We already chomped our fingers to the bone in anticipation of mega US spy thriller Homeland’s return and now it's finally here and it's pretty much everything we expected. But just how real is what we see on the show?

FHM interrogated CIA expert and former counter-terrorism adviser to the US government Rick “Ozzie” Nelson to get to the bottom of things…

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you haven’t seen series 1 and 2.


Good cop bad cop

The scene: Things get tasty as Damian Lewis’s Brody is brought in for questioning

“There are so many things wrong with that scene. For starters you are not going to bring a sitting congressman into a safe house and interrogate him without a lawyer, let alone put a knife through his hand. Oh, and the CIA doesn’t conduct interrogations like that on US soil, just the FBI.”

Verdict: Not real

Terrorist texting

The scene: Brody texts terrorist Abu Nazir from the "Situation Room"

“When important intelligence is being discussed you are not allowed to carry a portable device of any sort into the room, even if you’re the head of the CIA. Sometimes you’re not even allowed to bring them into the building.”

Verdict: Not real

The Beirut operation

The scene:
Claire Danes’ Carrie runs back into a Beirut house for more intelligence under heavy enemy fire.

“She’s putting her colleagues’ lives in danger, and would never have worked again. And if you’re conducting an undercover operation, you are not going to cruise through the streets of Beirut in a giant SUV. That’s just not smart.”

Verdict: Not real

The indoctrination

The scene: Abu Nazir breaks Brody’s spirit in a jail cell

“The portrayal of the terrorist network is pretty accurate, given Osama bin Laden recruited Americans like Anwar al-Awlaki. The way Nazir breaks Brody’s spirit before earning his love by inviting him into his home is classic Stockholm Syndrome, and exactly how a terrorist would try to turn an agent.”


Bugging out

The scene: Carrie enters Brody’s house to bug it for intelligence

“That scenario’s wrong on so many levels. The only people with those facilities are the FBI. And if the CIA, for some reason unknown to me, could do it, it wouldn’t be done by a lone operative working outside of the system. She would’ve gone to jail for a very long time.”

Verdict: Not real

Fired and flipping out

The scene: Carrie storms back into a briefing at the Pentagon after being fired

“All her clearance would have been revoked. She’d have had to get past multiple security checkpoints and would be escorted everywhere. The only place she’d be allowed to go alone is to the bathroom.”

Not real

Overall verdict: OK, so the show might not be 100% accurate, but it’s still the best thing on telly this autumn. Miss it at your peril.