With Homeland about to return to our screens, FHM spoke to Mandy Patinkin (who plays CIA chief Saul Berenson) about the show and his own personal thoughts on it.

Words: Tom Ryder


Homeland fans are pretty fanatical. Do you regularly find yourself interrogated by people desperate for spoilers on upcoming episodes?

"I was in New York recently with my son, and a cocky guy comes up to me and says, ‘So, did you give him the razor blade?’ The guy was so obnoxious so I said ‘You got a million bucks?’ When he replied ‘actually I do’ I said, ‘Well if you write me out a cheque for a million dollars I’ll tell you’. And he went ‘Fuck you.’

"Afterwards my son asked me what I would have done if he had given me the cheque and I said I would’ve made something up!

"I also have a friend who can’t handle watching anxious situations on TV. Her husband is addicted to the show but she can’t watch it with him. So I had to sit down with her and tell her everything that was going to happen, and only then she was able to enjoy it."

Have you watched Hatufim, the Israeli show that Homeland is based on? If so, how do the two shows compare?

"We just shot part of the first three episodes of season one in Israel, which was doubling for Beirut. While we were there they were premiering the first episode of the second season of Hatufin, and there was a sequence in that which was as great as anything I’ve ever seen on film, anywhere.

"I think Hatufin doesn’t have quite so much of the ‘ticking time bomb’ aspect to it, but both shows give you the in-depth psychological divining rod of humanity. They ask: why are we where we are at this moment in time? Who is responsible? Who are the bad guys and who are the good guys?

"Homeland really shows both sides of the aisle; why each person feels that what they are doing is for the greater good."
 
Has Homeland given you a taste for intelligence work?

"I’m not sure I would be a great spook. But I met this extraordinary man from the CIA – one of the Middle East chiefs, the same as my character. He was telling me some amazing things which I just couldn’t believe were true. I was like ‘That can’t be the truth, you’re horse-shitting me!'

"Halfway through, he mentioned his daughters, and I asked if I could meet them. So they came over, and we talked about the family and how they dealt with living abroad and as part of this organisation. Then I realised that the heart and soul of Homeland is the family: Brody’s family and the family of the CIA."

Homeland: Season 1 is out now on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Season 2 is on Channel 4 in October.