RIP Henry Bromell, Writer-Producer of HOMELAND, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, More

henry-bromell by Team TVWriter Press Service

An executive producer behind Showtime’s critically acclaimed series “Homeland” and other shows has died.

EW.com’s Inside TV reports that Henry Bromell died at 65. The veteran television writer and producer died Monday after reportedly suffering a heart attack.

Bromell’s list of credits included “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Northern Exposure,” “Chicago Hope,” “Brotherhood” and “Carnivale,” among other shows.

The production team behind “Homeland” issued a statement saying: “Henry was a profoundly decent and generous man. A great writer and a great friend. No matter how crazy things got, when he was in the room, you knew everything was going to be okay. Everybody here at ‘Homeland’ is grieving, and we will miss him beyond words.”

A statement from Showtime said: “We are deeply saddened at the loss of our dear friend Henry Bromell, who has been a part of the Showtime family for over a decade. Henry was an immensely talented and prolific writer, director and showrunner, and his work on ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Homeland’ was nothing short of brilliant. His passion, warmth, humor and generosity will be greatly missed. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his wife and family.”

HOMELAND Creators Take Their Show Very Seriously

As if you didn’t already know:

‘Homeland’: Brody Helps Nazir Kill Someone; Producers Talk Shocking Exit And What’s Next – by Maureen Ryan

As Season 2 of “Homeland” enters its home stretch, the pace is amping up, and Sunday’s episode may have been one of the Showtime drama’s most shocking hours yet.

After Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) was abducted, Congressman Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) helped terrorist Abu Nazir (Navid Neghaban) kill Vice President William Walden (Jamey Sheridan). By assassinating Walden, both Nazir and Brody may feel like they’ve finally avenged the death of Nazir’s son Issa — but does helping hack Walden’s pacemaker mean that Brody has turned for good? Will Carrie protect Brody or turn him in? And just how many more twists can be packed into the tangled, obsessive story of Carrie, Brody and the CIA?

You may also be wondering if pacemakers can really be hacked, what Walden’s death means for Brody and for Walden’s CIA protege David Estes (Dorian Harewood), who is himself in conflict with a suspicious Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).

Find out what Sheridan had to say about the death of Walden here, and below, executive producers Howard Gordon and Henry Bromell (who wrote my favorite Season 2 episode, “Q&A,”) talk in depth about Sunday’s episode, titled “Broken Hearts.”

They discuss not just the nuts and bolts of the pacemaker plot and the CIA’s internal conflicts, but how they’ve approached the character arcs in “Homeland’s” second season, and some questions, both big and small: Will F. Murray Abraham be back as shady espionage fixer Dar Adul? Could Brody or Carrie die before the season is over?

Gordon, in particular, addressed whether “Homeland’s” latest twists have tested the boundaries of plausibility, and Bromell, who’s first up, discussed his pacemaker research and what it was like to write the Carrie-Nazir confrontation that was two seasons in the making.

Read the interviews

Brody, Brody, Brody – what’s with that guy? If only there were somebody we could ask…

Kathy Sees WALKING DEAD and HOMELAND

And explains why she’s not gonna watch either of them again.

For your viewing pleasure.

My #2 and #3 shows, Supernatural and Criminal Minds, are getting long in the tooth (and short on fresh ideas), thus I’m compelled to find a couple more shows to latch onto while these take a nosedive wind down their last seasons. My #1 show, Sherlock, isn’t coming back until next year. I’ve got to find my TV crack somewhere. So I decided to try two of the hottest shows around, Walking Dead and Homeland. Guess what? I’m still looking.

First, WD. Not much to say here, considering I couldn’t get through the first episode. I did learn that I don’t like zombies, and this show is too gooey for me. I’ve already been called on the irony that I’ll watch Criminal Minds (creepy in it’s own right) like it’s my job, but not WD. I can’t explain it, other than if the BAU starts dealing with the zombie apocalypse, I’ll bow out. My daughter, who watches WD like it’s her job, recommended I read the books. I think I’ll heed her advice.

Do we look photoshopped to you?

Next was Homeland. I gave this show four episodes before I bailed. But I really had to think about why I wasn’t hooked. I mean, this is the most awesomest show at the moment, right? That’s what the critics say. What all the award winning tells me. What the fans gush about. And therein lies the problem for me–if I’d started watching this show from the moment it premiered, I might still be watching. It’s got good writing, good acting, a few twists…but nothing mind-blowing. Plus, there’s stuff here we’ve seen before ad nauseum–a love triangle, a crazy person/drug addict/alcoholic in a position of importance/authority who has to hide her problems or lose her job, a snotty teenage girl, a sage mentor who has issues of his own, and a hero who’s equally protag and antag.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing. Makes for good TV, good soap, good movies. But IMO it doesn’t live up to the hype. I felt that if it wasn’t for the F word and the T&A, this show could be on regular TV. And considering the state of regular TV, that’s not a compliment. My expectations were so high for this show, I think I was bound to be disappointed.

