Today’s critically acclaimed dramas are largely devoid of sincerity. AMC’s “Mad Men” and Showtime’s “Homeland” have captivated audiences worldwide, though unconventionally. They succeed on the strength of their deception rather than their morality. We enjoy partaking in the game of cat-and-mouse they set up for us.
After two seasons of Showtime’s “Homeland,” we still cannot be certain that Sgt. Nicholas Brody is worthy of our trust. The “us against the world” effect of the season two finale leads us to believe Brody was not responsible for the death of over 200 people at Vice President Walden’s memorial service. But in a show as turbulent as “Homeland,” do we dare blindly believe?
Can we ever trust our protagonists? Do we believe in “Mad Men’s” Don Draper — or is it Dick Whitman? The true identity of the main character is withheld for much of the first season. But in the sleazy Manhattan advertising scene of the 1960s, this is hardly the only indiscretion. Not unlike Brody on “Homeland,” the ad men of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce live double lives. They are adulterers and alcoholics, who return home to their attention-starved children and wives who are in denial, without a suspicion of doubt.
The honest moments that organically arise from duplicity are what keep us tuning in each week. The shock of watching Carrie repeatedly confess her love for Brody, or the moment you realize Don is just a man haunted by the past, make these dramas must-see programming.
— Isabel Jones
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