‘Homeland’ Star Morena Baccarin: Jessica Gets Seduced by Power in Season 2

Homeland star Morena Baccarin (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

When Season 2 of Showtime’s Emmy-nominated thriller “Homeland” premieres on Sunday, Sept. 30 (10/9c), the series will have jumped ahead six months from the Season 1 finale.

Carrie (Claire Danes), now living with her sister, is slowly getting her life together following her dramatic meltdown and electroshock therapy; Brody (Damian Lewis) has taken over the vacated seat of a scandalized congressman; and his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), still standing by her man, couldn’t be more thrilled about her husband’s political position. In fact, it awakens a deeper desire within her — a desire for power.

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“She’s seduced by D.C. life and I think wants them to be this successful power couple – the Jackie O. and Kennedy,” Baccarin tells XfinityTV.com in an exclusive interview. But will her drive to become a member of high society overshadow the real drama going on at home? And will other seductions – ahem, Mike – rear their attractive heads again? Below, Baccarin offers a glimpse into what to expect in Season 2.

President Obama loves the show. It’s received heaps of critical praise. What kind of pressure does that put on you going into the second season?
It entered my mind that POTUS has seen our show! [Laughs] It’s amazing. There was a little bit of trepidation I think starting the second season just because [of the idea], Can we do this all over again? Can we make it as good? Can it be as exciting? As soon as I read that first script all my fears went out the window. These guys [executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa] did such a great job of telling such an amazing story and keeping the adrenaline pace and keeping it exciting and true. It’s been really really great. It’s different and yet the same show.

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There’s a moment between Brody and Jess in the second season premiere which perfectly exemplifies that type of unexpected, exciting pace. What was your reaction to reading that scene?
It was a jaw dropping moment when I read it, and [it was] really sad. But then I love how they turned her around in that scene. She was hurt by it but she didn’t let that defeat her. This is the new Jessica, which I think is really fascinating. She was weary of him going into the limelight of the political life and now I think she’s really embraced it and has really flourished in it and enjoyed it. So when she finds this information about Brody that shocks her she’s hurt, of course, but then through her ambition she finds a way to basically say to him, “You don’t get to do this. You don’t get to destroy all of our lives with your decisions.” I think it’s a new place of strength where I find her to be really interesting.

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So Jess is going to be coming into her own this season? 
She’s been sort of beaten up by him in more ways than one, and she’s done. She’s been there for the family. She’s working really really hard, and she needs the same courtesy from him. It gets to a point where the marriage is so broken that it’s up to him to decide if this is what he wants and to make it work. She’s had it.

When we pick up Brody is in the vacated Congressman’s seat but he hasn’t actually been elected to that position, right?

There was a vacated seat so he jumped onto it. Then he gets asked by the Vice President to be his running mate as he runs for the Presidency. It moves very quickly.

What does Brody’s potential run for Vice President do to newly empowered Jess?
She’s been hob nobbing with the D.C. women, the ladies who lunch, and she’s realizing she can make a difference. They have fund raisers and she feels empowered by these little bits of things she can have a say in. And she realizes she can influence Brody. I think she’s having a purpose other than just being home and taking care of the family. And I think that’s something she’s really interested in. She discovers she’s good at it, too.

With Jessica in a more high profile society role, does that mean she gets out of the house more — with a nicer wardrobe to match?
Yes! Yes! It’s so fun. Jessica wasn’t known to be the most stylish person this past season, which was actually really fine. It was a refreshing change to wear jeans, or the “mom shirts” — those James Perse button downs. I get to look attractive and wear some power clothes. We’re starting slowly which I think is really really smart. She’s getting her footing and starting to spruce up her wardrobe.

Jessica and Dana [Morgan Saylor] had a very volatile relationship last season. Will that mother-daughter dynamic shift at all?
It’s a trying dynamic, those two. As the show goes on, though, you do see it change a little bit.

Well, she favored Brody over Jess last season.
But Brody’s behavior gets more and more erratic. And Dana is very quick to pick up on that. She’s very in tune with him. And we have a really nice moment where she basically says to me, “You know what? He’s weird. Something’s going on.” And it’s like, “Thank you!” So they bond over this and it’s the first really kind of nice moment between them in a long time.

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Does this mean Dana will be less rebellious this season? Or is she still be going through the growing pains of being a teenager?
Yes and no. She’s still a teenager through and through. As much as she wants to be there for her family and her mom, she can’t help it. There’s this rebellious thing wound up in her. And things are so screwed up at home she has to let off steam.

With things at home on shaky ground, does that mean Mike [Diego Klattenhoff] might have room to reenter the picture?
Enter Mike! [Laughs] Oh, poor good old Mike. I feel so bad for the guy. He really gets the sh-t end of this deal. That relationship is still present in their lives. Jessica is trying really hard to try to break from that and to really give her marriage a shot. I’m just starting in the episode where he’s coming into the picture a little bit. So I believe it will go there.

With Brody in Congress and potentially running for a higher political office, the stakes of the world discovering his affair with Carrie obviously increase. Are we going to see any of that bubble to the surface?
We haven’t approached it yet. We’re just up on that now in this season. We’re starting episode six now. I don’t know where the hell they’re gonna go with this. I mean, it’s amazing. We’ve already covered so much ground. It’s really crazy.

[Showtime President] David Nevins revealed there’s an “oh sh-t” moment in episode three. Who does that involve?
Of course Brody! There’s a few “oh sh-t” moments this season. But episode three is game changing. It’s something that makes you think, How are they going to keep going with the season?

Nevins has also said these are real stakes we’re dealing with here and any character could go at any point. Do you live with that fear?
I do. I live with that fear. You don’t know. These guys are hellbent on making a great story and they will not stop, and anybody is a victim of that. So yes, I love my job and I’d love to continue for five million years, but I don’t think anybody is safe.

Have the producers told you anything to that extent?
I really don’t know where they’re going. They’re very secretive about it.

If you could tease the theme or the arc of this season, what would it be?
Adrenaline. The show is fast-paced. It doesn’t give you a second to breathe. Even when you’re in the home life you think, Okay, we’re going to watch a nice family scene. But no. Everybody is reeling and dealing with the effects of Brody and of circumstances outside of their control.

Has working on this show changed your worldview?
I guess so, yeah. In some way it makes you very distrusting of people and it kind of opens up your world to,  What is out there that we don’t know? I read these scripts and am like, There is a network of people all over the world hellbent on destroying this nation. Where are they? What are they doing? That’s a real thing.  It’s kind of fascinating. I kind of dork out on the details and the intelligence stuff, like facial recognition and how they have these operations going on on the ground in Afghanistan and at the same time they’re in a room in Langley. It’s fascinating.

After all they’ve been through together, do you think that Brody and Jess really do still love each other?
I do. I think that deep down in their hearts they think they belong together and do love each other. I think they’ve just been both victims of a very f–ked up situation beyond their control.

Season 2 of “Homeland” Premieres on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 10/9c on Showtime.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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