I’ll be the first to admit Supernatural isn’t high-brow entertainment, and Criminal Minds has slipped in quality for a while now. (Don’t touch my Sherlock, though. It’s perfect.) I’m not comparing WD and Homeland to those shows. Bottom line–for me it’s a matter of lack of taste for Walking Dead, and a problem with the hype machine for Homeland.

I’m still looking for a few good shows–feel free to comment about your recommendations.

LB: What’s Up With HOMELAND?

…By which I mean I’ve spent almost a year arguing about the show with my associates here at TVWriter™ . They love it. I, well let’s just say I haven’t watched it all that much because when I did all I felt was disdain. Specifically, disdain for characters the show kept telling me where brilliant at their jobs but who, when I saw them, performed those jobs like inept, untrained idiots.

I would’ve fired everybody: Carrie, Saul, Brody. And, of course, the writers who revealed their immense ignorance of the not just how intelligence organizations like the CIA run, but of how the wheels of real life spin around.

And, at last, just this week, I’m vindicated! First I saw that Paul Tassi of UnrealityMag.Com is asking a question that’s been on my mind: “So did Homeland just jump the shark?”

And then, just a few minutes ago, I found this:

HOMELAND Recap: When You’re Right, You’re Right – by Matt Zoller Seitz

Brody’s secret is out.

At least, it’s out to Saul, who in the final scene found what would have been Brody’s videotaped post-suicide bomb statement. Saul’s discovery leaves the show with a tough creative choice to make: push the main narrative on decisively toward its logical conclusion (Brody is tracked, exposed, and neutralized by Carrie and company), or drag it out with contrivances and delaying tactics for season after season, making the national security establishment seem like dunderheads in the process. I wish I could say that I trusted Homeland to go with option number one, but the first couple episodes of season two have got me worried.

Brody’s transition from secret terrorist sleeper agent to congressman and possible VP candidate was supposed to have altered his plot function, making him a puppet-master as well as a puppet. But Abu Nazir and his minions seem to prefer hands-on skullduggery so simple that it would feel like sitcom shenanigans were it not for the show’s somber tone. In the season premiere, Brody used his security clearance to steal secrets from Saul’s (and Carrie’s former) boss, David Estes, and nearly gave himself away by leaving his notebook atop Estes’s desk. In “Beirut is Back” (written by Chip Johannessen, directed by Michael Cuesta), Brody sabotaged an operation that would have captured or killed Nazir and one of his top lieutenants, a Hezbollah district commander in Beirut, by texting Nazir mid-operation. “I am a congressman!” Brody protested to his contact and handler, the reporter Roya Hammad. “I cannot be texting messages while I am surrounded by the fucking Joint Chiefs!” True, but it still sounded like the show trying to preempt criticism that it was treating season two Brody as if he were still season one Brody. I sort of wish Homeland would take a cue from the more knowingly preposterous Breaking Bad, which at least had the grace to play scenes of Walter White mucking about in his DEA agent brother-in-law’s office with a wink that said, “We know this is a couple of steps up from aPink Panther movie, but what the hell, it’s fun.”

For now, though: Wow. The moment when Saul plays Brody’s video was chilling and moving, whatever long-term misgivings I have about it, because it bracketed an earlier scene so beautifully: Carrie’s confession to Saul on that Beirut rooftop.

Carrie’s monologue capped an attack of paranoia (and maybe med withdrawal?) brought on by hearing Saul and David discuss how psychologically ill-suited she was for the Beirut mission. (David: “Keep her on a short leash, that was the plan.” Saul: “Well, as long as we’re covering our asses, I didn’t want her here in the first place.”) Claire Danes cries more eloquently than anyone on TV except Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul — I wish they’d do a film set entirely at an AA meeting or in a tear gas factory; get on that, someone — and she was in rare form here. “It fucked me up, Saul, being wrong about Brody,” she said. “It really fucked me up. Because I’ve never been so sure, and so wrong. And it’s that fact that I still can’t get my head around. It makes me unable to trust my own thoughts. Every time I think I think I see something clear now, it just disappears.”

I liked seeing Carrie vindicated. It was about damn time. She always knew the truth. She put the pieces together through hard work and her profiler’s instinct. Her impulsive disclosure to Brody’s daughter Dana drove the girl to call her dad in the bunker and stop him from detonating a bomb that would have killed the vice-president and most of the Joint Chiefs, though of course Carrie had no way of knowing that; she thought she called it wrong, that Walker was the real threat all along, and the Brody threat was a figment of her bipolar, traumatized imagination.

And now Saul knows Carrie was right.

