The fourth season of Showtime’s Homeland is uniting Middle Eastern countries—in their objection to the fourth season of Showtime’s Homeland.
Over the weekend, Pakistan officials complained about their country’s depiction in the recently concluded season of the espionage cable drama, while a prominent Israeli recently took issue with a scene in the season finale.
Season four was largely set in Islamabad, where CIA operatives led by Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) struggled to capture a Taliban terrorist leader who was being secretly aided by Pakistani intelligence agency operatives.
According to the New York Post, complaints from Pakistani officials ranged from the lack of on-camera greenery (the Pakistan exterior scenes were filmed in Cape Town, South Africa), to the apparently inaccurate accents used by the show’s actors. But their biggest objection was showing Pakistani military officials aiding terrorists.
“Islamabad is a quiet, picturesque city with beautiful mountains and lush greenery,” an anonymous Pakistani diplomat told the Post. “In Homeland, it’s portrayed as a grimy hellhole and war zone where shootouts and bombs go off with dead bodies scattered around. Nothing is further from the truth … Repeated insinuations that an intelligence agency of Pakistan is complicit in protecting the terrorists at the expense of innocent Pakistani civilians is not only absurd but also an insult to the ultimate sacrifices of the thousands of Pakistani security personnel in the war against terrorism … Homeland makes it seem that Pakistan has contempt for Americans and its values and principles. That is not true.”
The complaints came on the heels of a somewhat similar news beat last week, when Homeland made headlines for comparing a former Israeli Prime Minister to the show’s fictional terrorist leader.
Herzl Makov, director of Israel’s Menachem Begin Center, slammed a scene in the finale where the CIA’s shadowy black ops director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) justifies his dealmaking with the Taliban by referencing Begin. “Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David Hotel before becoming Prime Minister,” Adal said.
Makov told an Israeli news service: “It is slander against Menachem Begin and the state of Israel. To say, ‘Begin killed’? He wasn’t even there. The underground resistance group was under his command, and he took responsibility. In addition, three warnings were given to the British to vacate and their commander refused. So there is a dramatic difference between the two cases compared. For me, it is like saying that [Begin and Homeland‘s Taliban leader] are both terrorists, just like saying they both wore brown shirts. It is surprising specifically because Homeland is based on the Israeli [TV series] format Prisoners of War.”
Showtime has declined to comment on either issue. But in terms of Makov’s complaint, it’s worth noting that Adal is a character who will say and do anything to achieve his desired outcome, so that comparison was made in the context of somebody whose credibility is pretty questionable. As for the Pakistani complaints, if anything, it’s somewhat surprising Showtime aired the entire fourth season before any official objections occurred given the prominence of that storyline.