"This peace is yours. Do you really believe that the Taliban will respect any agreement? They will wait for your forces to withdraw while they gather their forces in the villages and in the mountains and then it will be a repeat of Saigon. Your embassy under siege, helicopters taking off from the roof, all the suckers who have worked for you slaughtered in the street. Who will they turn to then?".
The eighth season of Homeland began airing on 9 February 2020 and the final episode of the series was on 26 April 2020. The above excerpt is from episode two on 16 February. It is spoken by Abdul Qadir G'ulom's character, the former Vice President of Afghanistan, to Carrie Mathison, a CIA operations officer. In the first episode there is another revealing phrase spoken by the CIA's Middle East division chief Saul Berenson, "If we withdraw our troops, Kabul will fall in 6 weeks".
In season 5 aired in 2015, Peter Quinn, a CIA analyst supervisor sat in front of the top brass of American intelligence and questioned the US mission in Syria with three words, "Strategy, what strategy?" in what has been called the best scene of the series. It was a fierce criticism of what the US government was doing in Syria after the 9/11 attacks. In itself, the entire series questions the work of the various administrations in the Middle East and details in minute detail how their specialists and contractors work.
The Taliban offensive of 2021 was resolved with the capture of Kabul on 15 August. The city was conquered by fighters and they gained full control of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US army. Thus is written a reality that is intertwined with the fiction of a TV series script that is not based on real events, but advances them. Perhaps, for experts in international relations and for those who lived the Afghan reality between 2005 and 2021 on the ground, the outcome could be seen coming. But telling and recreating it in a prime-time US television series is not so easy. An example of scripts that are written with an assured future only to be shattered by reality is that of Trump's rise to power. Both Homeland and House of Cards filmed their seasons with a woman as President of the United States. Everything pointed to Hilary Clinton holding the office until the tycoon's coup d'état arrived.
Homeland will be remembered for generations to come. The plots always had a point of reality that gripped the viewer. The first three seasons are for many a series on the fringe. Carrie Mathison discovers that an American prisoner of war has joined Al Qaeda. This repatriated POW is an American hero after five years of disappearance. This is the beginning of an intrigue that continues for 36 episodes.
The following five seasons saw the consolidation of Carrie's character and Saul Berenson's role in the fight against jihadist terrorism and Russian pressure on the United States through Fake News. A challenge for the scriptwriters who stitch the context of each episode to the reality of US international relations.
Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon are the scriptwriters who launch their censorship against the Yankee methods in every dialogue of the protagonists of Homeland. The CIA's tactics for obtaining information about its assets, the tense relations between its leaders, the way it physically and psychologically exploits its own agents... these are fictions that can undoubtedly be based on reality.
Homeland already predicted what was going to happen in Afghanistan, and not only in the last season. The entire series leaves behind details of how US counter-espionage works and its relations with the rest of the international powers. The best geopolitics series ever filmed was able to shoot its episodes in North Carolina because that state offered ShowTime and Fox the best tax breaks in the country.
"What if we pull out? Walk away and tell the American people this isn't working and bring our troops home, all of them, why not?"
Elizabeth Keane, President of the United States. First episode of the sixth season. Year 2017.