When you bolt awake and sit straight up on your couch because the guy you’ve been watching on secret surveillance has had a nightmare and shouts himself awake which in turn jolts you, your day kind of starts with a bang.

Welcome to my brand new addiction and yours: Homeland.

It’s rare when you get a chance to catch up on shows you’ve heard about but somehow missed.   Delightfully, this one couldn’t be easier to jump on board with.   Homeland’s 12-episode first season is out on DVD today, which means we have about six weeks to catch up together.  Couple episodes a week?

So here’s the deal:  Claire Danes plays the title character Carrie, but she disappears in the role so fast I never think about her other roles, other characters.   She is Carrie, 100%, and watching her embody this mess of a woman is enough of a draw in itself.

Because Carrie is a mess.   She’s an erratic, brilliant, sloppy, demanding stress of a woman who works deep inside the CIA.   And she’s Made Mistakes.  Missed Things.   And it kills her; she is utterly determined not to let that happen again. 

The only thing she has going for her (well, other than her extraordinarily patient boss/mentor Saul) is that she believes an American prisoner of war who was held captive for eight years in Iraq has been turned, and before you get sleepy and tune out, this is what she does to prove it:

When Sergeant Brody is released and comes home to predictable American Hero fanfare,  she hires private security to wire his entire house for video and sound and then watches his every move from the comfort of her couch.  Every time Brody chokes his wife during sex (because, you know, PTSD) or looks creepily calm in the face of his kids not knowing who the f*ck he is (remember, he was gone for 8 years),  Carrie is watching, not missing a thing, and loving every second of it.   She’d be eating popcorn if all the food in her house wasn’t rotten because the woman has more important things to do than eat.

Meanwhile, sometimes we’re in Brody’s head, getting little glimpses into what it was like to be a POW (spoiler: bad) and all the lies he’s told since he’s returned.   “Did you ever see noted terrorist Abu Nazir?” “Nope.” (He did.) “Do you know who killed the man you were imprisoned with?” “Nope.” He did. Oh - and I have no idea if he knows his wife was having an affair with his best friend and was seconds away from telling her kids about it…

Are you hooked yet?

I should also point out that I’ve seen more boobs on Homeland than I have since Game Of Thrones finished.   There’s a fair amount of sex, some “professional girlfriends” who are kind of double-agent-y – oh, and then there’s the issue of the little green pills Carrie needs to control her “illness”, which is a closely guarded secret (except not that close, because Carrie, as previously mentioned, is a mess).  

The thing that keeps you locked in here, especially if spy stuff isn’t your regular jam, is how committed and passionate and potentially way off base Carrie is.   Even though she is, as she tells us, “really good at what I do”, the potential for her to fail miserably is quite evident – especially as her higher ups don’t exactly view her favourably.

I’ve managed to restrain myself from watching more episodes but I won’t hold out long, so keep up with me and we’ll debrief on a couple of them each week until Season 2 begins – we might even need a liveblog to discuss, if only to find out how many of us already have inexplicable crushes on security expert Virgil.  See you next week?