Carrie Mathison and Majid Javadi in the season finale of Homeland 3.
Monday night's finale of Homeland book-ended a year of TV spoilers — so stop reading now if you haven't watched with the shock exits of the leading men of two hit shows.
First, it was Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), the dashing protagonist of Downton Abbey whose short and troubled life was cut short by a car accident, just as he was about to visit his wife Lady Mary, who had delivered their first-born.
Last night, in the season three finale of Homeland, it was Nicholas Brody's turn.
Ex-marine Nicholas Brody has been killed off on Homeland.
In a shock development that few if any loyal viewers would have seen coming, the central character played to painful perfection by British actor Damian Lewis was dispatched in a gruesome and drawn-out scene that saw him hanged in a public execution in downtown Tehran.
Brody's exit – he won't be a "regular" character next season — was perfectly understandable narratively and thematically. He was the most wanted and hated man in both the US and Iran and made into a disposable pawn in the CIA's power play to install the turned agent Majid Javadi inside Iran's regime. The show's writers had backed him into a corner from which he could not escape.
Though Brody's role in the third season was significantly reduced, he was the lynchpin of the lauded drama when it launched in 2011. Lewis' performance as a US marine who had been "turned" during eight years of captivity justly won him both a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy.
News of Brody's death was immediately on Twitter and social media, prompting angry reactions from viewers in time-zones where the episode had not yet aired. Actress Mia Farrow unwittingly found herself in the centre of a storm when she tweeted the development to her 259,000 followers.
At the time Farrow tweeted, "WHAT??! They killed Brody? I'm DONE (with) Homeland", but it appears to have now been taken down after fans responded with: "I was planning to watch the latest season of Homeland on a long flight next week, thanks for ruining that."
Another added, "I never thought I'd ever be mad at Mia Farrow, but she spoiled homeland tonight! (sic)".
Ironically, Farrow, who was in Kenya, hadn't seen the show and was merely responding to the tweets of other fans.
Homeland's climatic season finale recorded some of the drama's best viewership numbers in the US.
According to Nielsen, 2.4 million people watched the end to the show's third season on Sunday night, with the total reaching 2.9 million when the night's two reruns were factored in. Those are the highest-ever first night numbers for Homeland.
Generally about seven million people watch a new Homeland episode each week.
The next season of Homeland has been renewed by Showtime and this being a show based on twists and counter-twists, Brody's death could somehow be a ruse. But don't count on it.
- with WENN, AP