What will he do with this knowledge? Will he make it back to the U.S. with the video?

Whether he does or not, will David and the rest of the military intelligence apparatus believe him, or will he get pooh-poohed for having spent so many years defending a woman known be brilliant but stubborn, arrogant and unstable, and prone to improvisations that put her colleagues’ lives in danger?

That Carrie’s irresponsible flourishes nearly always yield useful information links her to a long tradition of damaged genius heroes. Were it not forHomeland’s mostly smart characterizations and Danes’s deeply felt performance, we’d recognize Carrie for what she is: a CBS crime show heroine, a self-destructive pain-in-the-ass who’s nonetheless touched by genius.

“It’s not lost on me why people don’t trust my judgment,” she tells Saul on the roof — but it’s not lost on us why they should. Whether she’s infiltrating Brody’s veterans’ group and then sleeping with him, visiting his house and ranting like a crazy lady, or going back into the Hezbollah commander’s apartment while Saul and Fatima are being surrounded by an angry mob, Carrie always gets useful data, stuff that will help build the case and save lives, even though it will surely hurt her professionally.

Odds and ends

  • Jessica Brody is being positioned as a high-powered political wife, a protean power broker being introduced by the veep’s wife to “the junta that really runs D.C.” This puts her at odds with her husband, who’s already at odds with himself: a patriotic former Marine and P.O.W. turned congressman, and a secret agent working for this show’s equivalent of Bin Laden.
  • Mike — Brody’s ex-best friend and Jessica’s former lover — is investigating the terrorist attack that ended last season, and pushing Brody to help him solve lingering questions. Chief among them: How could the sniper Walker, one of the best shots alive, miss his ostensible main target, the vice-president, three times, and kill a woman who was apparently of no strategic value? It’s the sort of oddity that conspiracy theories are built on, and that’s whereHomeland is going with it. I like this; it has X-Files and 24 anti-logic, and it ties in with real-world conspiracies, from the umbrella man at the grassy knoll through the collapse of 7 World Trade Center.
  • Speaking of 24, I get the feeling that Homeland is setting up some kind of follow-the-money conspiracy that will link the veep, who keeps trash-talking the Commander-in-Chief for being too much of a dove, and the defense contractors who make the bunker-buster bombs that would help Israel take out surviving Iranian nuclear facilities and “get the job done.”
  • Fatima’s plot function seems to be over, mostly, but I’m still wondering if she’s really what she seemed to be, a defector looking to get revenge on her abusive terrorist husband by helping the U.S. in exchange for asylum. We’ll see.
  • Why would a Beirut district commander for Hezbollah have a copy of Brody’s suicide video? And wasn’t it convenient that Carrie just happened to pick up the bag that just happened to contain it, and that Saul just happened to find it hidden in the seam after one of his men missed it? Suspension of disbelief, thy name is television.

This is Emmy-winning writing? I’ve only got one leg in the grave, and I’m still spinning in it. I can barely imagine what Rod Serling’s Most Writerly Corpse is doing.

Ever Wonder What Network Press Releases Look Like?

Well, here’s one we got yesterday:

Hello and a Happy Monday to you!

With the adventures of DEXTER and HOMELAND continuing last night, there’s a whole lot more in store for us to chat about this week!

Will Carrie be proven right about Brody? Re-experience a vital scene from last night’s HOMELAND where Carrie finds “Courage Under Fire,” racing through an apartment to prove she’s right. Watch the clip here and feel free to share with your readers:

We’ve also got a DEXTER clip from last night to share with you! After learning the truth behind her brother, Deb simply asks Dex to “Trust Me.” Do you think Deb can live with Dex’s secret? Watch it here:

To get a hint for what’s to come, tune into the next episode of behind-the-scenes podcast for DEXTER. Dexter’s Dad Harry Morgan, aka James Remar, joins the latest episode of DEXTER Wrap-Up to discuss the season thus far. Check it out on iTunes now, with new episodes of the podcast available after each episode: http://s.sho.com/V6VRYx

You can also continue to test your DEXTER knowledge with the brand-new trivia game based on your favorite killer, Dexter’s Disciples. Check it out now with new questions after each episode: apps.facebook.com/dextersdisciples

Don’t miss a replay of the HOMELAND premiere tonight (9PM or 11PM ET/PT) as well as DEXTER (8PM or 10PM ET/PT), or watch both now on Showtime on Demand!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions about anything above and if you would kindly shoot over any coverage from your site, Facebook, or Twitter that would be kindly appreciated.

Thanks!

[Redacted]

We love these and think everybody should be on the list for them. Especially everybody who writes about TV because, let’s face it, copying other people’s writing and claiming it as your own is soo darn easy. (Makes you wonder how many times a day you read things like that without even knowing, doesn’t it? Well, it makes us wonder anyway.)