brody."
Lewis teased that after Episode 2's shocking ending (which Negahban mentioned above), Episode 3 will have a more "gothic ... operatic" feel; he even went so far as to compare it to "Deer Hunter."
But will Jess or anyone else really get close to knowing who Brody is now, and what his mission is? "She knows something's up. She doesn't discover in Episode 3 exactly what's going on, but she has some pretty big moments in that episode herself," Lewis said. "He lets her down in a major, major way, and she's sort of left to pick up the pieces. She has to give this huge speech that he was supposed to give ... so there's a lot going on for her."
And she's not the only one starting to get suspicious. Of course Carrie's memories and pre-ECT revelations have presumably been wiped away, but it's her mentor Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who doubted her enough at the end of last season to get her fired from the CIA, who might want to see her succeed the most.
"Yes, Saul's got a lot to answer for, frankly. That Mandy Patinkin ... he's a shady character," Lewis said with a laugh.
Showtime will run a marathon of "Homeland" Season 1 on Sat., Sept. 29 at noon; Season 2 premieres Sun., Sept. 30, 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.
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